March 31, 2009

Dr. Hope-and-Change, or "How I Learned to Love the New Socialism"

As promised, I'm back to the one thing I know a little about- politics. Here's a look at our world from my kitchen table.

Buying bad merchandise:

We need to stop buying Chinese products. From lead painted kids' toys to biohazardous plant matter in vitamins to defective handles that fall off when hot coffee in poured into their mugs, the Chinese are not making quality products. And check your vitamins for country of origin- even whole foods has found tainted Chinese ginkgo biloba on their shelves.

There are so many reasons to buy America, the best being that your money spent goes back into your economy (well, theoretically at least). What are those other countries doing with your money once they've got it? China has been building its military. That's something to think about.

source: CrossTalk

Marriage threatened, yet supported:

The National Organization for Marriage has a new ad out, warning citizens that the advancement of a homosexual agenda will effect everyone, including our children (click here to listen to the ad on Meanwhile Prop 8 is (again) gaining support in CA. Almost 50% support the initiative statewide, which makes it a lot harder to keep anti prop 8 demands going. Yes!

"The last thing we want is to run this company...":

Obama has purchased GM. GM's CEO, working there for 31 years, will be barred from receiving severance pay, but he'll still get nearly $20 mil in a retirement/pension package.

Call it another case of anti-capitalism on behalf of our President. Why is GM's CEO being punished? Because our current administration believes that being a CEO is merely representative of one's being inherently evil. Why? Because, in their minds, wanting to succeed by making money and gaining power is evil. Never mind the freedom to do just that is why so many people immigrate to this country from socialist countries elsewhere. Never mind the fact that power is earned by these hardworking CEOs, not usually bestowed on them by insider conspiracy or familial relationship (a common socialist/class war misconception).

Looming in the near future is exactly what I said would happen if the government bought the car companies; only government-approved cars will be made readily available, other options will disappear. You love your mini-SUV? That's too bad, because unless it's a partial hybrid it's warranty is about to expire.

Welcome to cold war-era Russia folks. Stand in line for your own special Obama edition Prius (comes with four years' supply of gas!).

On the issue of Life:

It was red-envelope day yesterday (click here to read faq about the event). I sent 9 envelopes declaring my intent to support pro-life legislation and abortion alternatives, such as adoption and abstinence education, and urged the President to do the same. He won't, but it's a symbolic gesture on my and others' behalf, to flood the White House mail bags with red in effigy for those needlessly aborted babies. At last count over 150,000 envelopes were pledged to be sent, but the total end count is estimated to be over 1 million. I'll keep you posted.

(*My apologies for not getting the word out on this one. I really messed up there. I meant to post it, then I forgot, and by the time I remembered it was the day of... too late to send anyway. But we can all do it next year.)

AND... pop quiz! Who said, "The argument that women who become pregnant have in some sense consented to the pregnancy belies reality... and others who are the inevitable losers in the contraceptive lottery no more 'consent' to pregnancy than pedestrians 'consent' to being struck by drunk drivers?" Or, how about this one: "Statutes that curtail her abortion choice are disturbingly suggestive of involuntary servitude, prohibited by the 13th Amendment, in that forced pregnancy requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state's asserted interest?"

Give up? They're all the words of staunch pro-choicist Dawn Johnson, the recent Obama appointment to the office of legal counsel in the Department of Justice! Gee, doesn't she sound like a nice, objectively moral lady? I'm sure she'll make a real fine defender of pro-life advocates. After all, being "for life" is a choice, isn't it? That means this fair lady will defend all the choices equally, right?

Follow this link to go to the Susan B. Anthony List website, to contact your congressmen to oppose embryonic stem cell research, and more.

Dim wits unite! :
With equal parts equivocation and pathetic sentimentality, 250 American cities and 88 countries worldwide participated in the "lights out" night this past Saturday, to symbolize (I think) how effective it would be in lowering the amount of power used if everyone turned off their lights for an hour.

But how rudimentary that logic is! Think about it; if you and I both turn our lights on, we are using x amount of power. If you turn your lights off, together we are using 1/2 x the power. If we both turn them off, we are using no power. That's fine.

However, when you turn yours off and then back on again, you are using 1 1/2 times more power in the surge required to bring them on from a flat line. Multiply that on a scale of, say, 1 million participants in the "lights out" campaign. It's not hyperbole folks, the power grids of those cities showed a huge spike in the power used just after the designated hour ended. So, they used the same amount as they would have if they just left them on (amount used went down below average, then up above average, then back to average usage).

Of course, true to form, participants interviewed said it was, essentially, the "thought that [counted]." But what is a symbolic gesture without a successful real-world application? It is meaningless, outside of its making the participants feel good. (The U.N., for example, revealed that the lights off stunt would only save $102 in energy in the U.N. headquarters in New York.)

Aha! you say, but what about your symbolic red envelope campaign? Did that do anything outside of being representative?

No, it didn't, but the difference is that the causes I support (such as pro-life legislation) do not depend on the symbolic gestures; rather, they have participatory actions attached to them which do get results. Picketing and writing to congressmen has kept Planned Parenthood out of neighborhoods; financially supporting the Susan B. Anthony List helps keep embryonic stem cell research from being promoted; letters to the editor of newspapers voicing concern for sex ed being taught in local schools are read by local representatives and brought to school boards.

Lastly, What is being done to the Least of Us?

Do you have kids ages 10-18? Pretty soon the state will have them for upwards of 100 hours a year in a "community-building" training camp (bill HR-1388, aka the "GIVE act"). The scariest part about it? Wording of the bill that just passed states that while the children are engaged in the government's activism courses, they are barred from participating in any form of religious worship, and cannot be provided any type of religiously-affiliated instruction or worship. Nor can they "engage in any form of religious prosthyletization" (direct quote from the bill, section 125).

It's already passed the the House and Senate, is being rewritten and expected to pass the second time around. Hang on to your kids tight.

Check out for more information.

Until next time, this is Victoria... and that's about all I know...

March 30, 2009

My Hometown is Almost Underwater

My hometown of Moorhead, Minnesota- which is situated on the Red River, an oddity in that it flows north- is currently experiencing the worst flooding of its history. Back in 1997 I sandbagged with everyone like you'll see in the video below. This year I can't be there, but it turns out a lot of other people could.

Some of those people were the National Guard, some high schoolers from other towns, some residents whose homes were thankfully on high enough ground not to have to evacuate themselves. It's a real mess there, and the snowstorm that's expected to hit in the next couple of days won't help.

Check out the video, see the damage and feel the nervous tension for yourself. Then, please, pray for renewed strength for these people. Some of them have been sandbagging 10 hours a day, or through the night. They need a lot of prayer. Thank you.

March 24, 2009

Ten Things You Don't Know About Me

This is the last in a series of non-political posts for awhile! I'll be back to normal in a few days.

So, aside from my being neurotic, which the sidebar confesses, most of you know nothing about me! But that's ok. How better to get to know one another than with a list like this? It was hard narrowing down to ten, but I think I managed to squeeze in the main things that I think define me.

1. I've been everywhere! I am a Michigan transplant, a native Minnesotan, I've also lived in Illinois and California. I've seen most of the lower 48, been to Europe twice and India twice, too.

2. I am a neo con. I was raised as a card-carryin' liberal and even voted for John Kerry- Yikes! My entire family voted for Obama- double yikes.

3. I've been reborn. I was raised in a Lutheran home, complete with infant baptism and "confirmation of my faith" at age 16. Having many unanswered questions, I first wandered, then fell very far away from theism. I became a Christian in 2005. I was baptised last year in the spring.

4. I've got a real "mind-body" problem. I have an auto-immune system disease. What this means is my body - for some unknown reason- likes to attack other parts of my body, perceiving them as a threat to my health. Unfortunately my hair was the main thing attacked, causing me to lose all of it when I was 24 (4 1/2 years ago).

5. I own more books than shoes. I read history non-fiction and theology stuff, and intersperse with Victorian-age novels. I'm a sucker for a great writer with wit and big-picture vision; I highly recommend Jacques Barzun.

6. I'm one of those "special diet" people. I most likely have celiac disease, which is an intolerance to gluten (found in wheat, barley, malt and spelt). Check out my gluten free blog (homeward bound) if you have just been diagnosed or know someone who has. Between me and my sister (who also has celiac, along with one of her kids) we can answer any question!

7. If my musical interest was food, it'd be jambalaya. I love hymns, bluegrass gospel and hip hop. I would not trade a single song past 1955 for "Sing to the Lord a New Song!" The Isaacs get me through a lot of bad days, and though I keep thinking I'll outgrow hip hop, I never do.

8. I am a true blue woman of the home. I learned to sew when I was seven and cook about the same time. My mom always let me help out with everything. My senior art studio was in fibers and I love any craft involving fabric.

9. I'm a couture model in my own head. I love walking art, and would live in Yves St. Laurant if it were humanly possible. Heck, I'd scrub toilets at the House of YSL if they'd let me!

10. I'm a singing fool. Alone- at home, or in the car only! And of course at church. Patsy Cline, Etta Fitzgerald and Norah Jones are just a few I warble along to.

Have a great day being yourselves, ladies!

March 20, 2009

Sarah Palin's sincere thoughts on Special Olympics

I don't care if you love her, hate her, or couldn't care less- this lady's got a lot of class. For fun, compare and contrast with Pres. Obama's statement on Leno about his 129 bowling score being like" Special Olympics or something." Just saying...

March 19, 2009

My Work Desk and Recent Projects

In a (very) small apartment, furniture must be dual purpose. In my case, my desk has four-way functionality: it is for sewing, blogging via laptop, storage of gadgets and accessories, and bird watching.

I found this little desk for $6 at a thrift store in Minnesota last winter. It is real wood but not too heavy, so I am able to move it easily without the drawers (which are filled to the brim with jewelry, pajamas, socks, letter-writing materials, laptop accessories and make-up). I have a habit of painting everything the two colors I adore the most: this bright peacock blue and a similarly-hued midori green. Wouldn't you know, I've been thinking of painting this desk that green lately...

Here are some supplies and recent projects in small view. I discovered Amy Butler fabrics and fell in love. I made a set of large blocks for Parisienne Farmgirl's daughter for Christmas, and the ideas sprang out of the fabric scraps.

These are the birds I made from fabric scraps. The dot fabric is actually not Amy Butler, but Michael Miller, another modern graphically-oriented fabric designer. I added eyes and grosgrain ribbon hangers to them, and currently they are housed on the house door wreath (photo to come).

This is a smaller set of the blocks I made for the baby, this time with alphabet letters. They are more hand-sized and good for stacking up on each other. The other item shown is a crib quilt, which is going so horribly I may have to use it for something else!

A long time ago- ok, it was only five years- I used to wear scarves all the time. I got tired of boring bandanas so I started making my own with fabric quarters of various types. I had thought about making a quilt from all the leftover pieces, as a sort of memory quilt, but the fabric was too thin. Instead, I got the idea for making rosette flower brooches, which are shown in this photo. (p.s. available for sale!)

Here are some brooches on my favorite brown jacket. Light and springy!

Lastly, I decided to start collecting some spring-ish decorations, since I don't have any. I couldn't find what I wanted, and remember I am incredibly cheap, so I bought a set of 18 plastic eggs from the dollar store and decoupaged them with tissue paper. The effect is actually quite cute! I was going to also add botanical magazine clippings to them (a Martha Stewart idea) but after I made one like that and didn't like it, I decided to try that on real, blown-out eggs later.

I also make Ukranian eggs (called Pysanky) and will hopefully be making some this year. I keep promising Parisienne Farmgirl we'll do them, and it never works out! Maybe this year. Now, to find the supplies for that project...

March 17, 2009

Beauty on a Budget

I'm a lady who LOVES a bargain. Then again, who doesn't? I've been scouring the drugstores and retailers for the best deals on beauty products, and here are my current favorites.


I recently became convinced that I needed make-up brushes. Why, you ask? As I'm home more and applying make-up for an audience less and less, I seem to have developed a heavy hand in this department. Not in a foundation-orange-line-at-the-chin kind of way, but in an I-can't-be-bothered-to-be-precise kind of way.

In an attempt to rid myself of the too-heavy concealer, powder and blush routine, I set out to find an affordable set of brushes.

Little did I know, the cheapest set at Walgreen's would set me back $19.95, for five natural bristled and "eco-friendly" brushes of various usage. Well, not only do I not care about the eco-friendly part, but $20 is out of range for unemployed little ol' me.

Not to be discouraged, I kept looking. And looking. At Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl's, Meijer and everywhere else, finding only comparable styles and prices. But I don't give up until I find exactly what I want!

And find what I was looking for I did. We have a grocery chain here called Harding's, which suddenly decided to carry the e.l.f. (eyes, lips, face) line of beauty tools and make-up with small price tags. (Check out The bottom line is they offer small-sized products for only $1 each! Lip gloss, concealor, eyeshadow, mascara, blush, powder and... brushes!

So the wonderful blush/whole face brush which now aids me in looking shine- and pancake-look free that you see above cost $1. I haven't tested many of the other products, but for a decent travel-size set of the basics, this is a sure-fire wasy to go. Oh, and they don't test on animals, either, so all you eco-friendly people will be happy about that. :)

Available at and retailers near you.

Winter weather in the midwest inevitably leads me to have a winter-blah skin tone when spring finally rolls around. Then, in the summer, my face doesn't tan along with my body and I look rather silly! What's a cheap girl to do? Tan at a salon? Ha! Never again...

Instead, I recommend the MaryKate and Ashley (yes, the Olsen twins) Luminescent Finishing Creme pictured above. It comes in several different tints and leaves a slight shimmer when applied either with moisturizer (this is my method) or by itself before powder.

The creme leaves a shimmery finish with a slight tint, but is not a self-tanner so it washes off every time it is used. I find it gives my skin a dewy, fresh glow, due to its light-reflective properties. All this for under $3 a tube which, since you only use a tiny amount each time, has lasted me several months. Bonus!

Available at Wal-Mart!

Which brings me to my last product, White Rain Ocean Mist body wash. Don't get me wrong; I love my Bath and Body works Sensual Amber and Black Amethyst Body Creams (at $16.50 apiece! Alas, they were gifts.), but I'd rather save them for special occasions and use this completely utilitarian soap for everyday use.

The Ocean Mist scent is light and salty, and the ingredient list boasts sea kelp, algae and vitamin E for soft skin. It has a rich lather and, though it doesn't leave one super moisturized, if you use lotion you won't notice. I find it refreshing and useful.

The best part? The price tag on the bottle is correct- it's only $1 for 12 ounces!

Available at Walgreen's and Dollar Tree.



Parisienne Farmgirl asked, "Are there parabens in these products?"

Parabens are esters that are used to both inhibit microbacterial growth in and "preserve the integrity" of products like make-up and shampoo. Studies in 2004 found paraben levels in breast cancer tumors, which is probably why the question was asked about their presence!

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) reviewed the safety of methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben in 1984 and concluded they were safe for use in cosmetic products at levels up to 25%. Typically parabens are used at levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3%.

In December 2005, after considering the margins of safety for exposure to women and infants, the panel determined that there was no need to change its original conclusion that parabens are safe as used in cosmetics.

The luminescent creme does contain parabens, the body wash does not. However, the FDA has concluded as recently as 2005 that there is no determined causal effect of parabens and cancer.

Hope this helps!

Donate to Liberty Counsel to preserve the term "marriage" in CA!

Hold on to your "domestic partner" tight, folks, it's a bumpy court case in California!

Hey there, fellow bloggers! Just a quick note to let you know about an urgent need for donations to Liberty Counsel, the law firm that is fighting the attempt to change the term "marriage" into "domestic partner!"

Here's an excerpt from their press release about the case:

"Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the homosexual activists' challenge to Proposition 8 -- the amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman that was approved by voters last November.

Liberty Counsel's amicus brief for this case makes it clear that the California Supreme Court has no legal or constitutional grounds to reject Proposition 8. But as I learned when I argued the original same-sex marriage case before this same Court last year, the homosexual activists (and judges with an agenda!) are not deterred by the facts.

During the arguments in this year's case, a "compromise" was discussed that would supposedly satisfy all parties -- affirming the result of Proposition 8 but resolving the alleged "equal protection" problem of not allowing homosexuals to marry.

What was that compromise? Simply end the use of the term "marriage" altogether by the state of California! When asked by one of the justices, lawyers from both sides agreed that the so-called "compromise" would resolve the legal disputes. But the ramifications of a new legal principle that ends marriage would be devastating!

The California court ruling could be announced any day and Liberty Counsel must be ready. No matter who the decision favors, many Californians will be outraged. If the decision goes against
pro-homosexual interests, we expect dramatic public demonstrations and possibly even rioting.

Every donation will help. We rely on the sacrificial gifts from friends like you of $25, $50, or $100. Your gifts literally put our attorneys to work on these cases and other key issues. Click the link below to donate (it is tax deductible):


Friends, please consider even a small donation to support the ongoing legal costs of defending marriage, both definitionally and literally in our nation! Thank you.

March 11, 2009

Headline Headache

I don't know about you, but I'm really being rocked by the news lately.

400 billion, mostly in earmarks, on the new "stimulus" bill and Obama says, "next time, we'll make sure to carefully check out those earmarks first."

Next time? Where is the incentive to believe someone will be honest the next time when this time he could've stripped the bill of pet projects and he didn't?

Two college students in California are trying to get a law passed that changes the usage of the term "marriage" to "domestic partnership." So, even married people would legally be referred to as "domestic partners."

Remember when southern Californians elected Arnold for their governor and then it almost instantly burst into flames (circa 2003)? I'm waiting for the whole darn state to erupt into fire any day now. (Hyperbole, Californians! Don't hate me, please.)

Pro-abortion advocates Kathleen Sebelius and David Ogden being nominated into key positions of the new cabinet.

Sebelius is nominated to the secretary of health and human services! This appointment for a woman who opposed the clean clinics act, which would set higher standards for abortion clinic cleanliness!

Also, embryonic stem cell research- which has been shown time and time again to be fruitless in finding cures to diseases- is back on the table, and with government funding to boot! Embryonic stem cell research has, so far, yielded no results in the form of cures or health-improvement.

Oddly enough, more adult stem cell (donated by individuals) research and treatment is not approved, despite the vast amounts of data detailing cures to spinal cord injuries, MS, autoimmune diseases such as Chrohn's, Parkinson's disease and diabetes!

How am I to make sense of any of this?
I can't afford Laura Ingraham, Glenn is giving people way too much credit in the "common sense" department, Hannity annoys me, Savage is on too late and Rush is giving me a headache.
I guess I have to figure it all out myself.

I still listen to Crosstalk, but it always leaves me feeling guilty that I should do more than just send out e-mails to my senators. But what? I'm broke, the vote's not for a couple of years, and I have little to no influence on anyone I know. Why keep up with it all? I can't do anything about it- except spread my anger to others, or make snarky comments. Even stupid Bill Maher can do that!

The whole thing makes me want to take a cue from the Bible and rest. Meaning, take a breather from it all. How far are we supposed to take that? We're supposed to be vigilant, too, right?

Until I figure it out, please enjoy the next few interspersed posts on random things, including spring crafts. I'll be waiting to hear from you.

Stimulate This

How are you all holding up with the economy crashing down around you?

While Wall Street takes another 300 point dive and everyone is jumping on the "money-saving tips" bandwagon, I'm sitting in my studio apartment (which houses 2 adults and a cat), typing away on a refurbished (read: cheapy cheap) laptop, with a dinner of Indian dal and garbanzo beans (cooked from dry beans) waiting to get started on the stove.

We have one car. I walk or ride my bike most of the time, and avoid going out unnecessary places, to save the gas cost. We eat vegetarian meals at least once a week, and I usually don't even eat meals by myself at home outside of vegetables, noodles and rice. I shop at Aldi and Wal-Mart and thrift stores. I turn off lights, we don't go out to eat and I only do laundry once a week (if that). I don't think I could save more money if I tried!

Yet, I'm not asking the government for anything in the way of a handout.

As an unemployed person, I could easily qualify for welfare or at least unemployment benefits. I could even go to food pantries and demand they give me a box of canned items. For all intents and purposes, I'm a regular person who happens to be out of work. Now add my debts and student loans into the picture, and the fact that Michigan's high unemployment rate means I'm probably not likely to find a job soon, and I'm a prime candidate for government assistance.

Yet, all I want is for them to make more jobs so that I could get one!

I don't understand why Democrats feel the need to make every low income person beholden to the government. I don't understand why they want people to be on assistance. It seems to come from a position of condescension, that we low income folks just don't know how to take care of ourselves.

But I do know how to take care of myself. When I had a job, I paid bills on time, paid down debt, took care of my health, ate better and generally didn't feel obligated to agree with my government because, though I enjoy certain freedoms upheld by them, I was not reliant on them for my daily functioning. I felt free to criticize or agree with whatever policies fit my worldview.

However, how would my views have been different if I was being sustained by the government? Would I feel like I owed them my allegiance? My blog posts? My voice? My vote? Would I feel like I must defend all policies, whether or not I agreed with them personally? Would I feel as though I must check in with the party line before I decided which companies to shop at, where to live or what to do in my spare time?

Perhaps these are some reasons our government now is pushing to have financial control over more Americans. Big government already owns big banks and mortgages- which means your savings and your house. This creates a culture of fear; if we dare to speak out against the policies of our administration, our homes, money and livelihood may suffer the consequences.

I don't want to live in a totalitarian state. I want America to stay free, so that I can simply work and live and participate in politics like our Constitution encourages us and upholds our right to.

March 10, 2009

Yes, We Did? (aka Bumper Sticker Politics, Pt. II)

Here in south-liberal-fanatic-west Michigan, we see an awful lot of "coexist" and anti-Republican bumper stickers. The other day, at the University (go figure!), Nic saw an extra dose of delusion in this one:

"Yes, We Did!"

This rivals many entries for 'most idiotic bumper sticker of all time,' but I think it might trump even "McCain Insane!" with its absolute absence from the real world (and not just the world that exists on car bumpers!).

Yes, you did... what? Get a black president elected? Ok. Some questions:

1. Was the goal just to get him into office? This wasn't a means, but the end of your cause? That's pretty shallow of you!

** If you remember, the chant of "yes, we can!" came as a response to then-candidate Obama's rallying questions: "Can we fix health care? Can we heal the nation? Can we turn back the tide of rampant consumerism?" So, to claim now that they (Obama's supporters) weren't referring to those campaign promises, but merely the promise of a black president, is not only disingenuous, but a complete rewriting of history!!

2. You did it, past tense. So, it's all over now? The war against racism has been won? If winning the war against racism was so easy, why didn't you try harder to get a black candidate years ago??

3. Now that the election is over, will you go back to not caring about any of the platform policies your candidate supports? Rephrased, are you happy to admit your interest in the election was only in supporting a black candidate and that you care nothing of the agenda he wants to put forth? That's pretty racist!

If I thought this sticker's home was on the back of a parents-paid-for, neon green hybrid that belongs to a indoctrinated college student, I might be less enraged. But I can almost assure you it's home is the bumper of a neon green hybrid that belongs to an indoctrinated adult professor (that's right, folks- someone with a bs).

And actually, I'd be just as incensed either way. Viva la dumbed-down resistance.

Just for fun, I'd like to change every:

"Democrats Serve the People!" into "Democrats Serve the People a Steaming Plate of S---!"

(Pardon my french.)

March 5, 2009

Have Vogue, Will Travel

Do y'all have perennial favorites? I mean besides flowers. I have a few that seem to crop up every season. They are:

1. choosing one super bright color to wear for the season (this year it's purple)

2. listening to Juanes and other latin music

3. exercising for the enjoyment of it

4. buying the Spring and Fall issues of Vogue.

As for the first three re-occurrences, I have no qualms. What's wrong with rediscovering (every year) that bright colors can be your friend, singing in another language makes you feel smart and exercise isn't just for punishment?!

But I'd love to say in my older and less fashion-forward years I have been able to wean myself off the 700-plus page editions of this magazine and the accompanying cost, both in finite numbers and in seemingly endless yearnings for better clothes which are sparked by this glossy's eye candy.

I wish I could say I wasn't still enthralled by the images therein, making mental notes of dress trends and which designers seem to have finally gone off the deep end. It's actually the most fun to peruse either spring or fall Vogue with a friend, as I found out last year (and man alive, did that one get passed around!).

Since I am not in page-flipping distance from the friends (sisters) most likely to comment loudly along with me, I am posting this virtual Vogue walk instead.


A few things about March Vogue:

1. It was a mere 510 pages! I feel a little cheated, even though spring issues are always smaller than fall. Why is that?

2. Many designers seem to have stuck with their same old, same old styles, hence there are no pics here from Chanel, Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Valentino, or Ralph Lauren (well, there is one pic from him...a crazy one!). Others have gone so wild I can't bear to publish the evidence! My beloved Etro being one of these.

3. The best and worst are shown here, in four categories: casual, pretty little frocks, sequins for daytime, and what were they thinking?! An additional two features in trends precede the fashion photos.

4. It's mostly neutrals. Sorry, folks, I guess as soon as white can be worn, it MUST. Go figure.

Enjoy! And comment!

First up: make-up trend in bold color!

I'm probably the most excited about this than anything else here in the post. I am a strong believer that a little bit of lipstick goes a long way to brighten one's face, make a girl feel put together and overall bring a sophisticated edge to an ensemble.

Vogue shares its takes on the bright lip: in red. And before you groan about the too-cherry-pie shades, be comforted knowing that LOTS of designers (nars, MAC, chanel, etc.) and drugstore staples (Maybelline, Revlon, NYC, etc) are creating sheer, powder-soft, orange- and pink-tinged versions of the classic red so everyone can find something that works with her style and skin tone. Let's bring back the color, ladies!

Vogue's second beauty feature was about the "new length" for hair: just grazing the shoulders. It's not short, it's not long, it's not soccer mom or bob-length. It's just what it is. And, oddly enough, within days of cutting my own hair this length I bought the magazine and found several others doing the same. I guess I'm just a trendsetter.. :)


Next up: super casual

This is the type of casual I am; somewhat preppy, but mostly of the boatneck-shirt-and-slightly-loose-jeans variety. I'd love to get back to my menswear-influenced style of past years in something like this. It also incorporates another semi-annual favorite of mine- stripes, particularly in a "boating" style. (p.s. everything pictured here cost less than $100!)

If I had the legs... You can't hate on Liya Kebede (the model) too much though, since she's pretty careful as to who she works with, and started a (somewhat) affordable kids clothes line as well. I love the pairing of a neutral sweater and a kicky little skirt. It's another type of casual I like: what I call "half and half," as in half dressed up, half dressed down.

The most effortlessly beautiful dress on anyone is a draped, knit jersey shift like this. Literally anyone can look good in a dress like this with cap sleeves and a modest skirt length. Just watch those khaki colors with your skin tone. A little warmer hue is better for pale skin.

Ok, not really feelin' the cinched pants! But the swingy jacket and big, fabric baubles? Plain white tee? Yes, ma'am.

Next up: sequins for the daytime?

In another world, this tiger-mauled shirt and sequin Hammer pants combo is both chic and classy. But where is that world, Mr. Lauren, where is that world?

My favorite photo from the whole magazine! Not because I love it, or think it's wearable (what event calls for a sequined, city short-length jumpsuit?), but for it's sheer pop on the page. You gotta hand it to Yves St. Laurent- they know how to draw your eye to them.

Prada stuns me with these items. I actually can't decide if I like any of this or not. Anyone?

Next up: what were they thinking?

Miu Miu gives us this step into the future (?) past (?) with this spacy suit and accompanying claw gloves. Taking a page from Beyonce's most recent video... except she's wearing a costume and this lady isn't.

Calvin Klein sends out his most luxurious visions of paper-bag wear with these two creations. Makes me think of the Ben Stiller skit: "Bags, bags, bags! What'll I do with all these bags? Help meeee!"

Here's another bag dress. Sort of hides the figure, eh? Maybe this is exemplary of Klein's compassion for the post-winter woman's figure?? Sheesh, I hope he has a higher opinion of us than that!

Roberto Cavalli manages to hang onto his spot as 'most consistently garish' with this two-pager. I admit to owning a dress with chain graphic, but not photorealistic. Sorry, but it makes me think of Isaac Mizrahi duvet covers!

Not to leave you with a bad visual from the last one... here is part of a three page Prada spread which, for the life of me, I just can't figure out what this is supposed to be. Daywear? Nighttime? Special event?

Lastly: pretty little frocks

Whoa! Cavalli redeems himself a little with this flirty, modest frock. I love the detailing on the bodice and the flowiness of the skirt. Botanical prints can be tricky and make one look older, but this is definitely youthful and fun.

Remember Calvin Klein's goofy bag dresses? His ready-to-wear line boasts this little black and white dotted sundress. Graphics done just right. Now just stick to the normal shapes, pleeeease?

I'm normally not a fan of Moschino (or Alberta Ferretti, or Ferragamo, or Missoni or basically any other Italian designer!) because I just don't get their style. I admit it! I don't understand it, or find it intriguing enough to try to. But I like this LBD from Moschino mostly for the shape and fun ruffles. Black for spring... eh, not my favorite. But it's tolerable.

Narcisco Rodriguez was somewhat of a feature in this issue, since he clothes Michelle Obama regularly (including twice during election big media press events; hello, free publicity!). I like this white frock for it's juxtaposition of feminine flocked dots and bold, black swipes of cinch. It does makes her look a little big pregnant, but maybe it's a maternity dress? Cute, nonetheless.

Versace, another Italian designer I don't like! I find the label to be somewhat too mafia housewife (yes, I used a stereotype; get over it) for me, but I like this cruise wear white dress for the sand dollar-esque bodice. Remarkable to me is that Donatella Versace can tone down pattern so much with monochromatic pieces like this while retaining the extrovertedness of her style... and yet only turn out one dress like this every 5-6 years!

Fendi puts a nice twist on eyelet with this graphically cutout piece. Fendi is another Italian... yikes, it's like I'm redefining myself in pictures or something... I appreciate the freshness of this look, and hope they do more like it!

Last, but not least, Lanvin offers up the only piece in COLOR! Well, the embellishment is in color at least. And check out the shoes! My only concern is that the weight of this strapless number would pull down the top, making room for the dreaded wardrobe malfunction. Whew! Good thing I'm broke and will never wear it! Let's just enjoy it for the glamour...



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