My mom recently came back from a wedding in Sydney and she got me a dress. On the phone she made it sound really fabulous, "it is a evening dress in a pale sea green color, that goes just below your knees with a matching shawl/scarf. Everyone, even your dad, thinks it is very elegant and gorgeous!" It never occurred to me that I'd want a pale green dress, but seeing as it IS Christmas, maybe it'll be just the thing for a Christmas party! When I first laid eyes on it, my first reaction was PROM DRESS. The whole pastel color and the jewels at the bodice, with the length ....you got to admit, it's a bit prom like. If not prom like, then at least bridesmaid like. Or just... kind of old (esp with the matching shawl). Don't get me wrong. I love my mom for remembering me on her holiday and buying be stuff out of the blue. I DO know how lucky I am and I do appreciate the gesture. And as much as I am complaining now, I will probably end up wearing it. This is just not something I'd pick on my own... I'd probably pick something more vibrant with funkier jewels, more modern. As an economist, I'm always thinking about opportunity cost.
Having stared at it for quite some time now though, I'm starting to come around to it a bit. The pale sea green color and simple bodice design can be considered as goddess-like and elegant. And while it is not modern, I guess it is classic. I can't go too wrong in a classic dress, right?
Hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving weekend and got some great bargains yesterday! With the official start of the holiday season, the markets are also looking a bit brighter. Kind of.
On Monday, Citigroup was bailed out from its recent troubles, with a $20 billion capital injection from TARP in exchange for preferred shares and a government agreement to guarantee over $300 billion of their troubled assets. The shares went from $3.77 last Friday (as I remember, but could be a bit off) to $8.29 yesterday. It would've been an easy way to double your money quick! Citi was simply too big and international to be allowed to fail.
On Tuesday, the latest economic data were released, citing a 0.5% decline in GDP from July-September, more than the 0.3% announced a month ago. Home prices also dropped a whooping 17.4% from a year ago, a record decline. Along with this bad economic data however, the Fed also announced a new $800 billion program to support asset-backed securities including consumer loans and mortgage-backed securities:
$100 billion to buy up debt issued by government-sponsored mortgage enterprises Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks
$500 billion to buy up mortgage securities backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae
$200 billion facility to support consumer finance, including student, auto, and credit card loans and loans backed by the federal Small Business Administration
Designed as a life line for consumers, it is supposed to help consumers get home, car and credit card loans easier. I haven't figured out all the implications of this program is. I am still astounded by the sudden $800 billion splurge. Last time they announced a splurged $700 billion, there were long congress hearings and deliberations for at least a week. Where was the hearing and deliberation here (or have I just been unaware of the politics?)? Regardless, this has run the financial crisis tab to $7.36 trillion- double what was spent on WW2 adjusted for inflation!
Overseas, the latest headline to up the pirate fiasco last week (not that it has gone away), is the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. I thought that Mumbai and Delhi were pretty civilized and safe these days with their strong economic growth and development. That is why I was so shocked to hear that the city was attacked by terrorists who randomly shot at people on the streets and hijacked 2 of the most luxurious hotels there, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi, and a Jewish center, taking and killing many hostages! The latest death toll as of Saturday evening was at least 183. The terrorists, were well trained and in their 20s. They arrived in Mumbai by boat and the whole thing appeared to be very well planned. They suspect that the gunmen are from Pakistan and that this may have something to do with the dispute in Kashmir.
I think I need to convert to Saks girl, because they are officially my favourite department store this season. After having walked through Barneys and Bloomies (judging from the crowd, I assume Neiman Marcus to be the same), I can officially say that Saks is offering the BEST deals this sale season! Earlier this month (when I was pondering over my pink skirt), they had that weekend of extra 40% off already on sale items. While everyone else is currently doing that however, Saks has moved on to taking 50% off already on sale items, there are also a LOT more on sale items too! This sale began last week (privately) for Saks card holders and I heard the Saks New York was flooded with customers, literally fighting over each other for the latest stocks as they unpacked the boxes. This week it is open to everyone and it's craaaazy (I believe they are having a "black week" instead of black friday, so better get there early!).
To begin with, the traffic on their website must be phenomenal, because the website is constantly down and I'm led to a "Sorry we're experiencing technical problems" page every few clicks. And when I DO get onto the page, it appears that many sizes are already out! Luckily for me, Saks Fifth in Chicago is not exactly the busiest department store in town (this honor belongs to Nordstroms and Bloomies) and there were still some stuff left in my size (kind of) when I visted today. So I swiped this Rebecca Taylor dress for 1/3 of the price!! I believe it was 40% off and then another 50% off. I was considering it when it was at 40% off, but when I saw it was another 50% off, it was almost a no brainer. It's not super special, but if you look at it more closely, it has mini dark purple polka dot prints on it in felt. And when you swirl, the dress swirls with you. It just feels so cute and fun! The back is also a racer back design, which I thought was very intriguing. I am super happy with this find (besides the fact that I had to get it in a 4 instead of a 2, but I figure that the dress is supposed to be a bit loose!). What got me super psyched and smiling all the way home and then dancing around wearing them like a crazy person (in the privacy of my apartment of course) though were these Stuart Weitzman pumps (except mine are actually sling backs). I've been eying them for a week now, ever I caught sight of them on the sales rack. I asked HG what she thought and we agreed that they were very classic looking pumps and would be worth it (it was at 40% off back then). So today when I passed the shoe floor and saw that the racks (and the whole floor for that matter) was literally empty, I had to stop by and check out my shoes. Lo and behold, they were also another 50% off. I was SO psyched, I immediately picked them up and tried them on even though the store was closing then. Unfortunately they only had a size 5.5 left (I'm a 6). But since they're sling backs, I didn't think half a size mattered as I can adjust the straps. Also, I tried them on and made sure that my feet isn't sticking out the back (a big no no). While I was waiting for the sales guy to get me the full pair, I watched women all around me in a flurry grabbing and trying on shoes, furiously sweeping up 70% off Jimmy Choo boots and Louboutins in a mad rush to buy all they can before the sales people refuse to serve us. It was quite an amazing sight. THIS was what I'd imagined black friday to be- I guess there won't be much left now for black friday (we asked and they're not planning to restock, they've been on this mode all week). It's a good thing I got to my pumps on time!
It's amazing what a good bargain can do for one's constitution. As you can tell, I am still super hyped about it :D
Just because HG is taking a break from blogging doesn't mean that we've stopped overanalyzing fashion in our free time (our gmail chain frequently goes above the 100 limit). Our latest topic of obsession? I like to call it the "S dress," because when HG first showed me, it reminded me of S. And when we showed it to other friends, they also thought it looked like something S would wear. I guess we all had the same look in mind- the two toned dress S wore to the Dean's dinner party at Yale (btw, it is atotally inappropriate dress for a college recruiting event).It's form fitting, sophisticated and sexy, but youthful and modern at the same time.
S continues to favour this style later in the season for Thanksgiving. Granted the skirt is overly tight and short and not exactly the most flattering dress on her (or on anyone I should think), you can see how the concept and style is very similar. And thus, the "S dress."In particular, we are loving this two toned dress by FCUK (left). I love this yellow/black contrast, while HG is thinking of the red/gray-or silver combo. The contrast and shapes makes it cute, colorful and young, but the style and cutting lends it sophistication. It is dressy enough for a nice dinner, but not so formal that you can't drop by a club afterwards. It's really quite a clever design! Sadly for me, I must be deformed, because I tried it on the other day and the fit was way off. While everywhere else fitted tightly (so tightly in fact that I couldn't even twist to zip up!), the chest part was loose. HG is still in love though and she's thinking of getting it tailored.
We also found a very similar version of this dress over at Ted Baker, though with the white t shirt top, it is much more casual and is perfect for a day out.
At this point, I think I've come to accept ANTM as part of my life. Something I just mindlessly watch when it's on. You must admit, it's a nice indulgence. *spoiler alert* Now that I've "come around" to this way of thinking, my expectations are lower and thus I thought this season's show was not bad! There was a bit of drama, there were pretty pictures, some cool themes (voting booths, award accidents, underwater eye level shots, hanging on hot air balloons etc), a bit of traveling (to Amsterdam)and some sweet prizes. They had fashion show opp prizes, shopping sprees and free designer clothes- it was pretty awesome! The window display challenge in the red light district of Amsterdam was refreshing. Plus they had a REALLY gorgeous Willy Wonka like pink runway in the finale. There was a mini "hill" at the beginning and the models had to run up it in their heels (otherwise they'd fall backwards), it was quite an entertaining scene! Though I thought at the beginning the whole space theme thing and turning a new leaf because it's the 11th cycle was a bit overplayed. And the winner of Cycle 11 of ANTM is- McKey. She does have very stunning modelesque features and towards the end, I thought her pictures were one of the strongest. I mean, you got to admit, she has definitely improved from her first photo at the voting booth. It looked like she had no idea.... ...and then bam! Here we are. I thought she had some of the most interesting and varied poses in her shoots. She always tried new things and they worked. And did I mention her amazing features? Once they got to final 2, it was obvious who the winner is. Granted she's not who I was vouching for, I thought out of the two she deserved to win (she was a bit too tomboy for me and her walk was a bit "lurch" like as they said). By the way, I thought renaming herself McKey at the beginning was a genius move. It is SO much more interesting and memorable than Brittany. As you may be able to tell by now, Sam wasn't my favourite girl. Everyone else loved her though, because she had the whole sunny, free California girl next door personality. Maybe I just prefer more serious, subdue personalities. Also, she just didn't LOOK like a model to me, because this girl absolutely cannot dress herself for her life. I still remember that horrible salmon colored v neck sweater and straight skirt she wore to panel, that even Tyra couldn't do anything *shiver*. I also didn't think this picture was as "all that" as all the judges thought. Though I didn't realize that she had only just turned 18 on the show, so I guess I should cut her some slack. Making it into the top 2 is pretty good (her walk was not much better than McKey's). My favourite girl was Analeigh. Maybe I just have a preference for girls with long hair? She was just so SWEET. I loved her personality. She was sweet and cute in a more subdue and quiet kind of way. She also improved dramatically. I remember how she struggled at the beginning and I totally thought she'd be sent home. Her hot air balloon picture was absolutely tragic. Her legs look cut off. But then she survived being in the bottom two and she finally got the hang of modelling. This is my favourite picture of her. You can see the skater in her and it's so edgy even though she looks so sweet normally. Another thing I loved about her was that she knew how to dress. She's mastered the shift dress and I'm amazed at how versatile her peace pendant was with all her outfits! Too bad about the Cover Girl commercial. It really was quite awful, especially considering how she ROCKED the other commercial! A strong contestant that got weak in the end was Marjorie. I think she actually has that natural model potential that would lead her far in the real world, just not in the world of reality TV. She has that perfect awkwardness and European-ness that makes her so model- she looks modelesque just STANDING there in her windmill photo. Just don't put her in any role where she needs to speak. Her jitters really would not work... But she DOES take some AMAZING photos. I loved this one here. It is so completely convincing! Though she was visibly weaker when she turned a "new leaf," like she lost her natural ability to model (though at times I found her hunchback signature pose a bit too much and she really looks like the hunchback of Notre Dame!).
Another contestant of note was Elina, the control freak. She started out strong and she thought she was so good, but her pictures were getting a bit monotonous. The whole cultural difference and Europeans don't express themselves was a bit too much. Clarke also did not see her elimination coming after she got best photo at the under water eye level shot. I liked Sheena and how she didn't play the whole Asian card on us like Gina did. Nikeysha reminded me of Saleisha, except Saleisha is pretty IMO (they even have the same haircut and similar names!). I remember being surprised by the whole drama with Hannah even though I don't quite remember why anymore (race?). Oh and of course there was Isis. She was strong at first! I'm very impressed with how feminine she looked given that she was a man. Her attitude was also very open, brave and admirable. Wasn't there a really similar contestant before, who kind of looked like her too, took great pictures at first and then dwindled?
I liked how they showed little clips of what other contestants from past cycles are doing now in between too. It's interesting to be reminded of them and see what they're doing now. It sounds like a lot of them signed with Elite anyway, even though they didn't win. Are Elite contracts that hard to come by then?