To Fur Or Not To Fur?

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Take note, trends create fashion victims out of fashionistas. This season’s example: fur.

PETA’s views differ, but I love fur. Taboo? Yes. Worth it? Yes. It’s the needed warmth during dreary and bitterly cold New England winters. I’ve heard of women going to get trenchcoats lined with fur jackets, fur stoles taking the place of scarves, a hidden fur vest underneath a North Face down jacket. Hidden or not, fur keeps everyone a bit toastier in the winter.

It’s no secret that fur is making a serious comeback this season. Maybe the recession has everyone thinking a bit more practically. A coat investment for a lower heat bill. Either way, there are right ways to do fur, and there are wrong. Let me elaborate.

There are certain bargain-price retailers that introduced faux fur vests to their fall and winter collections. Faux fur, when done properly, is fantastic. It can be warm, soft to the touch and realistic. No one can expect this for 22 dollars. Faux fur, when done badly, looks cheap and tacky. Unlike basic tees and trendy party dresses, this is a place to save pennies and invest.

There are also certain times where fur is appropriate – and more importantly, isn’t. Work, given the right industry and office can be a yes, but most likely not. Wear fur on a cool afternoon walking down Newbury Street in Boston. Wear it out at night in place of a jacket at a trendy lounge. Wear it when you want to feel a bit more luxe. Do not (please!) wear it at the local mall, fast-food restaurant or grocery store unless you’re Jennifer Lopez and can get away with such ridiculously in-your-face everyday attire. Play to the environment. With a 75-degree high in Boston today, no one should don their fur. Indulge in short-sleeves for one more time before October hits.


Absolut Boston? Absolutely.

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As I type, roommate K and I sit on our living room couch, watching television (Sweet Home Alabama on TBS!) and trying this year's Absolut Boston vodka. I initially scoffed at the black tea and elderberry (what is elderberry anyway?) flavor. I assumed that, yes, I may have spent the twenty dollars on the pretty Green Monster inspired bottle. I bought it because, yes, I would be a bad Bostonian if I didn't. Plus the bottle could make do for a makeshift vase one day...

The first sip of our drinks, the Absolut Boston and Ginger (Absolut Boston, ginger ale and a twist of lime) put our worries to ease. Perfectly balanced with a subtle taste of tea (which yes, we realized after the fact was a nod to the historical Boston tea party) without any overdone vodka bite.

Need it as much as we do now? Hurry, it's a limited edition vodka - and I plan on stocking up. Feel okay about splurging on a few bottles, part of the profits benefit the local Charles River Conservancy. Here's to hoping that sales of the vodka can help clean up our beloved dirty water a little bit. It'd be nice to sail in clearer water.


Choo Equals Wonderful

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There’s an abundance of diffusion lines in today’s recession-filled fashion world. I nearly passed out with excitement when word first broke of the Jimmy Choo and H&M collaboration. Today, Nitrolicious has a peek of what’s in store. I like. I like a lot.

Studded flats. Pink resin clutches. Bedazzled and jeweled cuffs. They all make me weak in the knees. November 14th cannot come soon enough. Time to start saving my pennies (and okay, at the prices the shoes will probably be – nickels, dimes and quarters too).


Guilty Pleasure TV Alert!

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I was on the young side when the original Melrose Place aired. Seven years old when it premiered, to be exact. To say that my parents didn’t let me watch it is an understatement. If parental controls had been around in the late 1990s, Melrose Place would have topped the banned list – along with my beloved Dawson’s Creek.

Luckily, it’s now 2009. I’m in my twenties. Mom and dad are nowhere to be found in my apartment. The CW birthed a new era of Melrose Place. And I love it.

I love the boring lovey-dovey newly-engaged yet fueled by jealousy couple Riley and Jonah. Best friend A may gag, but part of me connects with Riley’s forking through her fiance’s Lucky Charms to filter out his favorite ones (the green clovers). Makes me wish my boyfriend would filter my Lucky Charms out (I only eat the marshmallows, for the record).

I love that Lauren taking the highest bidding man to pay for medical school. Moreso, I love the fact that there’s an Asian girl scandalous plotline – breaking stereotypes is my kind of thing.

I love Detective Rodriguez. Right away it’s obvious that it’s the same actor (Nicholas Gonzalez) that played DJ the Mischa Barton loving gardener in the OC. Findng nighttime soap crossovers is like Where’s Waldo. While we play ‘Where did I know him/her from?’ – Riley (Jessica Lucas) was in Cloverfield (a guilty pleasure B-movie of mine). Lauren (Stephanie Jacobson) was in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Jonah (Michael Rady) was in Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.

Lastly, I do love Ashlee Simpson Wentz. Bloggers (and friends) boo her acting, but I give the girl props. Confession. She was always my favorite Simpson sister, and her albums are still on heavy iPhone rotation.

Missed last night’s episode? Check out EW’s recap.


LC & Kohls - A Perfect Match?

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I'm a complete sucker for designer diffusion lines at Main Street stores. Matthew Williamson for H&M. Norma Kamali for Walmart. For months, I've waited with anticipation for Lauren Conrad's line for Kohls. After the sudden end of her high-end line at Bloomingdales, she took budget-friendly wear as her next project. Tonight, at, part of the fall collection is available to buy. My thoughts are undecided before I can see some pieces in person, but so far the collection seems solid for those need-to-buy basics for less.

LC's boyfriend cardigan and boyfriend blazer are solid fall options. No twenty-something girl should be without a black blazer or a long V-neck cardigan. While the prices seem a bit steep for Kohls ($60 for the blazer, $44 for the cardigan), the prices do stand a bit better than department store counterparts.

Impressive with the line? The few dresses that are currently offered. I can picture best friend A in the watercolor ruffled dress and myself in the brushstroke sheath dress while we brunch in Boston. Just call us the east coast LC and Lo.



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Word broke tonight that 57 year old Patrick Swayze passed away after a two year battle with cancer. A big RIP from us at Pop Culture Paradox. Swayze shaped part of my youth personally - as he was the object of my mother's true celebrity crush. The countless hours spent watching Ghost (and the teary eyes that my mother and I had at the end of the movie). Heartbreaking.



The Row

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I'm find the Olsen twins everywhere I look. First in a New York Times article, and then on the cover of Marie Claire. While I'm continually up in the air about how I feel towards their boho-inspired past, it's clear that they now know fashion.

Their two lines Elizabeth & James and The Row separates them from the childhood role of scrunchie-wearing Michelle Tanner. In fact, while browsing Neimans and Bergdorfs, one forks through the racks of Olsen-designed clothing without ever realizing its Olsen creation. The Elizabeth & James website is stylishly chic, resembling a Vogue fashion shoot. Looking at the fall 2009 collection, I eye the Amaryllis skirt as something perfect for work or a night out in the city.

The twins' newer line, The Row screams luxury perfection. Created by Ashley Olsen's admitted type A personality, The New York Times writes, "Nearly four years ago, while a student at New York University and ducking the paparazzi hired to follow her and her sister everywhere, Ashley gave herself the goal of creating, in her eyes, the perfect T-shirt." As a former college student, her hunt parallels mine.

Perfect basics are always a necessity in a wardrobe, and The Row delivers. Italian V-neck cashmere sweaters that perfectly fuse slouchy with tailored. Crisp European-style blazers to pair with skinny jeans for a date night. Layered open cardigans and legging-like pants that scream the Olsens' signature style (minus the Starbucks cup and Marlboro cigarette).

Olsen twins, let's let bygones be bygones. I apologize for any negativity I emitted during your grungy boho phase. You've ended my own quest for perfected basics - just in time for cashmere season in New England.


Home Is Where...

(image courtesy of Google Images and
My best friend, A read my last post, and seemed apprehensive for my newfound love for Bloomingdales. She warned, “if you switch teams, I’ll switch besties.”

Point taken.

A and I have been Neiman Marcus fiends for years. It was not a lie when I said that there’s a department store that feels like Disney World. Yesterday, A mapped (and color-coded) where she’d be okay with living in the future. While reviewing her results today, we came to the conclusion that “Home is where the Neiman Marcus is.”

We love the merchandise at Neiman Marcus. We love their after-Thanksgiving and end-of-summer sales. We love the same blonde saleswoman that always seems to be working the contemporary section when we’re there. Last time I walked in, she even asked me where my friend was. “New York, she’s devastated that there’s no Neiman’s there,” I replied. Let’s face it, Bergdorf’s simply doesn’t match up.

Best yet, the Neiman Marcus website excels far past that of Bloomies, Saks or Nordstrom. An organized rolodex in comparison to the rest, the Neiman’s website is easy to navigate, always updated and somehow always has the best sale merchandise. Don’t believe me? Tell me where else anyone can find an $11 Splendid tee?


Bloomies Totes. A Must Have.

(image courtesy of Google images, & Bloomingdales)

It’s come to mind that every fashion-forward (or at least shopaholic) girl has a go-to store. The department store of choice that feels like Disney World. For my friend who spent a year living in London, it was obviously Harrods. For best friend A and I, it’s Neiman Marcus. However, I feel my alliances switching hands (have no fear Neimans, I still love you!). Behold Bloomingdales. A stranger to the Boston proper shopping scene, it’s only Massachusetts location is in Chestnut Hill – luckily a hop, skip and a jump away from my new apartment.

Catching my eye on the site while I browse today? The signature Bloomingdale’s totes.

Three years ago, I relentlessly asked an now-ex for one as a birthday/holiday gift. Think the Bloomingdale’s page with the item on it magically appearing as his home webpage. Magazine clippings sprawled out on desks with photos of it. I’m a girl that knows what I want. In return, I received a birthday gift of the tote, filled with h2o bath and shower goodies.

Although the relationship ended, my love for the bag did not. In fact, it sits at my feet under my cubicle this moment, stuffed with my day planner, lunch rations, chick lit book of the week and various bags of Skittles. Three years is a long run for a bag, and it might be time for an upgrade. It might just be time for me to go green and invest in the “Medium Canvas Bag.” I owe it to the environment, right?


Relocation Station

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For the record, no, this is not my apartment.

Those who know me personally know that I just completed a cross-city move. In Boston, this isn't very far, only a 15 minute drive from point A to B. Regardless of distance, a move is a move and nothing kills inspiration like packing boxes, labelling items, wrapping breakables in newspaper, hauling bags of clothing in and out of U-Hauls, unpacking and reorganizing. That being said, I've been a delinquent blogger. Apologies.

However, inspiration hit mid-move when the decorating process started. I moved in with K, a close friend from prep school, and our friend R, a graduate student. We're all twenty-something girls in a fairly spacious apartment on Commonwealth Avenue. One graduate student, one law school student and a full-time young professional means we're all on the dreaded B-word. Budget. Hopefully one day (sooner rather than later), budgets are a word banished from our minds, bank accounts and worries. Until then, we're decorating on minuscule funds. Something tells me we're not the only ones. Over the past week, I've compiled some observations to remember for my next move on how to design on the cheap and make an apartment feel like home without needing to eat Ramen noodles for the rest of the year.

A creative, cute and personality reflecting shower curtain is absolutely necessary for a bathroom. Don't just settle for a plain beige vinyl one. We opted for a fabric outer shower curtain with brown, pink and white vertical stripes. For funky prints and shower curtains with plenty of life to them, Urban Outfitters answers all needs. I have my eye on the Paris Collage shower curtain.

Art, art, art. It doesn't have to be expensive. It doesn't have to be tacky. I purchased A Year In Fashion with fashion-based Getty images. With some help of poster putty, I collaged a wall of favorite images that display my own personal style. With three leftover images, K and I are off to find inexpensive frames (think basic, no border needed) and hang them above our cabinet by our front door. Stylish and inexpensive. Try it with magazine advertisements, favorite Vogue covers or old issues of The Look from Neiman Marcus.

Storage doesn't have to be an eyesore. On a rent budget, enough closet space is difficult to come by. Grab furniture that Mom and Dad no longer want (thanks parents!). Find old antique trunks to store out-of-season clothing and jackets. Repaint bureaus and shelving units. Make a skinny bookcase into a jean wall. Storage doesn't have to equal plastic drawers and shoeboxes.

Movers and soon-to-be movers, good luck. I'll see you all browsing the apartment furnishing department at every Boston area store. Just don't try to nab the last cute curtain out of my hands. I don't like to share.


File >> New Playlist

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Ah. It's fall. The air is getting crisp. I wore a cardigan to work this morning. The streets (and subway cars) of Boston are flooded with students. Some of my best memories of college were walking to and from class (and, okay, maybe skipping class) or sitting out by the campus pond at UMass Amherst listening to my iPod. With the change of season comes new music, so treat your ears and enjoy.

Boys Like Girls - Love Drunk (and okay, the entirety of their new recently-leaked album)
This Providence - Letdown
Third Eye Blind - Summer Town
Jay Z featuring Rihanna- Run This Town
Tamar Kaprelian - New Day
Panic! At The Disco - New Perspective
Leighton Meester - Body Control
Miley Cyrus - Party In The USA (my guilty pleasure, please don't tell anyone)

As always, download legally (iTunes is your friend!).


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