Friday, June 09, 2006

Peeps: Not just Friends or Marshmallow Chicks

Ankle wrap, ankle strap, leg wrap, espadrilles, slingback, slides, pumps, stiletto, kitten heel, flats, mules, and wedges...goodness gracious women have options. I just made a dent into the various styles that women have to choose from when it comes to picking the right shoe for the right occasion. So, let me elaborate on what's in right now and what to wear it with.

First and foremost, my personal favorite has to be the peep-toe heel. This can come in about three different forms, but the peep-toe pump is probably the most common. The wedge is the other big seller athough it isn't as dressy. The peep-toe pump means the a majority of the shoe is enclosed without any straps attaching around the legs. The height of the spike can vary anywhere from 2-4 inches usually with 2 1/2 to 3 inches being the most common. These shoes look wonderful with dresses that are just below the knee or shorter...the A-line skirt is without a doubt the classic choice for the peep-toe (see blog about dresses). My wife owns a gorgeous copper pair from BCBG to go with several of her dresses. These shoes look great with capri jeans and even gaucho pants, but leave the shorts at home with these on. An enclosed shoe doesn't work well with shorter pants.

The next popular summer item would be the espadrille. This comes in many different forms. Flats and ankle wrap flats are great but I don't think that they accent the female calf muscle very well. When picking these out keep in mind that the soles can be very hard thus shortening the comfort life. The wedge ankle-wrap espadrille is my favorite and my stunning wife just ordered a pair from VS recently to go with a summer style dress. The flash of color due to the strapping can spice up any wardrobe and if the toe is open, they work well with shorts. The summer dress is also a fitting choice for an evening out with the espadrille.

Finally the last "in" shoe for the summer is the strappy heel. This comes in one of two heights. The kitten heel is a much shorter heel and is great for someone who has back problems and can't deal with a high stiletto heel. They also look great on tall women because they allow for leg definition without the cost of height. My favorite in this category would be the spike stiletto ankle strap modified slingback. Basically what this means is that it is a higher heel with a slingback strap that has another strap that goes around your ankle. This gives for a very svelte look with the support of an ankle strap. These look great with many different outfits because they are airy and light.

For figuring out what you like, check out sites like or or or or . Any of these sites show you the shoes with various dresses/outfits...then unless you want to pay $350 for a pair of Steve Madden heels, go elsewhere with your styles in mind.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I've Got One Hand In My Pocket...And The Other One's Carrying a Shopping Basket

How many times have you gone to the grocery store with only one thing to pick up and then you end up carrying home an armload? I know that it is inevitable that when I go, I see all of the cleverly placed sale items and I cave like a sandcastle built too close to the sea. I start rationalizing to myself that it is much more economical to get it now when it is on sale because we are going to use it. Then, before I know it, we have 8 cans of salsa and no chips to eat with it. There are even times that I become so distracted with all of the things that I don't need that I end up forgetting what I came for in the first place. This usually doesn't happen when I shop with a grocery list; however, I tend to just run and pick up what I need last minute. Since I do most of the cooking and my things can tend to be exotic, I need fresh ingredients and this inhibits purchasing ahead of time. It is even worse when I shop with my lovely wife. We both start noticing things that look good and 'BAM' we have a $40 bill. Supermarkets are pretty clever. It is so nice of them to put those little green or red baskets around the store so that once you arms get too "conveniently" heavy that you can unload it into a suitcase-sized tote.

That's all I have to say about that.

So in summation: eat your green vegetables and make sure that your campfire is out before packing up camp...oh, and beware the grocery tote.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Scents and Sensibility

Back in the early '90s there was a movie called Scent of a Woman. What exactly is the scent of a woman? It is interesting because there are so many various colognes and perfumes out there, but what makes them attractive to other people? I find that it is great to change up my scent daily based upon how I feel and thus I am able to convey my mood to my wife without even having to be in the room. Actually, it isn't that much of a science, but I enjoy having several different types of cologne. I have an athletic, robust cologne for more everyday wear (Hummer), a citrus style cologne for a fresh smell (Acqua Di Gio by Armani), and a dressy cologne for a nice evening out (Polo Black). In highschool I used to only wear one type of scent, and yes it has its' perks because people begin to associate you with a particular aroma, but then you are very predictable. I really don't like being a person that is just a one horse down or a one trick pony or an old dog who can't learn a new trick pony. I am always looking to broaden the scope of my raw olfactory appeal, so Burburry and Puma will be added to my collection at some point.
I really enjoy the fact that my wife has 4 different perfumes (Esencia de Duende, CK Euphoria, VS Very Sexy, and opBlend) and they each affect me in a different way. The base of the perfume (ex: vanilla, citrus) changes the whole tone of the scent. It is amazing that women have so many options with how they want to smell. With the various hair products and body lotions and body mists, the possiblities are endless. Basically, I think that the scent of a woman is ever changing and that is for the best. Now I have too long dominated the conversation. What are your thoughts on the matter?

A Dress Has Always Been....My Strongest Suit

So seeing how the title of my blog deals with fashion and trends I figured that I had better write a clothing based article.

For all of you who keep up with what is out and what colors are in and what is going on: this is for you. According to all of the latest fashion designers, the dress is one of this summer's biggest items. And all I have to say is that it is about time. There are all different kinds of dresses and styles that are to be worn and I shall delve into all of them for the lovely ladies. And men, take note because I shall cover things which are important if you will be buying for your spouse/fiancé/girlfriend.

First off, we will start with the most basic style of dress...The A-line. This is probably the simplist of the dresses and one of the most universal. Ann Taylor basically makes all of their dresses in this style. It is characterized by starting off with usually a halter, strapless or spaghetti strap top then staying very simple to right above the hips and then fanning out to flatter the hip/thigh region. This is great for a woman that doesn't really have hips or who has more curvy hips. It helps to draw attention to other her neck, bust, and lower legs. Dark colors of this dress are great for being even more concealing or complimenting light skin tones. The various lenghts can also help to create the illusion or height. A tea-length dress (cut to end at the shin), for example, would not be a good choice for a woman that is trying to look taller.

The next dress would have to be the empire waisted dress. If dresses were only categorized into two sections they would be the empire and the a-line. The empire waist's stand-out characteristic is that the dress begins to flow outward from just under the bust. The "structure" of the dress tends to be only in the upper 1/4 of the dress. These dresses usually come in spaghetti straps although they come in all the other variations. Occasionally they have a ribbon just under the bust to add some accent to the divison between structure and flow. This dress is great for hiding basically everything. With a plunging neckline this can accent the bust area and if the "V" dips between the breasts it can create the illusion of larger breasts for women with smaller cup sizes. And the fading of the color throughout the length of the dress can draw eyes away from certain areas direct it elsewhere.

The halter dress is one of the most common dress styles to find during the summer months. This gives the ability to have a greater amount of skin showing through the back, thus being cooler. Also, the halter style dress does wonders for enhancing the bust. The halter top pulls them upwards and often closer together, which in turn creates cleavage. This is often a good choice for women with a smaller bust or for a woman who is looking to maximize her "assets". The other bust enhancing top would be the corset style dress, but they are more difficult to find and can be uncomfortable.

The sheath is one of the most difficult styles of dresses to wear correctly (in my opinion). Since the idea of the dress is to cling to every curve of the female physique, it can be very unflattering. This dress is perfect for a woman who wants to show off a toned, curvy body without having to mess around with slits up the side or a low-cut back. The sheath allows for fluid movement (although this depends on the fabric) and can be packed very easily for trips. This is a wonderful dress to go out on the town in, and it can be used for fancy functions with just some simple jewelry added. Due to the simplicity of the dress, they tend to cost less than other dresses, but once again this depends on the designer.

The assymetrical cut dress is personally one of my favorites. It hails from the latin countries and can add a bit of ethnic flair to an evening. The irregular cut of the gown allows for maximum visibility to the legs. Women who are looking to show off their toned and tan legs should pick one of these up. They make great dresses for dancing and often are complemented well by strappy heels. This dress style, though, is difficult to just dress down and wear out grocery shopping. Very few, if any, "summer dresses" come with this style of hemline cut.

Finally, we come to one of the most casual dresses, the babydoll dress. They are categorized by having shorter hems and often plunging necklines. The material used for the dress usually is very flowy and they tend to have an empire waist. As you notice on this picture, the use of a solid colored strap separates the structured top from the wispy bottom of the garment. This design is best for women who have good legs and want to add a little shape to their hip region. The empire waist draws attention to the legs and bust and allows the mind to fill in the perfect hourglass shape beneath the ripples of the fabric. Because this dress is flowing, it makes great beach attire. This design come in everything from very casual to as upscale as you'd like (depending on the length).

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Two to Tango

One of the things that I have come to really miss about not having to work and having lots of free time was the access to dancing facilities. I really miss being able to dance across the floor and even instruct from time to time. When I see movies like "Shall we Dance" or pretty much any other movie that has to do with one of the classical ballroom styles it makes me long for the time when I can get back out and perfect my skills again. The only problem around here is that if I want to do any dancing like that I have to travel at least to Pittsburgh or further. I remember a funny axe-finger-chopping, bearded fellow telling me that he once went to a place in Monroeville down below Pittsburgh with a group of people and having a wonderful time dancing with 80 year old women.

I think that it is very difficult to argue that good dancing is not captivating to watch. There is just something magical about how graceful the human form can become. It is stunning how we can convey some of our strongest emotions through the fluid movement through space to the echos of sound waves. Take for example, passion. I think this picture sums that up.

And when you go dancing, you have to get dressed up and the woman is usually in a dress. Since the dress is one of the sexiest things that a woman can wear, you can't go wrong there. Simple elegance with strappy heels and bare shoulders....mmmm mmm good. Plus men, it gives you a reason to buy another dress for your lady (which, by the way, is one of the hottest clothing items out this summer). My suggestion: Go dancing. Dancing is an amazing aphrodisiac.

While You Were Sleeping...

For anyone who is married, I am sure that one of your favorite things is the fact that you get to sleep with your significant the same bed. That is, of course, unless you are like the 1950's and sleep in separate beds...and if that is you please stop reading. But seriously, one of the highlights to my day is always right before I fall asleep. There is just something very comforting getting to sleep beside the person you love. Plus, when it is freezing outside you can snuggle up together for body warmth.....and when it is hot you can snuggle next to the person until they scream for you to get your sticky body away from them.

Now the funny thing that I have noticed is the various ways that people sleep. Ok, take the couple in the picture at the top. Now this is a very protective and comforting way to sleep but what they don't tell you is that the guy's arm is basically turning black from loss of blood. This is a great way to sleep for a short a nap. It is also a great way to start sleep and then move to another position.

This next couple has got a much better way to sleep and I am judging that by the way that they are sleeping that they are both left handed. Actually I don't know, but I am right handed and I sleep on the opposite side. This is a great position because you are facing each other and then when you wake up the other person is the first thing you see. Oh yeah, and you can melt their face with your morning breath.

The last couple is looking very comfortable and relaxed. I enjoy this position for shorter naps because if you lay this close and on top of each other for long periods it can get very warm. Basically sleeping is just awesome to start with and doing it with someone you love is even better. I just can't get enough of it and I look forward to my days off because I take advantage of that and sleep in with her.