love/hate: betsey johnson

December 3, 2010

so how many of y’all out there are gleeks? i’ll admit to being one – its campy, fun and regularly blasts you with some good old fashioned teen angst, just how i like my tv. i was a total musical theater kid back in high school, so of course i get really into the big show numbers.

during the first season finale last spring, i noticed that the girls of new directions were all rocking a pretty black and gold betsey johnson frock that had walked the runway at the pink fashion event i worked in february.


glee girls in BJ evening gold pleated waist strapless dress

i’ve always been a betsey devotee – my first “nice” dress was a blue betsey sundress my parents bought me in seventh grade (age eleven, yo!) for a friend’s bar mitzvah. the dress made the cover of one of the olsen twins’ straight-to-dvd romps, to my favorite college dive to meeting betsey at age twenty-three, and i still wear it.Ā  i’ve had that blue dress for more than half of my life!

the 1999 olsen twins classic


at the silver dollar, charleston SC, 2008


with betsey, washington DC, 2009


i spent an absurd amount of time hanging around the georgetown boutique last year and here’s the thing: i know that betsey does not produce in sizes above a 12. i’ve only ever seen one size 12 dress in real life – a size 12 is like a betsey johnson unicorn!

i’m a pretty small girl, curvy, granted, but i range anywhere from a 6 to a 10 in betsey, depending on the cut, and i’ve found the strapless dresses especially unforgiving. well, that and not much of a discernable difference between sizes.

considering my long familiarity with betsey, i was surprised to see amber riley in the gold dress, as she’s far more voluptuous than i, and i can barely squeeze a 10 strapless! i assumed that the glee costume department either specially ordered her costume or are geniuses and were able to reconstruct the off the rack dress in some magical way.

the competing team in the same episode also donned betsey, and i can see why the glee costumers choose her dresses for the competitions on the show – they’re whimsical and practically pretty.

this tuesday’s episode featured another big competition for our friends in new directions, and once again, the girls were styled in a precious ombre betsey party dress.


new directions in the evening ombre short dress


this costume choice piqued my interest, as ashley fink was a featured guest star as new directions’ newest member to replace the recently-transferred kurt. again, i wondered about how the glee costumers were able to manage the sizing problem i’ve noticed. there are some noticeable modifications to the off the rack version (below) – replacing the large black bow with a thin crimson ribbon, so its not unreasonable to think that some work was done to the costumes for amber riley and ashley fink.

note that ashley is the only cast member wearing a cardigan –Ā  i figure that either there was a problem reconstructing the original piece or its a remedy to disguise a lack of support in the bosom department.


evening ombre short dress


so, yesterday afternoon @xobetseyjohnson tweeted “Check out the girls of Glee wearing our Evening Ombre Short Dress on last night’s episode!! Don’t they look great?” to which @bellabugaloo replied, asking about the sizing of the dresses.

the @xobetseyjohnson response: “Sizes online for the dress are what is available. xox @bellaboogaloo were they custom made or are you making them in larger sizes now?”


to which i have to say…oh HELL NO YOU DIDN’T BETSEY JOHNSON!



they didn’t even answer bella’s question of whether or not the dresses were made especially for the glee castmembers!

i suspect its because a) the two dresses were in fact custom made and BJ doesn’t want to admit to how limited their sizing is or b) the glee costume department reconstructed the dresses, and BJ doesn’t want to admit how limited their sizing is or c) they want consumers that may be less familiar with the line to think that amber riley and ashley fink fit into a size that is available for purchase on the website to avoid admitting how limited their sizing is.

y’all, i’m in law school, i am surrounded by people fluent in the art of half truths and non-answers, but this one totally blew me away.

now, i’m just one consumer, and i draw these conclusions based on my own experiences and those of my friends, but i firmly believe that betsey johnson cuts their dresses drastically on the small side. i know, the size on the tag doesn’t matter, its how it fits, and while that IS true, their sizing is so small that an average sized girl like me can barely shimmy into a 10! i’ve heard countless laments from my heavier friends about how they wish they could fit into betsey pieces that i wear without even thinking.

but my little black heart breaks when i think of all the disenfranchisement of fashionistas with bigger frames and how betsey johnson won’t even address the issue!

i hate to imagine the anguish of a teenage girl dreaming about a betsey party dress for homecoming, knowing that it won’t fit. especially considering that teen vogue regularly partners with betsey on such confections targeted at their readership!

i’ve noticed two major changes in betsey pieces in my tenure as a dedicated shopper: a decline in quality coupled with an increase in price and the rapidly shrinking sizes. these changes are a disgrace to the legacy that betsey has built over forty years.

betsey johnson is an american icon – hell, her first fit model was edie sedgwick in the days of warhol’s factory. i greatly respect her as both a mogul and a design talent, but i abhor the fact that in 2010, many women and girls are excluded from betseyville due to their size.

furthermore, betsey johnson is a designer born and bred in the good ole USA, yet her garments are manufactured in china. of course i understand that overseas production is cheaper and a lot of designers do it, and its not the outsourcing i take issue with: its the fact that cocktail dresses run between $300 and $500 (you’ll never find a day dress priced below $200) and THEY ARE SHIT!

i know. i just blasphemed. i’m sorry. but i have had zippers malfunction on at least three different dresses. my best friend jordan, who is a seamstress and worked for another high profile american designer in a similar price bracket, has angrily pointed out that said zippers are cheap plastic, hence the breakage. i don’t mind a cheap zipper on recyclable clothing, like something i paid $25 for from forever21, but on a dress i paid nearly $500 for?!

this spring, i was desperate for the guns print cotton dress. salivating, even.

but i have a strict policy when it comes to betsey: i simply won’t pay full price for an item. i either wait for a particular piece to go on sale, or hope its still in stock when betsey offers a promotion.


paramore's hayley williams on stage with weezer


so in april, the time came for a 30% off or some such promotion, and i ran around to every betsey johnson store between atlanta and nashville to get my hands on the guns dress in my size. when i finally tracked it down, i spent around $150 for the privilege of adding it to my betsey collection.


my right to bear arms with david, andy and dan of this providence


i distinctly recall the salesgirl at the shop in perimeter mall enthusiastically remarking “its such a great deal, isn’t it?!” i nodded, not wanting to point out that yes, while the dress had been drastically marked down (a similar style currently retails for $260), i was handing over more than a bill for what is essentially a tshirt.

am i a hypocrite for continuing to purchase clothing from betsey johnson, given my objection to their sizing and quality? i don’t know. but i do know that my cherished guns dress isn’t going to last me the next thirteen years.




urban decay rocks harder than any fifteen year old can!

November 29, 2010

dear eight pound, six ounce sweet baby Jesus, THANK YOU for helping me get my hands on the urban decay 24/7 anniversary collection set!!

the set became available today at 1 pm EST and let me tell you kiddies, the hoardes of people slamming onto the site CRASHED THE SERVER! yep, its that good!


the holy grail - 24/7 15 pencil anniversary collection


previously the only info i had on the set was that, well, it existed, and would include 15 of urban decay’s classic 24/7 eyeliners.

WELL my friends, it is so much better than that!

the set, $92, does in fact include 15 24/7 pencils and they are FULL SIZE at .04 ounces each. keep in mind one full size 24/7 is $17 (although i personally think you’re bananas if you ever pay $17 for a pencil since there are always great holiday deals and sets that feature them!) – so the set would run you $255 if bought individually.

in addition to the excellent price tag, the set includes six new shades (no word yet on whether they’re LE) – asphyxia (pinky iridescent purple), corrupt (dark metallic brown w/silver sparkle), midnight cowboy (beige w/gold sparkle), perversion (blackest carbon black), stray dog (shimmery brown taupe) and uzi (gunmetal w/grey sparkle). it also includes the set also includes baked (bold bronze), binge (navy blue), bourbon (brown w/ gold sparkle), electric (bright aquamarine), mildew (deep green), ransom (bright iridescent purple), rockstar (darkest eggplant), stash (dark green/gold), and zero (zealous black).

really, corrupt isn’t entirely new as it was in last year’s superstash but i personally am *thrilled* to see it included here, because it quickly became my favorite pencil from that set and ground down to a nub virtually overnight. i’ve hassled my lovely contact at urban decay about corrupt several times and always wanted to cry when i heard “no plans for production” at this time, so way to go urban decay, you made my dreams come true!

i’m curious to see how perversion compares to zero, considering i’ve always found zero to be a pretty damn black black! i’m excited for my first full size binge and i was definitely in the market for a replacement rockstar, so this works out quite well for me! and if you didn’t know…rockstar is my favorite ud liner. the plum color is amazing on every eye color – try it out and you’ll be as addicted as i am šŸ˜‰

check out temptalia for sneak-peek photos of the set and more info!

what’s your favorite 24/7 shade?

where did november go?

November 29, 2010

seriously, if anyone can tell me, i’d be *thrilled* to hear your answers! because i have no idea! 9 days until my first final! EEEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!

but the bright side is:

today is cyber monday!!!!!!!

personally, i’m extremely excited for it to hit 1 pm since urban decay seems to be putting their 15 year anniversary liner set on pre-sale today!

can you say, MUST HAVE?! and it looks from the photo there are some new or maybe exclusive liners in there! that’s all the news i’ve got for now folks, but i can’t wait for it!

stila is offering their warehouse sale ONLINE this year! be sure to check this one out addicts, there are some *amazing* deals over there – lip glazes for $5-6? YES PLEASE!

and one of my absolute VERY favorites, lime crime, created by my deere friend, doe, is having their biggest sale EVER with 40% off! check out the candy eye primer, i hear its divine šŸ˜‰ i’ve featured lots of looks with her products, her colors are unique and pack a major punch!

and on a non-beauty related note, henri bendel is having a cyber monday sale! 30% off sitewide and free shipping!!!!

i am a total bendel girl and i would highly recommend their handbags – amazing quality and so cute! i definitely picked up a couple for myself šŸ˜‰


for a full list of deals, check out karen & christine‘s blogs – they’re better on keeping up with everything than me šŸ™‚

i hope that y’all had a wonderful thanksgiving spending times with friends, family and delicious holiday treats!

my family came to my house, which was nice, but a bit chaotic. i missed spending time in alabama šŸ˜¦

…although i think hero was happy to have some other people around!

i caught her in bed with my brother!

happy cyber monday!


its the most wonderful time of the year…

November 8, 2010

ok well we’re not at the full on holiday season – yet. but i’m plotting šŸ˜‰

my family has decided to have thanksgiving at my house instead of back home in alabama and my inner martha stewart is clawing to get out. i cannot WAIT! and i’m especially excited for my imposed ban on jell-o — hate the stuff, it totally creeps me out and i told my parents since its my house no jello, unless they plan on making it with everclear.

i’m in the throes of studying for finals (i know this because i spent three days in my favorite aerie flannel nightie haha) and although my life is relatively calm right now, there’s been a barrage of little crises since the very first week of october. fall can be a lot to take for a busy professional girl! i know the rest of you students, graduate or not, are suffering with me and those of you in the real world…whew! year end reports and reviews, the pressure of getting all your holiday preparations done in the always miniscule free time in your regularly scheduled life can be a huge summit looming in the distance.

so i wanted to take this opportunity to tell you all: RELAX!

cuddle up with a furry friend. or two.

while we’re all caught in a whirlwind of trying to get things taken care of, its so easy to forget to take care of yourself. build yourself a few minutes a day, or an hour or a day each week to just let the pressure fall off. you’ll return to your tasks refreshed and focused AND have indulged in a few treats.

whether your poison is running a marathon, climbing trees, going to the spa, snuggling up with your dvr or knitting WHATEVER give yourself a little respite to enjoy it.

this is real life. yes, we have responsibilities and boyfriends and husbands and needy friends and children and nagging parents but the most precious thing you have in life is yourself. so take care of you! life is meant to be loved, so press pause and smell the roses.

i know i’m coming at y’all all inspirational speakery but i’m prosthelytizing from experience! last week i was at my wits end – lots of drama, school, i was sick, lots of travel AHHHHH but i took some time on saturday night with my girlfriend alyssa for a nice relaxing girls night and woke up sunday feeling…well, if not like p.diddy, a brand new girl.

take a breath, relax, and do something fun!

roadtrip singing of corey smith's carolina is a MUST


4 days left…do not pass go without collecting urban decay’s liners!

April 15, 2010

dear beauty addicts, i have something to share…this is the most wonderful time of the year. a magical time that comes just three times a year and i yearn for it when it is gone.

my pretties, it is better than christmas. it is even better than carolina cup. it is


until the 19th, get 30% off your entire order at with the code FNFS1!


of course, i have already taken full advantage of the joy that is this sale, gorging myself on the 24/7 eyeliner pencil sets! there are two available – hi-fi and stereophonic. i already had the stereophonic set, but i picked up another because there is NO such thing as too much eyeliner!

stereophonic includes zero (black), underground (shimmery taupe), gunmetal (as it sounds plus glitter), and crash (aubergine with silver glitter) – crash was initially exclusive to this set, but is now available as a full size. it also has midnight cowboy heavy metal glitter liner, one of my favorites! its a gorgeous champagne gold and goes perfectly with any look for extra glam šŸ˜‰

hi fi also includes zero – its a classic! – 1999 (gorgeous plum with gold glitter), flipside (turquoise) and mildew (forest green) plus distortion heavy metal glitter, an iridescent color that reminds me of my barbies’ formal dresses when i was a little girl.

but here’s the math folks: each of the pencils in the sets are .03 ounce of product – full size, $17 pencils include .04 ounces. already a great deal! the sets were originally $34, now they’re down to TWENTY dollars each (a heavy metal is $18!) plus 30% off leaves them at a beautiful FOURTEEN dollars for four amazeballs liners and glittertastic fun!

i. die.

get both, you shall not regret. i picked up two hi-fi and another stereophonic for good measure.

aside from the liners, its always a good idea to pick up high-dollar items during these sales, such as palettes – show pony is my bomb-diggity! or the new summer of love palette if you’re a UD beginner.

show pony

summer of love

another great choice to pick up are the cream to powder foundations, my go-to for all my fashion work because they build easily, cover imperfections, dry down to a perfect velvet finish and don’t stray!

i also grabbed another de-slick powder, a colorless mattifying pressed powder that removes shine without destroying the face you created, great for sweaty summer nights!

there’s been a lot of buzz about the new tinted moisturizers and setting sprays, but i have yet to try them so i’ll give you the good word once i have it….but what i can say, is you can’t go wrong with UD!

oh AND phenomenally fast UPS shipping? i received my order in less than one business week! ā¤

don’t let this sale pass you by, there won’t be another until the fall!
let me know what you pick up!

shu shu…i love you

March 30, 2010

sad news in the world for us americans today…

shu uemura is pulling out from the US market.

i know, i know…my first thoughts were “OMFG i’m going to need to stock up on lash curlers and cleansing oils!” and believe you me that is exactly what i am going to do!

reportedly, shu garners about 80% of their profits from the asian markets alone, so it seems reasonable to leave the US market, especially with the whole economic downturn thing…but i know die hard addicts here are going to feel very alone without easy access to their shu essentials!

word is that shu uemura products will still be available via their website to us “yanks” – phew!

but, seriously, who can forget j.lo’s shu mink lashes from the 2001 oscars? i was only 14 at the time and i remember them like yesterday!

now i wonder what’s going to happen to the endless japanese beauty stores that vibrantly pepper los angeles advertising their shu uemura exclusivity?

oh well, i guess it gives me and doe an even better excuse to make our dream trip to japan come true!

a match made in heaven: betsey johnson and urban decay!

March 28, 2010

here are photos from the local d.c. fashion show i did a few weeks ago – pink fashion rocks, a benefit for the susan g. komen foundation featuring betsey johnson.

the look was inspired by the fall 2010 fashion show that had debuted in new york two weeks before, but with a bit of a brighter lip. the original runway look was done by stila and focused on a smoky brown brigitte-bardot-esque eye but i decided to go with more of a gunmetal look.

the NYFW runway

NYFW fall 2010 by stila

stila’sĀ  face chart

i used all urban decay products on my girls because…well, we all know how much i love UD! a look backstage:

urban decay hotpants lipstick! sexy, shimmery pink

for this sexy look, i prepped the lid with mushroom cream shadow. after it dried, i placed oil slick shadow in the crease and winged it out with a pencil brush, then patted mushroom shadow in the center of the lid to intensify the color. i used sin shadow as a brow highlight and used a fluffy blending brush to smoke it out. most of the girls brought false lashes with them, and after application i lined with oil slick liquid liner on top, zero 24/7 on the bottom and smudged oil slick shadow on top of each line.

for face, i used urban decay cream to powder foundation – no blush! a swipe of hotpants lipstick and the girls were runway ready!


minor interruption in your regularly scheduled programming

March 10, 2010

as many of you might have noticed, i haven’t updated in an abhorrently long time. mainly because i’ve been traveling and what not but the MAJOR problem is:

my camera is in the wind!

i forgot it at my friend heather’s house in south carolina – she mailed it to my friend’s address in california so it could get to me while i’m here in LA. except that i gave her the wrong address. so now my camera is somewhere in transit fluxy trying to find its way home, holding my photos hostage. šŸ˜¦

the good news: today i bought a new camera! (i was planning on selling the old one anyway) so perhaps i will soon have more beauty fun for you all!


a day in tim burton’s macabre world

February 22, 2010

today i finally went and saw the tim burton exhibition at the MoMA – it was so wonderful to see his works of art up close. the pieces were truly stunning and the installations blew me away – its a must see!

when i was sixteen, tim burton & co. filmed big fish in my hometown of montgomery, alabama. i was in the movie – a total blink-and-you’ll-miss-me part (if you’re curious – i’m the girl in the turquoise sweater set walking through the pack of frat guys in the college scene before ewan mcgregor gets punched in the face)


tim burton himself told me that i’m ethereally beautiful. coming from a man whose brain is permeated by such contrasting ideals of heaven and hell, ethereal was pretty much the greatest compliment anyone has ever given me.


doo something crazy – take runway to real life!

February 21, 2010

last week, i was glued to the cut and bella sugar scoping the newest fashion and beauty trends premiering at new york’s fall 2010 fashion week.

overall, i was unimpressed with the beauty looks sauntering down the runways…i was especially disappointed with stila’s work and their subsequent packaging of these “looks” – bland palettes of neutral matte shadows. blech.

BUT i was completely inspired by the matte red, glitter frosted lips featured at doo-ri! talk about innovative!

the look at doo-ri was created by MAC cosmetics and was extremely minimal except for the standout lips, which were achieved by lining with MAC cherry lip pencil and MAC ruby woo lipstick and pressing turquoise glitter all over the lips and silver glitter in the center of the lower lip. a quick, easy look with a lot of flash!

i was dying to try it out and today just felt like the perfect day! for eyes, i prepped my lids with bobbi brown creaseless cream shadow in navajo (the MAC artists used foundation, but i’m experimenting with this base) and then brushed on MAC iridescent powder in silver dusk. i didn’t line my eyes to keep the look minimal, but i did have some leftover black liner from last night that i decided not to totally remove for splash bit of grunge, dirty look. i curled my lashes with a shu uemura lash curler and applied one coat of diorshow iconic mascara (none was used at doo-ri).

i quickly concealed under my eyes, applied a light layer of foundation – this week i’m experimenting with giorgio armani luminous silk foundation in 4, and brushed silver light on my cheekbones – my own personal touch. i don’t have cherry lip liner, so i used stila contour no. 1 and applied ruby woo straight from the tube. i wet a flat artstore brush and then applied heavenly naturals mermaid scales glitter all over my lips, following up with makeup forever glitter no. 2 (silver) in the center of my bottom lip. of course the MAC artists used MAC pro glitters, but these are just what i had on hand.

note: you don’t have to use true cosmetic glitters for this look – craft store glitter would be just fine, but don’t use craft glitter on eyes because its hexagon shaped (i.e. sharp corners!) and can cut your eye. YIKES!

great look...creepy shadow!

the look was dramatic, fun and *totally* wearable in real life! ruby woo is crazy matte and the color stayed perfect all day (even the glitter)! i LOVED wearing this look and would definitely recommend trying it out for something spontaneous!

did you notice my hair looks a little more platinum? thanks to a great reccomendation from the fabulous kristin, i toned my hair using clairol shimmerlights shampoo! its pure violet shampoo and conditioner and really got the brassiness out! $8.99 for 16 oz at ricky’s? HELLS YES!

jordan and i then had an impromptu photo shoot on the roof of our building – something you should also try!


my best friend, jordan!


on the L train

my dress by in god we trust, boots by jeffrey campbell, gucci aviators and vintage fur from my grandmother
i have no idea what the hell jordan is wearing, as usual, haha (the petticoats are mine, the blue is betsey johnson)