Saturday, November 28, 2009

changes in store for redkatblonde!

I started with the goal of sharing my love of fashion with my readers. Mind you, in the beginning I'm pretty sure I had a total of four and three of my dear blogger friends (thank you Katy, Julie and Shel!). Over time, I've gained followers, both through my freelance writing that I've done for Cincy Chic, as well as from being featured in Reader's Digest.

One would think in light of all this publicity, would've become a consistently updated, go-to fashion resource. Nah! That'd be too predicitable. Instead I've treated my blog as sort of a, "get to it when I can" endeavor, and have done a big disservice to my 13 followers and 100+ regular readers. Being the socialite/fashionista/new business director/adjunct professor/entrepreneur that I am, I've fallen into the trap of having grand ambition and little action. Apparently my busy life has gotten in the way of my passion for fashion.

No more! Starting in January, 2010 is turning over a new leaf and taking a slightly new direction. Instead of lengthy posts that require a lot of my time, I'm going to focus on weekly tips, tricks trends and finds. Let me break it down:

  • Tips & Tricks - fashion and beauty advice and simple solutions to fashion emergencies
  • Trends - what's hot right now
  • Finds - what you want/need to buy right now
If you have any fashion or beauty problems you want me to address or if you're looking for ways to make a seemingly unwearable trend workable in your wardrobe, please let me know.

Have a stylishly good holiday, and here's to an even trendier 2010!


Monday, November 16, 2009

{such a} My Perfect Mani

I posted my Perfect Mani on the Champagne Tuesday Girls blog a few weeks ago, but I thought I'd share the love with you too.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm fanatical about my nails, especially while on the go. I touch them up at my desk, I fix chips in the car...any time my nails need attention, I'm on it! Sundays however, are different. Every Sunday night I park myself at the table in the living room and accompanied by my favorite suburban dames, take the time to really "do" my nails. All of my tips and techniques come from fashion mags, observation at nail salons and pure trial and error. I can't guarantee that every single step will work flawlessly the first time, but you should definitely try this at home, and enjoy!

Monika's Perfect Mani
1. Remove nailpolish (self-explanatory)
2. Shape nails with a medium-grit file. The best ones I've seen are the blue files available at any CVS, Walgreens. Decide if you want to do a round tip or a square. To determine what works best for you, look at the shape of your hands. NOTE: File in one direction! If you go in different directions, you'll wind up with little nail bits on the tips.
3. Use a buffer block to smooth out any splits in your nails or any weird chips in the surface of your nail.
4. Grab the olive oil out of your kitchen cabinet and pour a little into a small dish. Take a small paint brush and swipe the olive oil over your cuticles. You can brush all the way up the side of your nail if you want extra moisturizing. Let this soak into your cuticles for a couple minutes.
5. Take an orange stick and gentle easy cuticles back. Don't push too hard that you cause yourself pain.
6. Go to the kitchen sink and wash your hands. Wash them thoroughly...don't leave any dust or oil on the nail itself.

Here's the point where you start the actual manicure. Line up your polish bottles on the table and make sure you have the lids loosened so that you don't mess up your mani. Each coat is done one after another...don't wait between. Think of your polish as doublesided tape...the bottom coat adheres to the next coat, etc. Don't do thick gloppy coats either...a simple thin coat is sufficient. Finally, don't worry about color not looking bright. You'll need to do two coats of polish. If you go outside the lines, again, no worries. The color will either come off after your polish is dry and you wash your hands, or you can use polish remover.

You'll need the following:
-Chip Skip
-Nail Envy
-Top Coat

7. Start with a coat of Chip Skip or something like it to keep polish chips to a minimum.
8. Immediately after the Chip Skip, use a coat of nail strengthener like Nail Envy or one of the Sally Hanson Hard as Nails products to encourage nail growth.
9. On to the color! Pick whatever color you like. Note that darker colors will be a bit tougher to paint on because they can look streaky after the first coat. You'll do two coats, one right after the other. Start with one swipe of polish up the middle of the nail, pushing down on the nailbrush gently. You'll get a nice stripe of color. Then, angle the brush slightly and paint each remaining side. You don't need to go all the way to the side. It's a visual trick - most manicurists don't actually paint all the way to the skin. They leave a little space on the sides, which makes your nail look longer and thinner. The bonus is that this helps keep painting outside the lines to a minimum, so keep this tip in mind!
10. Once you've done your two coats, take your top coat and do a thin layer on all your nails.

You're done! I like to let my nails dry for a full hour to make sure they don't get nicked or dented. Any questions? If so, leave them in the comments.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

{such a} Which Avril Should I Be?

Halloween is my most favorite time of the year, and this year I'm stepping out of my comfort zone a little bit. Rather than dressing up in a pretty costume (years past include Natasha from "Boris and Natasha", Juliet, a woodland fairy) I'm going as a zombie. Yes, a zombie complete with white caked on makeup and probably with fake blood and an obvious cause of death. My friends and I are going to the DeComposition Zombie Crawl in Covington, KY.

In thinking about being a zombie, I wanted to use some things that I already have in my closet to help determine my character. With what I found, I decided to be an Avril Lavigne zombie. Who knew that Avril Lavigne and I share so many common wardrobe staples? Black biker jacket, check. Plaid tie, check. Combat boots, check. Rocker t-shirt, check. In fact, I have so many of the same things that Avril has that I'm confused as to which Avril to be for Halloween! I need your help in determining which look I should emulate and how I should die. Vote in the comments by Friday and I'll post a pic of myself all zombied up.

Avril's Looks

Skull Rocker


Princess Rocker

Plaid Skirt/Hoodie Rocker

Necktie Rocker

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

{such a} Mixing Business with Pleasure

Recently I started a new position as the New Business Director with a design firm in Cincinnati called Sanger & Eby. Topping my list of reasons for wanting to work at Sanger & Eby: their passion for creative and commitment to giving back to the community and the opportunity to work with Macy's.

Recently Sanger & Eby wrapped up a project that combined creative, community involvement and my favorite We worked with Macy's to create the Shop for a Cause website and application. Shop for A Cause is Macy's national charity shopping day, where participants purchase a $5 shopping card to use on October 17th in any Macy's store or online at The money raised from the sale of the cards goes back to local non-profits. Since 2006, Shop for a Cause has helped non-profits raise more than $28 million.

Since I have a passion for giving back and a passion for shopping, I've created a mini-list of fall must-haves available at Macy's. Support any of these charities by Shopping for a Cause on October 17th!

1. Military Bolero - top a simple tee with this structured jacket. Fun with jeans for a night out, or pair it with a ruffled skirt to get a contrast of tough and gentle. $69

2.Boho Dress - be a little exotic in a boho dress. Add tights and booties for work, and if the color works, add your Military Bolero when it gets colder. $89

3. The White Shirt- a little forgiving in shape and more relaxed than your Daddy's button-down, this white shirt is part business, part romantic. $69

4. Skinny Jeans - don't fret...these body-forgiving skinny jeans will free you to reconsider skinny jeans as part of your wardrobe. Add The White Shirt for a casual weekend outfit. $79.50

5. Slouchy Boot - Tuck your Skinny Jeans into these cuties and be ready if it rains or snows. Super-cute with buckle detail! $79

Friday, September 18, 2009

{such a} Gone to the races...the wiener dog races!

Normally I would not blog about dogs. Normally, I think dog fashion is just this side of ridiculous, and on par with fanny packs and Crocs. But I'm making an exception, just this once, for these little mutts. No, they're not wearing designer clothes, Halloween costumes or Santa hats. They are wearing hotdog buns. Not just plain hotdog buns either, but some with ketchup, while others have mustard. One dog even dressed like a cheese coney.

With all these hotdog references, I can only be talking about dachshunds and the annual Wiener Dog Races which are held each year on Fountain Square, and which mark the beginning of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. Having never witnessed the spectacle of the races, I went today and found myself completely charmed by the little pups in their hot doggiest ensembles. So while they are not fashionistas in a true sense, they are definitely pioneers in branded doggie attire.

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Monday, August 24, 2009

{such a} Fall Fashion '09 Trends and Tip Sheet Too!

Just in case you weren't ready to say goodbye to summer, the newest fall fashions are already hitting the stores, tempting you to spend your bucks on the first blush of the season's offerings.

The key things of note are the proliferation of 80's inspired fashions - from the one-shoulder cocktail dresses to the skyscraping shoulders of the jackets. Neon colors charge into fall and show up in dresses, suits and mixed into usually sedate prints like houndstooth and plaid. Pants are neutral - brown, black and even white if you're brave. Skirts, dresses and leggings take the day with tights both shredded (really!) and intact all over the runways.

If you're on a budget, and buying an entirely new wardrobe for fall is not on your financial agenda, the good people of have created an entire primer in DIY fashion for fall. Admittedly I'm not always the craftiest person on the block, but even I can manage these simple ideas and updates.

To be sure you don't end up buying this year's no-no, download and print my tip sheet and take it with you before you shop. I think figuring out trend is always the hardest part of a season shift, so to simplify I've created a categorized list to make your life easy. I do not pretend to have included every single trend out there -- to do so would mean including trends that are likely too outrageous to ever make it off the runway. But from my own research, I've culled what I think are the most wearable trends for Fall '09. Print this wallet-sized sheet out, stick it in your purse and happy shopping!

For the downloadable file, click here. NOTE: When you download and open the PDF, you may need to cut out the card, as it will display based on your Adobe Acrobat/Reader preferences. Need a PDF reader? Find it here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

{such a} Reader's Digest Magazine Feature!

I am one thrilled fashionista -- my feature in Reader's Digest came out today! Check out the pix from the TOC and the spread for the article for which I was interviewed. So amazingly, absolutely thrilled to be featured! The issue is on newstands now - September 2009. I can now honestly say that I've been in a national magazine....yay! (note: as of posting, the article was not online yet, so there is no link. When it does appear, I'll add it.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

{such a} Martin+Osa Email Offer

One of the nicest surprises on mornings where I hate everything in my closet, is to open an email and find a coupon for one of my fave boutiques. Today was one of those mornings, and I'm sharing the coupon I received with you. Get $20 off at MARTIN + OSA with LUCKY BUCK$ from Lucky Magazine. Use your LUCKY BUCK$ towards any MARTIN + OSA purchase of $75 or more. Around Cincinnati, you'll need to shop online, so visit Check the sale section of the site - I spotted an uber-cute Tuxedo Blazer for a mere $44.95

Discount Code: 45
Web Code: 87478529

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

{such a} Invitation that I've waited for, but can't accept...

At long last, my invitation to the Grand Opening Gala for the new Nordstrom store arrived...and wouldn't you know, I can't go!

The gala is the night before a huge meeting that I'm scheduled to attend in San Jose, CA. Of course the meeting couldn't be closer to, that would be too convenient. And since there's virtually no way that I know of to attend and hop a plan to still be ontime on Thursday, I am forced to tearfully, regretfully decline the invitation.

I hope that you go..and if you do, please take pictures and tell me all about it. And rest assured, I will be indulging in a Nordstrom spree soon.... XOXO

ps - Please excuse the crappy photography. In my enthusiasm to share my invite with you, I was forced to use my Blackberry camera for the snaps. They're not great, but trust me that the invite pack is gorgeous.

The invite package as a whole. Beautiful rectangular envelope with embossed letters. Inside, long rectangular invitation imprinted with old-fashioned riverboats and embossed with the gala wording.

The RSVP card. Also embossed. I'm so sad I have to send this back with my regrets.

Monday, July 27, 2009

{such a} Blogher 09 Adventure

Blogher 09 in Chicago was an amazing experience for me. I met fabulous bloggers (@momtrolfreak and @sabrinabot among others) and attended fab parties (EA Active and the Lush Experience by Blogalicious). Yes, there was a preponderance of mommy bloggers and the swagaholics caused me to raise an eyebrow or two, but that’s not what’s important. What matters is that much to my surprise, there were a large number of incredibly fashionable women at Blogher 09. I’m not sure what I expected really...but I was happily surprised to see stylish, trendy women everywhere I went at the conference. Cute summer dresses, mod booties, skinny jeans and brightly printed tanks.

Check out just a few of the galleries:

Blogher Galleries
Blogher Flickr Galleries
Tide Laundry Lounge Gallery
Rick from Tiny Prints Gallery

I was thrilled to find out that both Carson Kressley and Tim Gunn were going to be in attendance at Blogher. Carson came with Nikon to promote Look Good In Pictures, Nikon's How To Series with Carson Kressley, and Tim Gunn came as part of Tide’s Laundry Lounge. Both were dressed to the nines, Carson in a lime green sweater (that he quick-switched to don a t-shirt given to him by an attendee) and Tim in a dark grey pinstripe suit. I a scoop (not really a scoop) on the next Project Runway, which Tim shared will be in LA, and starts on August 20th.

Paula Deen also put in an appearance to plug her new line of food at Walmart. She suprised me by adding a very cute, very sparkly pair of slip-on flats to her jeans and denim shirt outfit. I’m not one to cook with a stick of butter or more, but I approve of her shoes 100%.

The most fashion-unique event of the entire conference was the Cheeseburgher party held on the last night. In case you’re not familar, and I wasn’t, attendees to this late-night soiree sponsored by McDonalds are given McDonalds bags to wear as headgear. I could not figure out a way to make that bag look good, so I didn’t wear one. So sad...not! It was a great party despite my lack of paper hat. Fortunately, I had my hot pink feather boa from Bowlher...mad love.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

{such a} Local Designer Featured in Daily Candy

DAAP Graduate Anna Pachan is all over the news these days. First, a fabulous write-up in Cincinnati Magazine and now, a Daily Deal in the Daily Candy Deals newsletter. If you haven't seen her swimwear line called Cala Ossidiana (means obsidian beach in Italian) you're missing out. Beautiful one-pieces feature a layered on sheer look with intriacte strap work, and her bikinis are simple profiles with a pretty blend of bandeau and string pieces. Locally, find Cala Ossidiana at Snap Boutique, but hurry--summer's almost over so they won't be around for much longer.

PS-If you don't subscribe to Daily Candy, subscribe for updates on hot find and fashions, and for a discount on purchasing Cala Ossidiana swimwear online, enter code DAILYCANDY during checkout from the Yahoo store.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

{such a} Fashion News-Anna Sui At Target!

Anna Sui at Target
Yes it's true! Anna Sui, everyone favorite playful, colorful and uncompromisingly original designer is launching a line of clothing for Target - our favorite recessionista shop spot. Sui is only the second designer, after Alexander McQueen to become a part of the Designer Collaboration for Target. Up and coming designers like Erin Fetherston and Rogan Gregory have been featured in the GO International collection. From an interview with Women's Wear Daily:

"I have always been a fan of designer partnerships with mass retailers," Sui told WWD exclusively. "I think it is a great way to bring fashion to everyone. I love Go International and was intrigued with Target's new take on designer partnerships. It's a fresh approach. I was able to select a muse or source of creative inspiration to focus the collection around. It is an exciting challenge to try and interpret my aesthetic into a mass-produced product with a specific inspirational source as the focus."

Rumors have been flying as to whether or not this collection will be based on characters from TV's popular Gossip Girl. Since I'm not a fan of the show (actually never seen it) I'm not worried either way, but sources have said that Target, not Sui, is balking at being associated with the show. Seem the characters engage in hijinx that Target finds a little to racy for their customers!

The collection will debut online at and in stores on September 13th, so mark your calendars. It will only be available until Mid-October.

Friday, June 19, 2009

{such a } Five Must-Have Indie Dresses - Summer '09

Baby, it’s hot, hot, hot outside, and while the temps and humidity may keep you running for the chill of a nice air-conditioned room, these cute summer dresses can heat up your wardrobe without burning up your budget. Try these five trends in totally wearable, completely unique styles. Every dress listed is made by an independent designer - support these fab up-and-coming labels!

Maxi Dress - the maxi has been spotted just about everywhere this summer. With its long sweeping lengths and forgiving fit, the maxi dress is easily glamourous, and can transition from daytime to nighttime with minimal effort.

Long Wildflower Dress - Prodiji by Brittney Kelley

Tiered Dress- soft layers give ethereal dimension to a simple dress shape, while skimming over any problem spots. Ideally look for silks or blends that move with you, and stay away from overly heavy fabrics.

The AK Style - Anavaa Kisasa

Delicate Boho - Continuing the trend towards colorful swirled prints with an earthy sensibility, the delicate boho dress has a simple, flowing style and unique handkerchief or embellished hemlines.

Green Multi-Dress - Blue Plate Fashion

A-line Dress - Retro fabulous and updated for summer, the a-line has returned to the market with a vengeance. Another chic option in the “forgive me I’ve sinned and eaten cookies” category, the simple “a” cut of this dress lets you breathe easy and still be on-trend.

Assymetrical Dress- Tulle

Goddess/One-Shoulder - as the name implies, the style of this dress invites you to channel your inner Aphrodite and show off your shoulders and arms with a unique neckline. Yet another all-around flattering dress, look for solid colors if you’re not feeling daring enough to wear this style.

One Shoulder Wrap Dress- Sammy Lenko

All photos courtesy of the respective sites.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

{such a} Packing with RedKat

I admit, I am a hopeless over-packer. Yes, I’m the one that packs enough clothing for a world vacation, when I only need enough for 5 days. I will mentally go through the “what if” scenarios, and pack outfits for each and everyone. Safari in Vegas? I’m prepared. Skiing in Honolulu? Check. Let it be said that no matter where I go when I’m out of town, I have just the perfect ensemble tucked away in my suitcase.

As one who over-packs, there are certain strategies that I must employ to ensure that even though my bag may be stuffed to the gills, it won’t weigh more than 50 lbs and cost me any of my fun money. Here are just a few of my pointers:

Roll your clothes - yes, roll them up, military style. You’ll be surprised how much more you can fit into one suitcase. Wrinkles are virtually eliminated, as rolling keeps your clothes from getting crunched. In some instances, proper clothes rolling can result in being able to take a carry-on instead of a checked bag. Score!

Keep a list of your outfits - if your suitcase has more clothes in it than a shopping bag full of Nordstrom’s sale items, you know you’ll have a tough time keeping track of just what’s in it. Make a list. Write down each outfit you put together, and if you are really detailed, assign the outfit to a particular day. This ensures that you’ll have your bases covered, and allows you more room in your suitcase for packing non-essential things (formal gown for a trip to the Alps, anyone?)

Try on everything - try on each and every outfit you plan to take with you. There is nothing worse than laying out a week’s worth...okay more like ten days worth...of clothes, only to arrive at your destination and realize that certain items don’t work together. Trying everything on also ensures that you don’t wind up with any embarrassing moments, like striped undies under white pants, or a black bra and a strapless dress.

The accessories - as you try on all your outfits, add in the accessories you plan to wear with each. If you see opportunity to repurpose a silver pendant with two outfits, do it. Shoes are a major suitcase spacehog, so try to limit yourself to no more than 3 pairs. Nest your shoes inside each other, and line the edges of your suitcase with them, thereby creating a little space in the middle for items like jackets to be packed flat. With necklaces, I like to sort mine out into little cinched jewelry pouches so that they don’t get hopelessly tangled in transit.

Makeup and perfumes
- the TSA regulations have made carrying perfumes, lotions and other feminine sundries a true pain. But, if you smartly pack two of your favorite perfumes rolled inside a shirt, or a pair of socks, you’ll save space and cushion them from breaking. NOTE: This doesn’t work for carry-ons. With a carry-on, your best bet is to head to Sephora and stock up on the free-with-purchase samples. Use your trip to audition new perfumes to find new faves. Hairspray and body lotions can be rolled inside of pant legs, thereby saving space in your makeup bag for lipsticks, eye shadows and moisturizers.

Now, reading this you may think that my goal is to pack as lightly as possible by only taking what I need. Au contraire! By following my pointers, you not only can pack all your favorite “what if” outfits, along with any “maybe I might need it” selections. Not to mention that by smartly organizing your suitcase, you are guaranteed to have room to shop, shop, shop wherever your travels to take you! That is what a true fashionista would do...

Friday, May 22, 2009

{Such A} Fashion No-No, the Vegas Edition

There is nothing better than "don't spotting" when you're out of town. Add to that the mish-mash of people that you see in a place like Las Vegas, and you literally get hours and hours of viewing pleasure. I was in Las Vegas last weekend, and I want to share a few of the big no-nos that I saw one evening, as my friends and I enjoyed cocktails at Cherry Bar at the Red Rock Casino and Resort.

#1: The Look Alikes
Under no circumstances is it ever okay to wear the same dress as your BFF. Ever! A true friend would not only tell you that the dress is tacky, but would never suggest that dressing like the Doublemint Twins is a good idea.

#2 Rare Sighting: The Smiling Whale Tail
I admit, I thought whale tails were long gone, but this fashion faux pas proves that no only are they not out of style, but they've been reinvented with a new twist - an expression! I have to believe that this fashion mistake was not only deliberately made (check the buttons on her top) but is thought to be attractive in a "come hither" kind of way. I'm pretty sure I don't want my undies grinning at people...

Without question I could've taken more pics of the wardrobe-challenged people at Cherry Bar that night. Birks and socks, fanny packs and plenty of women in dresses that didn't fit...but to unduly pick on tourists is mean. Just remember that the mirror is your friend and check yourself before heading out for a night on the town to avoid being a fashion disaster.

For more fun photos of don'ts from around the country (including Las Vegas), visit Glamour Magazine.

Monday, May 11, 2009

{Such A} Lookbook - M641 Clothing

With summer right around the corner, it's never too soon to be trend-watching for the things you need to have in your hot weather wardrobe. Lucky for all fashionistas, M641 has served up their Summer '09 lookbook...and ladies, it's chock-full of breezy, colorful pieces to pop your outfits, but not your budget!

Madras 641, or M641 in fashion shorthand, is the indie designer brand launched by BFFs Subu and Ina. Both partners believe that fashion should be the perfect blend of feminine, sexy and wearable, but most importantly, should be affordable. All pieces by M641 are made of sweetly soft cotton, and each season's collection includes a foundation of tunics, blouses, dresses and shirts. Uniquely identifiable by the beading, embroidery, bold patterns and some of the most unexpectedly ladylike necklines, M641 is designed to be dressed up or down, which makes their collections perfect for work, play or any unexpected invites.

Summer Simpatico is the name of M641's summer collection and every single piece is an example of the uncomplicated elegance of the brand. My favorite piece by far is the Simple Socialite. With an almost empire-like waist, this dress can easily be worn by any woman of any shape. The detailed straps are made of beaded Zari tape, and curve up around the shoulders behind the neck. A row of delicate buttons accent the back, and one simple ruffle layer finishes of the knee-length hem of the dress. The overall look is playfully uptown, and I can easily see wearing this to Bootsy's for cocktails, to the ballet, or paired with a light jacket, to work.

For a top that's not quite a tank, not quite a cami but 100% pretty, the Simple Excellence is perfect for adding a dash of girly-girl to a pair of jeans or slim cut pants. Alternating rows of coins and beads accent the cleavage, and three flirty ruffles extend down from the elasticized under-bust. Since I'm not a shorts kind of girl, I'd opt for jeans, or even a plain black straight-cut skirt and a jean jacket to wear this to work or to a casual outdoor party or a cookout.

I've highlighted only two out of the many fab pieces in the Summer Simpatico collection. For more information on the company, to download your own copy of the M641 Summer Lookbook, and to buy your very own stuff, visit M641's site and shop their online boutique. Locally, M641 has been spotted at Mustard Seed, and likely will appear at your favorite shop soon. Follow Ina on Twitter (@M641) to keep current on the happenings with this fast-growing brand.

Friday, April 17, 2009

{Such A} Winner of the Redkat Contest and Krimson by Kwame Trunk Show Details

Congratulations to 5chw4r7z, the winner of the first-ever Redkat Contest. Bob wins a lunch with myself and Kwame Jackson, season one finalist on The Apprentice. We will be dining at McCormick and Schmicks downtown. 5chw4r7z selected the Malibu as his favorite tie, and says,

"The blue plaid just make me think spring, short sleeve shirts and afternoon drinks downtown."

Even if you didn't win the contest, you can still meet Kwame in-person and view his entire collection of elegant silk ties. Local clothier Corwyn Apparel is hosting a trunk show featuring Krimson by Kwame. Attendees are encouraged to bring a gently-used necktie for donation to Career Gear, a national charity that helps outfit poor and underprivileged men obtain business apparel. Each donor will receive $10 off their entire purchase by bringing in an unwanted tie. A portion of all sales from the evening will also go to benefit the charity. So come to the trunk show to meet Kwame and buy yourself (or the significant man in your life) a gorgeous piece of neckware.

When: April 23, 2009 at 5:30 p.m.

Where: The Bankers Club of Cincinnati
511 Walnut St # 3000
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 651-3660

Cost: Free

Thank you to everyone who entered my contest. I love seeing your feedback and I enjoy knowing that you find my tips, tricks and fashion trend watching interesting. I welcome any suggestions as to fashion and beauty-related topics you'd like to see on Being fashionable isn't always as simple as it seems - believe it or not this Kat has had her fair share of don'ts - but as the memorable ad slogan goes, "You've come a long way, baby." Email me directly or leave a comment below.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

{Such A} All tied up and the first Redkat Contest!

Recently I was questioned by a male friend about the right way for a man to coordinate a tie with a dress shirt. My first answer was, "Easy. Solid shirt and a patterned tie. End of story." My friend was unimpressed with my answer, which spurred me to wonder...could there actually be more to it than that? Happily (and you'll see why at the end of this post) I was half-wrong with my simple answer. Yes, solid/print is a win but what about stripes, plaids, prints? Here are a few basic rules I've crafted based on my research.

• White shirt -anything can go with a white shirt. It's the same idea as a blank canvas...any color of tie will work.
• Color match - if you have a blue shirt, go for a navy tie, yellow shirt, darker yellow tie -- you get the idea. If you go tonal, you can't go wrong.
• Solid shirt/Print tie - think about the complimentary colors that you know of - a blue shirt with a crimson tie, a creme shirt with a brown tie, a pink shirt with a red, blue or yellow tie. If you aren't sure what are complimentary colors, try taking a look at color wheel.

Now we get into what I used to think was the complicated matching, with print shirts and print ties. But really, it's a simple process.
• Striped shirt - stand back from the shirt and determine what color is the main color. This is the color that needs to be most prevalent in your patterned tie. You also need to make sure your pattern works with stripes. If you happen to have a striped tie with a striped shirt, follow the ratio of 2:1 and go for a tie that has stripes twice the width of your shirt stripes.
• Plaid shirt - same as with a striped shirt, you will need to step back and evaluate which color is the main color in the shirt. You'll want to pick a tie with this same prevalent color. If you choose a pattern of dots or boxes for your tie, you want to make sure that they are larger than the check pattern on the shirt.

I'm sure you're wondering why I'm spending an inordinate amount of time talking about men's ties. I am holding my first blog contest, and the topic is ties! See, I told you there was a happy reason for this post.

Kwame Jackson, former contestant from season one of the Apprentice has designed a line of men's neckties called Krimson By Kwame. Polkadots, paisley and gorgeous stripes -- these ties are serious neck-candy for men. Kwame will be in Cincinnati to show off his ties as part of a trunk show on April 23rd with local clothier Corwyn Apparel.

But, if you'd rather just "do lunch" with Kwame, then enter my contest. Simply visit Krimson by Kwame and pick your favorite tie. Vote using the comments at the bottom of the post. Include the name of the tie and the reason why it's your fave. The winner of the contest will meet and have lunch with Kwame, as well as be invited to the trunk show on April 23rd at the Banker's Club.

My fave? The San Francisco. Why? It's an elegant dark red paisley tie that I would absolutely figure out a way to wear...I'm thinking maybe as a sash to dress up a simple shift? In any case, it's my favorite Krimson by Kwame tie -- what's yours? Contest ends on April 17th!

An update a day keeps the (fill in the blank) away! WE Lead today, so it will be a great day.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

{Such A} Recessionista Shop n' Swap

This past Sunday, despite the grey dreary day, I ventured north to the wilds of West Chester for the Cincy Chic "Recessionista Shop n' Swap". Held at the West Chester Conference Center, the event was billed as a fabulous day of fashion, shopping, games and prizes. Armed with four items marked for giveaway, in I went to try my hand at swapping.

First, a few words about my items. I chose to take only four things, thinking that if I took too much, check-in would take forever, and if I took too few, I'd have no swapping power with the rest of the recessionistas. My four items were chosen because 1. they were fashionable and 2. they didn't fit anymore. My fingers were crossed that two dresses, a white button-down and a cream tulip skirt would amount to moola for me.

Score! I traded my items in and received $100 in swap cash. Swap cash, for those not initiated in the lingo, are dollars that you spend strictly on items in a clothing swap. Donna Spiegel from the Snooty Fox evaluated my items, and initially offered me $80 in swap cash, but then upped it to $100 when she noticed that one of the sundresses was a Tori Burch. Yes, I swapped a Tori Burch -- see #2 above as to why.

With my cash in hand, I started browsing the items on the rack. Snooty Fox volunteers were busy tagging and hanging all the swap clothing.The items were supposedly hung by size on specially created racks, but after a few minutes I could tell that the semblance of sizing order wasn't going to last...I watched one rather large woman take an armful of clothes and move them from the size 14 end of the rack, down to the zeros. Above the clothing, shelves held a variety of accessories including shoes, hats and purses.

Selection varied throughout the course of the day, but for the most part it was so-so. As Amy Storer-Scalia pointed out, "For a free event, you're going to get all types of clothes". I did find items that I wanted, but ironically I got them from a friend who also came to the swap. Here is what I wound up with:
1. Miu Miu Dress
2. Forever 21 black/white cap sleeve shirt
3. Red satin cami with white lace inset at neck
4. Black/white spaghetti strap top
5. White House/Black Market Black Pinstripe Pants
6. Forever 21 Aqua tank with front lace panel
7. An ugly black Coldwater Creek short sleeve shirt (see below for the why)
8. A fab pair of crimson platform heels (DID NOT FIT!)

Outside of the swap, there were oodles of great clothing, jewelry and handbag vendors. My personal fave, Missy DeGroot was there from DeGroot Handbags with her purses, as were Miche Bags and Paolo. I know I saw at least three tables loaded with sparkly jewelry - necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Finally, the clothing. Snooty Fox of course represented with treasures culled from their area stores, but other local boutiques included Splurge, Miss Martha's Dress Shop, Missy and Jack and my new favorite -- M641. I had the pleasure of chatting with Ina (@M641 on Twitter) who is clearly going to become a good friend...not only is she extremely friendly and knowledgable, but her fashion advice is top-notch. At her request, I purchased a rather ugly, shapeless black Coldwater Creek short sleeve shirt. Pin a brooch her, add a swatch of fabric across the middle and voila! You have a beautiful spring shirt. I would've never thought to dress up the shirt to make it wearable and cute. Hopefully Ina will be able to offer tips to Redkatblonde readers again soon.

Rounding out the list of who's who at the Recessionista Shop n' Swap were Kelly Long, a certified financial planner and Kristen Monroe of Qfact Market Research. Kelly shared frugalista beauty tips including asking your stylist to touch up only your regrowth if you get your hair colored, "I only ask her to touch up my roots when they start to sparkle!" Kristen was there to find respondants for one of her market research surveys -- each of which pays you for your time. Sign up. Make money. Go shop!

At 4pm we were treated to a fashion show emceed by Constance from WB64, and DJ'ed by Brian from Q102. Each model strutted an outfit and handbag supplied by a participating Shop n' Swap vendor. I saw lots of cute things, but yikes! Some of the items were, well, total splurges and not recessionista at all. Me being me, I still loved them and will probably still purchase them. Clearly I'll be doing a few market research studies to pay for the cute hoodies I saw from Elizabeth's Closet!

My take? Go to shop and swap events, and go often. Take your middle of the road items for swap and prepare to find good wardrobe building basics, as well as a few attention-getting pieces. If you can't find a shop and swap locally, grab a bunch of girlfriends, buy a bottle or three of wine and trade clothes with each other. Everyone comes out ahead!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Monday! - Coffee, check. Email, in process, rest of the day, hopefully will go as planned.

Friday, March 27, 2009

new on - Bold Fusion 2009

{Such A} Bold Fusion: My Take

Bold Fusion 2009: Changing the Game

This was the theme for the annual YP summit held yesterday. Hundreds of young professionals, myself included, attended the half-day event. The focus included a closer look at Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to examine how social media can be leveraged not only in business, but to create more awareness of Cincinnati.

Held at the Aronoff this year in the Jarson-Kaplan Theatre, Bold Fusion appeared to be off to a great start judging by the crowd at the sign-in table. After registering, we were encouraged to visit one of four video booths set up in the lobby to record messages for and YouTube. While some people may have been hesitant, yours truly suffers no stage fright, and I gladly recorded my message at the booth manned by Game Day Communications' Jackie Reau.

After opening remarks from both Ryan Rybolt (President, Infintech) and Ellen van der Horst (President, Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce) and we got underway with our first speaker, Rich Boehne (CEO, E.W. Scripps). Rich did a great job presenting his take on the diversification of media, and demonstrated how traditional media is learning to embrace social media vehicles as a way to continue to educate and inform the public. My fave quote? "I feel like Glen Campbell opening for Pearl Jam!" Indeed...Rich alluded that at 50+ years old, he is having to adapt and change to the changes in the media landscape rapidly.

Next up, Mike Boehmer (Senior PR Specialist - Hamilton County Jobs and Family Services). I was a little suprised to see him on the speaking agenda...I found myself wondering what he would be able to contribute. Little did I know that HCJFS has done a fantastic job utilizing social media tools, and with a mere $1,500, has been able to run a $2 billion dollar organization's marketing and public relations.

Finally, Kendra Ramirez (President, Sales Konnect) took her turn at the podium, and talked at length about leveraging your business via social media. Whether via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, she encouraged us to use these tools to "engage your audience, not broadcast information to them."

My favorite part of Bold Fusion came via "two nobodies from nowhere" - brothers Joe and Dave Herbert from Batesville, IN who won the Doritos 2009 Crash the Super Bowl Ad contest. They had great rapport and kept a running banter going as they explained how a loss in the 2007 Doritos contest propelled them to enter again in '09, armed with every single social media vehicle they could use to encourage people to vote for their commercial. Persistance paid off, and not only did they win the Doritos contest, but they took top honors in the 21st Annual USA TODAY Ad Meter contest.

Before coming to a close, the Herbert brothers screened the winners from the HYPE UP Cincinnati video contest. Of all the winners shown, I liked Tag! and the OTR movie short by Andrew Money best.

Overall, my take on Bold Fusion was that while the info was good, the format was lacking. I went in expecting to have a lively interactive session filled with great insights, and instead, I sat and listened to people speak. I would've loved to have more direct engagement with the speakers, or at very least, with the other attendees. The other thing that struck me was that as a social media connisseur, I expected to see some familar faces (Kevin Dugan, Michelle Lentz, Daniel Johnson Jr.) and I couldn't believe that nary a one of them were participating. Maybe next year?

Much to be said for HYPE (Cincinnati Enquirer)

Bold Fusion (CIN Weekly)

Social Media Playbook (HYPE)

Good morning everyone! TGIF!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

{Such A} Redkat Review: Sally Hansen Color Quick Nail Pen

I'm very particular about my nails. At any given moment, I have a bottle of nailpolish sitting on my desk, one in my laptop bag and yet another in the glove compartment in my car. I have been known to paint my nails after getting in my car, fastening my seatbelt and starting it, just so that they can dry on the way to the office. I'm sure I've amused many a driver as I've gone down the expressway, hanging one hand, and then the other out the window to speed the dry time. My motto is, no chipped nails!

Flipping through an issue of Glamour one evening, I was intrigued to see an ad for Sally Hansen's Color Quick Fast Dry Nail Color Pen. Having tried several of these so called quicky manicure pens in the past, I didn't have high hopes for this one, but finding myself with a set of chipped nails this past Friday morning, I decided to give Sally's Nail Color Pen a try. A quick stop at Walgreens and I was the proud owner of a Black Cherry# 13 Nail Color Pen. I eagerly drove to the office, grabbed a cup of coffee and settled in to my chair to put this pen to the test. Let's just say the product performed remarkably mediocre.

The positives:
1. The nail color does go on quickly.
2. I'm on day three of my quickie manicure, and my nails are mostly sans chips.
3. The polish itself didn't smell nearly as strong as my OPI polish, so it was easier to paint covertly at my desk.
4. The pen isn't messy as a whole, so no worries about wayward nailpolish spots on my desk or on my laptop.
5. I didn't wind up with a lot of color outside my nail bed, so no need for nailpolish remover touch ups.

The negatives:
1. The color is streaky. No one is going to look at my nails and assume that I got a professional manicure. I tried two coats and couldn't get all the streaks out.
2. The click and paint mechanism is wonky. I had to click repeatedly to get the color to flow into the pen, and when it did, it came out unevenly.
3. It's hard to paint with the brush, so you can't actually paint all the way to the cuticles. Considering that I want to elongate my nails with color since I've got small hands, this was a noticeable negative.
4. The brush on this pen is incredibly coarse, so it's impossible to get truly even application.

On the whole, Sally Hansen's Color Quick Pen is a great option for those times when you need to freshen up your nails on the run, but I wouldn't recommend it for anything more lasting than a few days. I'll hang on to my Black Cherry #13 for those "in case of emergency" moments, but keep "I'm Not Really A Waitress" for my at-home manicures.

Redkat Score:

2.5 Kats

Monday, March 9, 2009

{Such A} Six savvy spring updates for your wardrobe

Don’t want to spend a small fortune updating your wardrobe for spring? Try these simple tips to have you looking fashionista fab without sending you into a debt spiral.

1. Work with color stories – The hot colors for spring are fuchsia, black and white. Try picking pieces with classic lines in these colors to save on cash. Or, if you have these pieces in your current wardrobe, pull them out and use them. Resist buying trend-specific things like harem pants (hello MC Hammer) or voluminous skirts. You won’t get the same kind of use out of them.

2. Oversize your necklaces – Large chunky necklaces were prominent on almost every runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion week. A statement necklace instantly updates any outfit.

3. Bold color purse – Bright, bold colors are so in for spring and an easy way to incorporate this is by carrying a purse in fire engine red, yellow…any color will add a pop to your outfit and make it look fresh.

4. Boho scarf- The Bohemian look is back, and rather than buy tons of gypsy-esque clothes, pick up a colorful, fringy boho scarf. Generally made of lighter weight cotton, you’ll get an easy accent that is trend-on, and not too heavy to wear when it’s warm.

5. Big bangle bracelets – Arm candy, and not in the “hot man” sense, will easily let you update your look. Layer on several for impact.

6. Oversize sunglasses – No matter what you have on, adding a pair of oversized shades tops it off and gives you a couture edge. Think color, and maybe consider purple or dark red for your pair.

Most local boutiques will carry a great line of trendy accessories at reasonable prices, and don’t be afraid to check their sale bins for treasures. Clearance racks are your friend too, so use a little imagination and search through them with color in mind. Sometimes all a piece will need is a clasp or button and voila, you’ve got a true find.

Friday, February 13, 2009

(Such A) Passion for Fashion

Passion for Fashion
From a casual night with the girls to a formal affair with your man, use these fashionista tips to ensure that your Valentine's Day attire is nothing less than chic.


No matter if your happily hitched or single and searching, use these Cupid couture tips to make everyone fall in love with your wooing Valentine's Day wardrobe.

Cupid may be stupid, casual doesn't have to mean throwing on an old sweater and jeans to toast your favorite Hallmark holiday. Instead, try dressing it up a bit by adding a romantic-inspired ruffled blouse in fiery red to your best-fitting dark denim. Red is generally a universally flattering color, so unlike its popular pale-pink Valentine color counterpart, you can wear it and not be completely washed out.

For added pop, layer on a big, bright glittery necklace with bold gemstones and brass or gold links. Try "Millie's Eating Contest" by designer Rachel Leigh (yes, that's the name of the necklace!). You can find the necklace at Madeira's The Wardrobe. Keep the rest of your jewelry to a minimum, and finish off your look with either strappy black sandals (no snow) or high-impact, pointy boots (snow).

Take your sexy self to Bar Louie and celebrate with their "Top Gun"-themed event. If you're really inspired, add aviators a la Kelly McGillis. Or, ruffle some feathers with a cream ruffle Geren Ford dress with a black bow cinch waist, also at The Wardrobe, when you drop in on all 020909FASHION2.jpgthe singletons enjoying the annual CincyUpdate Jilted Lovers Party.

If a formal date is on tap for V-day, guarantee your man's gaze never leaves you by taking the little black dress to the next level. Instead of a plain black dress, try a white dress with strong, black geometric stripes and patterns. The majority of designers at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week showed black on white dressy looks in everything from pantsuits to cocktail dresses.

Add a pashmina wrap for warmth, and instead of jewelry, consider carrying an oversized statement purse. Clifton's Mustard Seed boutique has an authentic Hermes Birkin Bag for sale right now (originally $60K, a relative steal for $15K), but if Hermes is a bit rich for your budget, local designer Missy DeGroot creates true arm candy with her bold purses in a rainbow of colors and styles. Choose a bag in fire-engine red to add a splash of color to your ensemble. Now that you're glam to go, make reservations to see the Cincinnati Men's Chorus perform "That's Amore" at Below Zero lounge…a night complete with appetizers and sparkling wine .

Romance is in the air and all over Cincinnati, restaurants are rolling out 020909FASHION.jpgthe red carpets for couples seeking to enjoy a candlelit dinner date to celebrate Valentine's Day. If you're in the mood for love, opt for a feminine and sexy dress in a soft fabric. Magenta is a great transition color from winter to spring, and in a pretty fabric like silk or satin, is so versatile. Snap Boutique in Hyde Park carries a sweet dress, perfect for dinner dates. Keep it soft by pairing it with either long, silver chain necklaces, or one elegant pearl necklace. Slip on a pair of matching heels, and you'll have an elegant look worthy of new fashion icon Michelle Obama. Brown Dog Cafe in Blue Ash is offering a special love-themed menu for Valentine's Day, but be sure to make a reservation as seating is extremely limited!

From a night out with your best girlfriends to a date with your sweetheart, this Valentine's Day dress to impress in fine fashions from any of Cincinnati's chic boutiques, and be ready for any type of date that may come your way.

Friday, January 30, 2009

(Such a) Interview with Patty Brisben

I was fortunate enough to be hired by Cincy Chic to interview Patty Brisben, CEO of Pure Romance. Below is the interview...enjoy!

Making Sex Sell

Love is in the air, and no one knows the business of love better than Patty Brisben, CEO of Pure Romance. See what's new with her booming business and get Patty's tips for celebrating Valentine's Day with your sweetheart.

Cincy Chic: To start, what do you consider the highlight of your career?

Patty Brisben: The highlight of my career has been the ability to empower women and give them permission to comfortably explore their bodies, intimacy and sexual health. Women should demand better relationships in and out of the bedroom, and I'm so excited that I have been able to contribute to this movement.
Cincy Chic: How has Pure Romance grown? Any plans to expand internationally?

Brisben: Pure Romance is not officially international, though we do have consultants who are working overseas in countries throughout the world. We also have plans to expand internationally in the next five years, but for now we are focusing on reinforcing and expanding the markets we have built within the states. Pure Romance is projecting to do over $80 million in retail sales in 2009.
Cincy Chic: We'd love to hear about your fun and interesting experiences developing and naming new products! Care to share?

Brisben: I work with an amazing team of mostly women when developing and naming our products. This works out well because this primarily reflects our target market. We make sure our products are always tested before they ever hit the warehouse shelves, and we do this by presenting potential items to our 200-plus board members (who are the top consultants in the company).

Naming the products is really so much fun, and we are lucky to have a creative staff. We include everyone in the process from executive staff to packers and pullers in operations.

Cincy Chic: With Valentine's Day right around the corner, tell us how Pure Romance celebrates the "love" holiday.

Brisben: Back in the late '80s, early '90s when I was a consultant, I had so many requests for parties around Valentine's Day I just couldn't fulfill all of them. I didn't want to play favorites either, so I decided to do an "Open House" in a local conference room so that everyone could attend and purchase products there. It was so popular it became a tradition every year and typically would take place the weekend before Valentine's Day.

To this day, the tradition continues with Pure Romance's Valentine's Day Warehouse Sale. It's the only time of the year we open our doors to the public, and both men and women are able to shop straight from the warehouse shelves as well as ask questions to consultants monitoring the floor. Couples love this since men only shop at and our parties are for women only. This year the sale runs Feb. 6 to Feb. 14 from noon to 8 p.m. every day except Valentine's Day, which is 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Cincy Chic: It's Valentine's Day: Where do you go, what do you do? Any local recommendations for a date?

Brisben: Instead of following the crowd and making reservations at the local restaurant, I would suggest picking out a new recipe the couple has never tried and tell them to cook it together on Valentine's Day. Cooking can be sexy and fun, and if you've ever seen the film "9 1/2 Weeks" you'll find there are some very creative ways to come up with dessert!
Cincy Chic: What are some of your tips for longevity as a couple?

Brisben: One of my best pieces of advice is to always communicate. If a couple decides to start a family, I always remind them to dedicate as much time and energy toward their children as one another. Too often couples become consumed with the day-to-day responsibilities of raising kids and forget to nurture their own relationship. One of the best gifts you can give your children is setting a positive example and showing them their parents love and care about each another.
Cincy Chic: What's the best advice for a couple to resolve an argument?

Brisben: Couples should set the grounds for an argument before they even have their first fight. Conflict is inevitable in relationships, so it's important that couples agree they will always respect one another, never hit "below the belt" and fight fair.
Cincy Chic: Finally, can we get a list of your favorite Pure Romance products?

1. Pure Romance Between the Sheets is my first book. I took the 25 years of experience I've had as a Consultant and CEO/founder of Pure Romance. It's truly a comprehensive look at intimacy, including everything from sexual health issues to communication in and out of the bedroom.

2. We're at the height of the cold, and one of the best ways to boost the immune system is through massage. Couple the Pure Romance's soy-based Burning Desire candle with the Hot Heart Massager to simulate a hot stone massage in the comfort of your home. Massage has also been noted to have therapeutic qualities and helps to open the doors of communication between couples.

3. I developed Ex-T-Cee more than 16 years ago when I first started Pure Romance, and it's still one of our top sellers to this day! We're definitely living in a world of low libido, and this topical arousal cream is a wonderful way to enhance foreplay and intimacy for women in the bedroom.

4. The Jelly Tool Belt is a wonderful couples toy that"'levels the playing field" between men and women. Men are like microwaves and women are like crock-pots. Let's face it: Women often need a little more time to get in the mood! You should always pair c-rings with a creamy lubricant like Lickity Stiff.

5. Sometimes it can be arousing to put all of your focus on your partner. A great product for this is the Super Stretch. It's a very versatile product that can be used alone or incorporated into lovemaking. Many women actually will pack it in their boyfriend's/husband's suitcase when he will be away on a business trip. Just be sure to always pair with a creamy lubricant like Whipped.

6. 7th Heaven is an amazing bedroom toy for women that can be used alone or with a partner! It's a great product for women who are exploring their own pleasure points, and it helps them to better communicate those hot spots to their partner. With seven different speeds/pulsations it offers a unique pleasurable experience every time!

7. I like to think of Bling Bling as a bedroom toy that is literally a piece of art in the bedroom! Encrusted with rhinestones, it lives up to its name and is sure to deliver a lot more pleasure than your every day piece of jewelry! All of our toys should be used with lubricants, and in this case I would recommend Pure Romance's Sweet Seduction.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Such a gem...

Reposted from my article which ran in this week's Cincy Chic issue:

Written by RedKat, 12-01-2009 15:15

Glendale’s Gem
From designer selections to a wide range of sizes, this local boutique has the birthday party dress you’ve been looking for.


Tucked away in historic Glendale, Bella Donna specializes in helping budding and seasoned socialites, mothers of the bride and more find beautiful dresses for any “dress up” occasion. Owner Donna Wesselman channels her lifelong passion for fashion into a shop that bursts with eveningwear in an array of colorful fabrics, elaborate ruffles and swirls and stunning beading.

Bella Donna, which celebrates 10 years of business in February, sets itself apart from other Cincinnati boutiques by carrying exclusive eveningwear designers such as Marisa Baratelli, Siri and Nicole Miller. Pretty and feminine dresses are displayed through the two-story house that the shop calls home.

Another unique aspect of Bella Donna is the range of sizes available on-hand in the shop. Dresses can be tried on and purchased in sizes 2 to 16, with special order sizes available (just be sure to allow 8 to 12 weeks for delivery). “Women are pleased to know that they can come in to try things on, and I have their size,” Wesselman says.

For fashionistas with packed social calendars — maybe you’re off to a wedding, to Zoofari or even to a Presidential inauguration — Bella Donna has eveningwear that trends from dressy casual to belle of the ball. “We even sold five or six gowns for Bush’s inauguration!” Wesselman says.

No matter the occasion, Bella Donna’s customer service is the key to finding THE perfect dress. Once she’s established the date of the event, followed by any specific requests for colors or style issues. Wesselman, or another one of her five fabulous associates, will walk with you through the store, explaining each line as to their look and feel — long or short, soft, flowy, structured, ruffles — every line has unique detailing that appeals.

Once a few standouts are selected it’s time to try things on — or “Let’s go play dress-up” as Wesselman playfully says. “Every woman is different,” Wesselman says. “As I see things on, I can assess the fitting and help her determine what looks best on her.” In many cases, dresses can be ordered in alternate colors, and in some, details such as beads or trim can be either added or omitted.

In 2009, formalwear trends will not vary wildly from ‘08; however, you can count on seeing plenty of strong dark colors season-round on the racks at Bella Donna. In addition, prints will make a comeback with florals, paisleys and ikat on long gowns, a la last year’s maxi dress. The empire waist (pronounced om-peer) is still prominent in many lines, as is the sheath dress. Wesselman carefully combs the fashion markets for designs and styles that work for her shop while still embracing a classic contemporary feel.

To get a better idea of what next year’s lines will hold, consider checking out a trunk show at Bella Donna: Feb. 5 to 7 (Marissa Baratelli) and March 5 to 7 (Daymor and Damianou). (A trunk show is a preview event featuring a designer’s entire upcoming line. It’s strictly to view and to special order the day of the show). Jan. 8-10 Siri, Feb. 5-7th – Marissa Baratelli, Mar.5-7th – Daymor and Damianou.)

Next time you’re seeking a dress for an upcoming black tie/social event, visit Bella Donna and find a gorgeous dress that will definitely cause heads to turn!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Such a...25 things about me list!

My friend Kate tagged me on Facebook with a "25 things about me" list. I've posted mine there, but in the spirit of the New Year, I thought I'd post my list here too. Enjoy!

1. My natural hair color is blonde, although I haven't been a blonde in years. I've been red, brown, pink (specifically Manic Panic Rubine) and dark purple.
2. I am afraid of unsecured heights which made visiting the Grand Canyon very scary.
3. I wasn't allowed to go to the very first Lollapalooza b/c Mom said I was too young. And because of that, I never got to see my faves Siouxsie and The Banshees perform live.
4. I got caught skipping school once, but my mom covered for me so that I didn't get in trouble.
5. My cat Gabe has multiple nicknames depending on the nationality of his mood - Chubb, Chubberific Chubberino, the Great Chublinsky, get the idea.
6. Growing up we had a dog named Feedo...which was my mom's way of saying Fido. She's from Finland and thought that's how it was pronounced.
7. I am guilty of over-committing. I am such a joiner that even if I have no spare time, I always volunteer to help.
8. I'm pretty fanatical about my fingernails. I keep them painted at all times, even if I have to do touch-ups at work, in the car or while I'm having breakfast.
9. I love to garden. I'm a trial and error gardener but I still love seeing the results.
10. I wanted to be writer when I grew up, got a degree in Communication instead, and just recently circled back to start freelance writing, as well as writing for my blog.
11. I don't believe it's possible to have too many friends.
12. When I'm driving and I get road rage, I yell at other drivers...with my windows rolled up so that they can't hear me.
13. I have issues with the texture of certain foods -- applesauce is icky!
14. Speaking of food, I love Thai and Indian. Yum-o.
15. I am terrible at cutting vegetables, so I'm guilty of buying the pre-cut stuff off the salad bar at the grocery store.
16. Every room in my house is a different color - orange, red, blue, green and yellow...
17. Someday I do want to have kids.
18. I love to shop. Seriously. I have to be careful to not becomng a spend-a-holic.
19. I want to travel to all the continents some day. So far, I've hit North America and Europe.
20. My favorite color is red, although up until recently I thought is was green.
21. If I had to pick a favorite drink it would be a toss-up between coffee and vodka/cran.
22. Recently I learned of the phenomenon "ghost ride your whip" and it had me giggling for days.
23. One day I want to own my own business.
24. I can't fathom cruelty to animals. ASPCA commercials make me cry.
25. Halloween is my favorite holiday, followed by St. Patrick's Day.

Tag! You're it. Leave your list in the comments if you want to share.
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