Friday, March 21, 2008

Cool Site of the Week: CARAT* Jewelry

Ok, so if you know me you know one of my weaknesses is jewelry. I was blessed enough to receive the engagement/wedding ring of my dreams. Three years later I still look at it often in awe of how much I love it. (Don't even get me started on my present commemorating Cora's birth).

But, that doesn't stop me from loving jewelry and fawning over it in stores and magazines. Most of the time I'm content with something "sparkly" from a discount store that is real only in the metaphysical sense. Something that I don't worry about losing or hurting since paying $50 to replace it isn't such a big deal.

I do find myself longing for something more at times however. The practical side of me sees no need for Liz Taylor quantities of rare jewels, but the "hey I'm now a 30-something professional" makes shopping at Claire's a bit tacky. Enter this week's CSOTW: CARAT*.

This online jewelry boutique will make you feel like you just stepped into Harry Winston with a valid lottery check. All of the jewelry is costume, but I almost hesitate to refer to it that way. It is ridiculously high quality. This is no paste or plastic gem hawker. While still a small step down from Moissanite in the "fool the eye" category, its also a step down from that gem in price. Rings will still run you from $200 - $1000 and necklaces can get upwards of $5,000. But the identical ring in Moissanite would be 5x that and diamonds.... don't even ask.

While you should absolutely look at the classic solitaires or eternity bands, make sure to check out the fancies and cocktail selections (which I find sooo much more fun). Mother's Day, Anniversaries, Birthdays ... anydays!! Make your list, check it twice and send it on to Hubby. He gets the joy of giving you something you will L-O-V-E while making himself happy with the price. Win-Win. And when someone asks you if its "real" - you can say "of course" (at least in the metaphysical sense...)

CSOTW: CARAT* Jewelers

Some of my favs:
Champagne Asscher
Carat* Flanders Border Set
Classic Cushion Border Set

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Weight Watchers Weigh In: Week Seven

You all know just how much of an idiot I made of myself two weekends ago when we went back to hubby's hometown. (if you missed it, or need a refresher on my crap binge, click here) Last week was a "dark week" (in more ways than one actually) meaning our team leader was not here so we did not have our normal meeting.

I had grand delusions (prior to the binge weekend) of losing 4lbs total during these two weeks. After the mess I made, I only had hope of losing SOMETHING. So today was a day of reckoning.

The good news is that I at least went in the right direction ... .6 lbs. I'll take it. All of my pals actually gained weight these past two weeks in multiple pound increments. One ditched the weigh in altogether (you know who you are, Pete).

The better news is that I am currently wearing a pair of pants I haven't worn since before I was married.

The best news though is that I am now firmly in the middle of the weight range for my height. I am in the smack middle of my ideal BMI range. I would like to keep going and get off a few more pounds. Actually more than that, I need to cave in and tone up what I have. If I toned up just a couple key areas I would feel pretty proud to rock a swimming suit this year.

Originally when I signed up for WW I wanted to be a skinny minny - the exact thing I now see is so ridiculous based on photos like the ones shown in yesterday's post. Now I just want to look and feel healthy. That is my new goal. An ideal BMI and weight, some muscle tone, a healthy cardio-vascular system, and the energy that goes with it all. I'm well on my way... and I'm pretty proud to say it!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Times They Ain't A Changin

Ok so we've gotten a lot of lip service the past year or two about allowing women to look like women - curves and all. Tabloids constantly rail against the super skinny socialites (no pun intended - well kinda). Magazines laud women like America Fererra and Jennifer Hudson for looking fabulous naturally. Shows like The Swan have gone the way of the Dodo. Even the The Spanish Association of Fashion Designers banned any model with a BMI of less than 18 from Fashion Week last year.

So why isn't it working? Why are women still made to feel inferior if they are not stick thin? Why is skinny so celebrated? Why is Queen Latifah's diet the lead story on Inside Edition? Why do tabloids run whole issues on spotting celebrity cellulite? Why aren't we seeing real figures on America's Next Top Model (except for one token each season) or in Vogue.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think being clinically overweight or obese is healthy, beautiful or good. But I also don't think that turning yourself into a living skeleton is any better. There has to be some middle ground here folks.

If you don't think that things are as serious as I make them to be, just take a look at the following. The first photo is a model/starlette on the red carpet for a Vegas club opening. What on Earth could make her think this is a good look? Wanna count her ribs along with me? The dress just HANGS off her frame. But yet she got photographed and shown:

Ok so you say, "Hey that's one misguided model who was in Sin City for a big bash. Mainstream America isn't buying into this." Really? Take a look at the photo in my JCrew email today and tell me that middle American retailers aren't still on this train? Just look at the poor girl's elbows and knees - not to mention her waist that almost isn't there. And what's the caption? "Covet and Collect". A look to covet apparently.

This is what our kids are supposed to aspire to? Now those of you that knew me as a kid - or even through school - may wonder what right I have to complain. Yes I was a rail - I was skinny and gangly and bony. The difference is, I wasn't celebrated, lauded, admired or fawned over because of it. I didn't knock myself out to get that way and would have given anything for some curves. However even all of that said, I very much remember thinking that if I ever got over 120lbs (on my 5'9" frame) that I would just kill myself.

I don't want my daughter to grow up thinking the world ends at size 4.

I wish I knew what women could do to stop this insane beauty myth. But I'm at a loss. All I can do is pledge to raise my daughter to be happy with being healthy - whatever that is on her. Its a tall order considering all the other propaganda she'll be hit with daily, but one of the most important lessons I could ever teach - and I'll take that role on wholeheartedly.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hot Mama - Let the Sun Shine In!

Ok so we all know that swimsuit shopping is one of Dante's circles of hell. (See this post for further explanation)

Luckily I have found the antidote. Normally I would save this and make it Friday's CSOTW, but it was too good not to share asap. Moms rejoice for I have found swimwear that is modest enough for those still working to get back to Heidi Klum status (ahem) yet fashionable enough for those of us that feel like we should be Heidi Klum. (ahem ahem). Its an Australian line called Jets.

You can find it online here: at Swimwear Boutique

Here is the actual website that will show stockists if you are lucky enough to be in a major US city: JETS by Jessika Allen

For Bikini lovers, the Bon Voyage is reminiscent of pin-ups from the 40s-50's and built to fit figures from that era as well!

For tweeners (those who can't bear the bikini but don't wanna go whole hog just yet), the Lustre is perf, showing off skin but hiding that key tummy behind fabulous ruching that camouflages like nobody's business.

For the "one piece or bust" crowd, the Soleil and the Orient are hands down the most perfect combo of sexy, classy and conservative that I have ever seen. The Orient offers slightly more coverage in the back while the Soleil offers moderate backend cover. The patterns and cut of both are works of art.

So take heart Mommy friends - even with summer coming there is no need to start thinking of grandma-like coverage options just yet. Head over and check out the Jets line and I'll bet, like me, you'll find your summer love!