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Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Ones That Entertain

For most people at TCNJ, last Monday was the final day of freedom before school started. For me, it was much more important.

I saw Britney Spears live in Madison Square Garden!!!

My adventure started with a train ride to NYC with my dear friend Kristen, where I fell asleep while still holding my book open!!

In case you didn't know, Brit Brit was running a contest that day where she was giving away 2 front row tickets to the person who could find her hiding place in NYC. She was revealing clues via Twitter during our train ride. Well, long story short, we knew her location since her 2nd clue but were on the train and unable to go to the M&M Store where her clown was hidden. So I RAN to the store from the train station and got there just as Brit pulled away.... Everyone was still excited and looking at the pics they just took. I just gave dirty looks to everyone and walked back to MSG.
Turns out the whole thing was kinda dumb, since a whole crowd was gathered outside the store and the 'hidden clown' just arrived, picked a random girl out of the audience and she won. Booo.

Anyway, and on the way back, I spotted this:
Parsons (aka, Project Runway's past seasons), Britney Spears AND McDonalds all in one location?? Perfection.

So we got some Sweet Tea and waited 'til showtime. We got to MSG and I posed with this poster.

And Kristen posed with NYC.

We got in our seats, which were better than I thought! I thought we wouldn't be able to make out the people on stage, but that wasn't the case at all. I could see Britney (and her bad hair extensions) clearly from my seat!!

So after like 17 opening acts (that were equally dumb AKA not Kelly Clarkson, P!nk, Taylor Swift, Leona Naess, Syesha, or someone with talent AKA Christina of the Barge/One Call/Jordin Sparks), Brit finally took the stage! Here's a video from one of my favorite numbers, "If U Seek Amy."

Needless to say, I loved the show! I really wish she would just SING (she could have at least sung "Everytime" since it didn't involve any dancing), but you go to a Britney show knowing that you're really there for the dancing/spectacle and not the singing. The 'circus' element was really cool. Some of those performers were crazy! As for the setlist, I wish she did "Unusual You" instead of "Get Naked (I Got a Plan)" but I liked most of the setlist.

Considering her most recent VMA performance (it wasn't that bad!), Brit has come a long way. She's not back to her former glory, but she's getting there. And at least now she's smiling while she performs!

So if you haven't seen Brit... go see her now! Duh! She's almost done touring and it might be another 5 years before her next tour.

After the excitement of seeing Britney live, I fell asleep on the way home.

(Surprise! I'm wearing shorts! Now don't make fun of my legs.)
But I woke up from my nap, just so I could model the shirt that Kristen bought, featuring Britney Spears lyrics.

I was too poor for a $40 t-shirt, but I did get this cool cup when I bought a drink at the concession stand.

And yes, that is the only cup I drink out of these days.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

PRJNCT: Challenge 7 Results

Some time ago, the final four sent their designs down the runway for the last time before the FINALE!

Here are the results:

Final four: Belinda Cosgrove/Stevie, Malaria, Lola LaRue, Clifford

Belinda Cosgrove/Stevie: Many of the judges made it clear that they loved the character of Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. Some also liked the outfit that Belinda/Stevie wore. The transformation from Maleficent's flowy robes to something that showed off her curves was a good idea. The color was nice, even though it didn't show much originality. However, the cape was a problem for many judges, as it made the outfit unwearable in the modern fashion scene. And many judges thought that while the horns ARE necessary to make an outfit for Maleficent, the designer should have been less literal, as no modern girl or model would want to wear those horns.

Malaria: Malaria's Queen of Hearts outfit was called beautiful, perfect, and amazing. Judges felt that Malaria's designer got the challenge right: he/she took a classic Disney look and made it modern without copying the outfit directly and not losing sight of the original. The outfit fit Malaria almost perfectly (the bottom could have used a little hemming) and she looked like a real beauty queen in it. The accessories may have been too literal, but they can be easily left behind and let the outfit speak for itself.

Lola LaRue: Judges were torn about this 'beautiful though simple' design. While judges thought that this design was pretty and constructed well enough, they were confused about its adherence to the challenge; many noted that Mulan never wore even a similar dress in the movie. Several annoyed judges called Lola's designer racist. They felt that the designer picked an Asian character for an Asian model and picked out what they thought was an Asian fabric. Not much thought was put into this outfit.

Clifford: Many judges agreed that Clifford's outfit this week was too plain, especially compared to the other outfits. However, the design wasn't bad and at least followed the assignment. Belle's new outfit was inspired by her classic look and very wearable today. The construction was a little sloppy in places, though not distractingly so.

The winner of this week's challenge is Malaria. Are you surprised? This is Malaria's 4,000th win.

Remember, although Clifford won last week, there is no immunity this round, as this challenge determines the top 3 designers!

After the CLOSEST vote ever.... the designer who ALMOST made it in the top 3 is....

Lola LaRue's designer, Talita.

When Talita was asked to send in a goodbye picture, she could not be contacted since she's currently on a cruise of the Virgin Islands.

So who is the real winner here?

All that's left is the finale!
Michelle, Adam, and Enrico made it to the final three and will be making a collection of three outfits that will determine the winner of PR:JNCT!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Say My Name

At one point in my life, I hated when song titles/lyrics mentioned people's names. Songs such as "Jessie's Girl" and "Hey Mickey" annoyed me for some reason. By referencing people I don't know personally, I felt like the music artist was somehow limiting my accessibility to the song.

In recent years I've realized this doesn't make any sense. And now I actually like name-dropping in song titles!

So for this Monday Music Moment, I will go over some of my favorite songs that have people's names in the title!

"Sara" - by Fleetwood Mac
Everyone already knows that one of my all-time favorite Fleetwood Mac's song is "Rhiannon." So for this MMM I chose another song that is named after a person. In "Sara," Stevie Nick's is apparently singing about a wide array of subjects, including her relationship with Don Henley, an abortion, other members of the band, and her affair with Mick Fleetwood. The version of the song that appears on Tusk is only 4:39, but there are many extended versions of the song (one that runs 14 minutes!). I love this song because it builds gradually as the other members come in until Stevie finally belts it out at the end.

"Daniel" - by Bat For Lashes
A few months ago, I'd never heard of Bat for Lashes. When I stumbled across a music blog that featured a clip of "Daniel," I listened and fell in love. "Daniel" is the type of moody, atmospheric song that I feel a lot of artists are trying to make today, but do poorly. Well Natasha Khan (who reminds me of Katie Holmes) gets it right. I love this song because Ms. Khan wrote it about someone she imagined and then fell in love with (what?) and because the opening lines prepare me for the awesomeness of the rest of the song: "Daniel / When I first saw you / I knew that you had / A flame in your heart."

"Jesus Christ" - by Brand New
I didn't know whether it was fair to include this one, but hey, Jesus is a name after all. I am forever in debt to my friend Josh for introducing me to this song. "Jesus Christ" is the kind of haunting song that can be played on repeat when you're depressed (aka, my favorite kind of music). I love the lyrics, the lead singer's vocal performance, and the way the song progresses into the very powerful ending. Plus, Ross and I play this song together on guitar (I do the easy, repetitive part obviously).

"Jenny Was A Friend of Mine" - by The Killers
"Jenny" opens The Killers' first CD Hot Fuss and I think it was a great choice as the first track, as it prepares you for the sound of the rest of the CD. I loved the song from the first time I heard it many years ago. And while I always liked the lyrics, I apparently didn't pay enough attention to them.... Just last year, my friend Jenna mentioned how the song is about murder! I quickly went through the lyrics in my head and realized she was right. How did I not notice?? Is this where the band got their name from? I don't know, but now I like the song even more. (Note: The Killers love using names in their song titles, as tracks such as "Andy You're A Star" and "Uncle Johnny" almost made this list!)

"Samson" - by Regina Spektor
My second bible-inspired song is not only one of my favorite songs with a name in the title, but one of my favorite songs ever. "Samson" is a heartbreaking song narrated by Delilah, the prostitute who cuts Samson's hair and thereby strips him of his power. While Delilah could be seen as an villain in some cases, in "Samson" she sounds like a normal woman with a broken heart, which makes this another one of those depressing songs I like so much.

Runners Up: "Me and Mr. Jones" by Amy Winehouse, "If You Seek Amy" by Britney Spears, "Amie" by Damien Rice, "Oedipus" by Regina Spektor, "Iris" by The Goo Goo Dolls, "Judas" by Kelly Clarkson, "Annie" by V. Carlton, "Jolene" by The Weepies.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

PRJNCT: Challenge 7

Welcome to the final challenge of Project Runway: JNCT! The designs from this challenge will determine the top three designers. These three designers will then have time to work on a collection. But before the final three are revealed.... here's the final challenge!

This week, the designers were given a challenge that would test their ability to take something old and make it new....

Create a look inspired by a Disney character.

The rules were simple: the designers must choose a Disney character, then design an outfit around that character. They were told that they could NOT simply make a replica of the character's famous outfits; they were to reimagine the look, making an outfit that was new, yet still reminiscent of the Disney character.

Polt Gunn gave the designers some fashion advice.

Designers, this week, your challenge is to make a look based on a Disney character. Disney movies are all about princesses, but since I've always been a queen myself, I never went through the princess phase, and thus, I don't know too much about them. And I'm not really a connoisseur of Disney movies, I'm not really gonna be much help with that either. But let me say that when choosing your inspiration, remember that Goofy is not really an award winning idea. Nor is Pluto. Or the Hunchback. And Mickey Mouse ears probably won't get you immunity, although frankly, if someone could make Mickey Mouse ears that small, I'd definitely like to see that! Now, get out there and show me whatcha got!

Enrico quickly got to work, busting out his Disney videotapes to find inspiration.

Before he could get to work, Adam had to channel his inner Cinderella and clean his workspace.

And when he was done, he got some designing help from his Aristocat.

Meanwhile, Michelle wore her favorite pair of boxers and looked at Disney characters on her fancy screens while drinking apple juice from a fancy bottle.

And finally, the models walked the runway.

Considered by many to be the baddest of the Disney bad-guys, Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent is the embodiment of evil. Here I've reimagined Maleficent's costume to be a bit more modern and feminine. Gone are her shapeless flowing robes and body-hiding high collar. With a form-fitting dress, I've given this modern-day Maleficent some feminine curves. The addition of the cape adds an air of power and presence to Maleificent's otherwise slim frame. Remaining is Maleficent's signature headdress ... because she just wouldn't be Maleficent without it.

Model: Stevie/Belinda Cosgrove
Inspiration: Maleficent
Materials: Dress & Cape - Purple & Black fabric, thread, tape, black hair tie
Headdress - Black fabric, black thread, cardboard

For this challenge I chose the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Why? Because she's a vindictive, royal bitch with wild mood swings. And for some reason, this speaks to me... Malaria's outfit is suitable for a grand ball, an elegant dinner party, a game of croquet or your everyday beheading.

Model: Malaria
Inspiration: Queen of Hearts
Materials: Materials: Dress - T shirt, ribbon
Jacket - sock
Bracelet/Shoes/Crown/Purse - construction paper, confetti
Earrings - Plastic rhinestones
Gloves - Hockey tape
Scepter - lollipop stick, beads, construction paper, glitter

For Lola I went with a criss-cross top to represent the criss-cross top in a kimono. I made the design very simple to showcase the detail of the beautiful Asian flowers. I gave Lola a full bottom instead of the traditional skin fitting Asian skirt!!

Model: Lola LaRue
Inspiration: Mulan
Materials: Dress - Satin

When it comes to fashion, Belle is perhaps best known for the huge, billowy dress she wore when she was ballroom dancing with the Beast. That was so 1991. I decided to make Belle a modern dress that she can wear when she hits the dancefloor to grind with her prince. So I cut the billowy material from the bottom of the dress and showed off Belle's curves. I kept the bottom of the dress rounded as a nod to the design of the original dress. And instead of wearing long gloves, I gave Belle some long boots. I gave her one over-the-shoulder strap instead of those outdated arm straps she wore in the early 90s. Now, hooker is ready to dance with her man in 2009.

Model: Clifford
Inspiration: Belle
Materials: Dress & Boots - Satin

And that's it! You have just witnessed the final runway show! Thoughts?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

PRJNCT: Challenge 6 Results

Last week we saw pregnant models walk the runway, showing off their burgeoning baby bumps and their fashionable ensembles.
Based on those designers, one designer is out. Let's get to the results!

Stevie/Belinda Cosgrove's designer had immunity, leaving the remaining four designers with the chance to go home, or win the challenge.

(from left to right: Clifford, Lola LaRue, Xylophone, Malaria)

Clifford: Judges thought Clifford's maternity outfit was well-made and pretty. The pattern was modern and cute and the nature pattern was very fitting to the challenge, as it represented growth. However, some judges thought the look was a little too 'matchy matchy' with the matching accessories.
Mom says: "Well made and it's very pretty. I like it because it's modern."

Lola LaRue: While Lola's dress was seen as functional and pretty, judges thought the design was a little too simple for this round of competition. Many worried about Lola's growing boobs and how they would stay in a dress with no straps. The dress was also a little sloppy and not as well-executed as other designs. One judge compared the dress to communism: It was a good idea in theory, but not in execution.
Mom says: "Feo, Feo, Feo. She looks like a picnic table cloth."

Xylophone: Judges thought that Xylophone's bridesmaid dress was just like every other bridesmaid dress: ugly. The outfit looked like a clown costume, was silly, and was poorly executed. While one judge wondered why Xy was holding cotton candy, another judge decided not to review the look as they felt the designer clearly wants to go home.
Mom says: "¡Re-feo con ganas! Ugly from the front AND the back."

Malaria: Malaria's dress was cute and well-made, though somewhat matronly. Her designer is clearly able to construct outfits neatly. The coat got mixed reviews, as some judges thought it looked like a poor attempt at geometry or like a sail boat.
Mom says: "Pretty, elegant."

After the votes were tallied, the winning designer was... Clifford's designer!
This is Clifford's designer's first win!

Congrats designer!

Malaria's designer once again came in 2nd place, securing their spot in the top 4.
This left Lola LaRue and Xylophone as the bottom 2.

And the losing designer was.....

Xylophone's designer, Tam.
Adios Tam! You will be missed!

Now that Tam is out of the competition, it looks like she has been finding ways to spend time with that college boyfriend of hers....

The top 4 designers are Talita, Michelle, Adam and Enrico.

Join us later this week as these four designers create designs for the final challenge before the final three make their collections!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Plastic Chef

In just a week and a half I'll be moving into my house in Ewing. Since I won't be living on campus this school year, I might have to cook my own meals.... And the only things I know how to make are cereal and grilled cheese. While these are both delicious, healthy options, I might get bored of them. So I want to learn how to cook!

In order to start my culinary training, I headed to the house of my friend and fellow blogger, Chris.

Our goal: to tackle one of Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals... in 30 minutes of course!

The meal we chose was a chicken catch-a-tory ravioli stew.
First, we got the ingredients. Christopher didn't know which ravioli to buy.

And he made my scrawny self carry around the 27-ton shopping basket! Cue my collapse from exhaustion!

When we got home, we spread the ingredients out on the table, just like Rach does.

Then I used all the strength I gained from carrying around that basket to crush some garlic.

While I then added all the other important ingredients and got the broth mumbo jumbo going, Chris cut the chicken.

When I noticed he was taking a while, I taught him how to cut chicken faster, not sliding the knife back and forth (like you would with a serrated knife), but slicing neatly from the back to the front. Don't make the knife work against you!
Yes, I actually knew ONE thing about cooking! Guess my restaurant job didn't fail me completely!

Avalon helped us stir cause our arms were tired from crushing/cutting.

When the food was almost done cooking, Chris popped some bread in the oven.

And finally, our meal was ready!!

And guess how long it took us!

29 minutes and 59 seconds! Yup, we did it in time! Although we did leave out like 4 ingredients.... not like that really matters....

The food was tasty, the bread was crispy, and our fruit juice was a delicious substitution to the vodka that Chris usually chugs at dinner.

After dinner, I had to rush to catch the train so we didn't get to make dessert. But I did see this at the train station and took a pic because it reminded me of Stevie Nicks.

And now I know how to make three things!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

PRJNCT: Challenge 6

One fateful night, the remaining six designers looked to the night sky. High above their heads, shining amid the black night was a symbol, a giant pair of scissors shining into the darkness.
"It's the signal!" cried Michelle, running to her computer desk. The other designers did the same and found out what the new challenge was:

Create a maternity look using baby supplies.

While the designers ran to the nearest drugstore or raided their closets for old baby supplies, resident baby expert Polt Gunn shared some fashion advice.

Designers, this week you're making a maternity outfit from baby supplies. Unlike the last few challenges dealing with history and sins, for this challenge...I got nothing. Nada. I've never been pregnant, don't ever intend to be pregnant, and don't plan on spending long segments of continuous time around someone who is. So in other words, this one's a little outside of my ballpark...or nursery, as it were. I guess making to trendy and fun, whilst still functional as a garment to cover an extended belly, is what's desired...but I don't suppose that's very good advice. So I'll just say, if you're using diapers for anything, just make sure they're clean diapers, 'kay? Now, go show me whatcha got!

The designers rushed out to buy materials.

Enrico tried to figure out how to use baby food in his design.

Talita got design inspiration from her pets once again, this time from Madison.

And then, tragedy struck the competition!
While she was out soaking up the sun and thinking of a new design, Daisy noticed a carrot hanging around in the backyard.

Although she found it suspicious, she still went to eat it. Slowly, the carrot got farther and farther away. Daisy noticed the string it was tied to, but was really hungry and kept following the carrot.

She was never seen again.

The designers searched for Daisy but could not find her. However, they did notice former contestant Chris hanging around, wearing what seemed like brand new fur gloves....

The designers were very upset by Daisy's departure, but still had to make it work!
Let's see if they did....

One evening eight months ago, on a night that started like any other, Belinda went to work at the strip club. After a few dances (and a few lines of coke) a man that may or may not have been Jeremy Piven took Belinda to the back room and had his way with her. Flash forward eight months and Belinda is now pregnant. She spends her days lounging in front of the television, dipping Slim Jims into Cool Whip and watching Ellen and Roseanne reruns. This is her favorite 'around-the-house' outfit: Capri sweats, a comfortable top, and squishy slippers. In just a month she'll welcome Jeremy Junior, a round-faced, sushi-addicted bundle of joy!

Model: Stevie/Belinda Cosgrove
Materials: Top - Infant Mittens
Capri Sweats - Infant Socks
Belly & Boob Stuffing - Baby Bottle Insulators
Slippers - Baby Bottle Insulators

Malaria is wearing a maternity outfit in blue as she is hoping for a boy - one bitch in the family is quite enough, thank you. Her hair is tied back in a sleek pony so that she doesn't vom on it. Her shoes are slip on sandals to accommodate her swollen feet. Pregnancy sucks, but if Gisele, Adriana, Heidi and Karolina can do it, so can Malaria.

Model: Malaria
Materials: Skirt, top, jacket - baby pants (0-3 months)
Shoes - baby pants, baby pants packaging
Jewelry - bottle nipple (blue)
Bows - baby scrapbooking decor

Bridesmaid dress - Being in the family way doesn't mean you can't be there for your best friend on her special day. The amazing hat will keep the sunstroke to a minimum at those hot outdoor weddings and the loose floaty layered skirt leaves lots of room to get comfortable during the dinner and dancing.

Model: Xylophone
Materials: Skirt - baby washcloths
Top - baby wipe
Scarf, belt, ribbon - baby washcloth
Hat - soother
Flowers - Q-tips and cotton balls

When you're pregnant, you want to be comfortable. So I gave her a strapless dress that is scrunchy on top and lose on the bottom. Her shoes are comfortable too, since her foot are swollen. This outfit will make her cool and comfortable, not not sloppy.

Model: Lola LaRue
Materials: Dress - Baby sundress
Shoes - Electrical tape

Despite her claim to innocence, Clifford is knocked up, right in the middle of summer, her least favorite season. And she's not so sure if she wants to be. So on days when Clifford is feeling optimistic, she wears a loose, cool summer dress and carries around her baby bag. But when she doesn't want to world to see her baby bump, or when the sun hides away (much like this summer), she wears her comfortable cotton coat and calls her baby bag an oversized purse. No matter what she's wearing, her headband solves her hair problems and her flip-flops keep her feet comfortable. And if her feet get too swollen, you know she can run to Old Navy and got a $2 pair of flip-flops!

Model: Clifford
Materials: Dress/Headband/Bag - Baby dress
Coat - Onesie

So how'd the designers do? Pregnant women out there: which design would you want to wear?