Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Like to Make Things With My Hands...

So, I have a new roommate. Her name is Katelyn, and she is a peach. We get along great and both have a penchant for handbags and shoes. Expensive, but truly enjoyable.

She loves to watch HGTV. I also like to watch this channel, but I usually get stuck on the Seinfeld re-runs or The Food Network before I venture far enough down the cable guide listings to find out what is on. Since she's moved in, I've been taking in a lot more of programs like "Design On A Dime," "Divine Design," "Color Splash" etc etc etc. The point of most of these shows is they take a space and remodel or redecorate based on the owners' budget and design preferences.

I have two favorite shows on this channel. The first one is "Design on a Dime." The owner allots a budget (usually $1000 or so) and then the designers have to design the entire space under their budget. The second one is called "Color Splash" I like this one because the host, David Bromstad, was the winner of HGTV's Design Star Challenge....I shamelessly watched every episode and routed for Bromstad. He always uses lots of color and has a distinctly contemporary style that was always clean and concise, which I love. Please avoid the temptation to make attractive male with large muscle and tattoo jokes...surely you can do better than that.

Anyway. Like I said, we've been watching a lot of this stuff lately. The cool thing about the two shows I mentioned is that in the case of "Design on a Dime" the design team often has to cut corners in order to come in under budget and they make a lot of original art pieces and refurbish a lot of furniture they find at second hand markets. Bromstad has an art background and often creates his own original art for the spaces, and always comes up with interesting and original ideas. It's a good time all around.

So, Katelyn and I were watching the other night and watched the DoaD team make over a huge room with really big long walls. They built a simple frame and nailed grosgrain ribbon strips to the back of the frame horizontally and then did the same thing vertically and then wove the strips together to make a basketweave pattern. Then they used it as a big simple, textural art piece.

The other project that caught my eye was a "cord cozy" that Bromstad made. He took simple muslin fabric and sewed it into a long tube to cover the cord on a hanging light fixture.

Something you should know is I love color. My couch is pear green, I have two armless chairs in a tangerine print, and my dining room chairs are covered in a jewel-tone turquoise. I have resisted the urge to put a ruby colored rug under said turquoise colored chairs on MULTIPLE occasions.

The problem with my apartment is that it is just that, an apartment. Which means I can't paint. So, there is a LOT of white. White walls, white cabinets, white appliances, white ceilings, white counter tops...white white white. White can be great...very chic, simple, elegant. This, however, is suburban sprawl white. Cheap drywall white. We-don't-want-to-overthink-this white. I hate it. So, I've been looking for ways to spice things up without paint (see above references to somewhat irreverent furniture choices). However, the walls are continuously problematic. So, unless I want to paint and then REPAINT the white (uh, I think not) before I move out, I have to find another solution.

In addition to the whiteness, I have been extremely frustrated by two things. Strike that. Three things. The first thing is I have this big, long, white wall in my apartment that is driving me crazy. Right now I have three tiny, badly styled shadow boxes that I put up about a year ago. They are way too small and have nothing to do with the rest of the decor in the room, and they don't cover up enough of the WHITE. I am totally obsessive compulsive. This means the above situation makes me crazy. Problem two: CORDS! Cords are the bane of my existence. TV, DVD, Cable, Stereo, Lamp, WHEN DOES THE MADNESS END?!? They are an eyesore, and no matter how I push, pull, wrap, and tuck, they always end up in the same mangled mess behind my awkwardly open entertainment center. Did I mention I'm obsessive compulsive? Problem three: I'm broke. Well, sort of, in that mid-level government job kind of way...You get the idea. Interior Design is Expensive.

So, today, I decided to take matters into my own hands (most of my friends are out of town, and the rest are recovering from Thanksgiving, Katelyn is out of town, and I have been spending too much time alone). I got in the car and headed to Seven Corners where there is a Michaels Crafts, a Joann Fabric, and a Home Depot all in the same complex. Essentially, a DIY Mecca.
After a few hours, I left the Holy City of home craftiness with over 80 yards of "Olive Drab" grosgrain ribbon, acrylic paint in robins egg blue, a full range of paint brushes, 3 yards of Muslin, two types of nails, and 4 planks of custom measured and cut kiln-dried pine (hardware store guys are SERIOUSLY so helpful!).

I spent the rest of the evening building my frame and stringing ribbon back and forth across it to make a huge basketwoven canvas of softly shimmering olive green. On the show, the team had a nail gun. While I am the proud owner of a brand new power drill (thanks Mom & Dad), I didn't think that would work very well on the fabric ribbon, and I don't own a nail gun...which is probably a good thing since hospital visits are expensive. So I pounded every single nail. Three to secure each corner of the frame, and two per ribbon strip. My rough estimates are about 188 nails. I think my neighbors are probably planning a full mutiny. I don't blame them. Oh well. So now I have a 6' x 3' custom art piece (MUCH better than the 10"x 10" shadow boxes full of curly raffia and potpourri flowers). I am hoping to finish it with some stenciled birds in robins egg blue on opposing corners. I promise to post pics of the finished product. Paint, brushes, ribbon, and lumber all cost me less than $60. Did I mention it's 6'x3'? Seriously. 18 square feet of custom basketwoven glory. Seriously.

It's cool. Trust me.

I started project number two by cutting and pinning the muslin. I'll just run a long seam up the edge and finish both ends and then I'll have my own "cord cozy" to hide the cord cacophony happening behind my shelves and chair. Hallelujah. I can hardly wait to finish it. Glorious Day.

Think this scrunchy cord cover, only hiding all of my ugly TV and cable cords.

Joy. I feel so much joy.

Project number three, although not started, is in the final conceptual phases, and should be pretty easy to complete, all I have to do is find a lumber yard... The plan is to get a big stump from the lumber yard that has been sawed off flat on top, cover it in several coats of paint (again, robins egg blue) and finish it with a high gloss lacquer to make a side table.

Think This Shape

With This Color
Seriously Can't Wait.

Yes, it's possible I'm having DIY visions of grandeur, but it's fun. I always forget how much I love making things myself. It's incredibly rewarding (when it all goes as planned, that is) to go out, collect different bits and pieces and then work with your own two hands to create something that is uniquely your own. Sometimes I wonder if the Reality TV craze has encouraged us to sit in our homes and watch other people cook, decorate, build, bake, design, sew, and create things. However, based on today's flurry of creative activity, I am happy to say that this is one case where TV actually inspired me to get of the couch and make something new and interesting...Hopefully it will all go as planned, and my apartment won't end up looking like an abandoned amusement park.

My thanks to HGTV for a couple of good ideas, and the assurance that color is your friend.


Friday, July 10, 2009

...And A Diet Coke

I hate starting these things out with apologies, but given the dearth of entries lately, I feel like I should.

So I'm sorry. There. I said it. I'm sorry I haven't been blogging and I'm sorry my life just hasn't been that interesting lately. I've also been "hanging out" with Facebook a lot, which has been, therefore, getting more play with my photos, etc. I'll try and be better.

Apology Over.

Time for the real reason for this post.

I went to the grocery store twice this week. Note* This. Never. Happens. Twice in a month...much more likely. I'm a fickle grocery store goer.
My attendance at the market, however, has been a good deal more regular as of late because of Safeway's sweet gas discount and the fact that they just put in a gorgeous new store that just happens to be on my way home from work. Fab.

So, I've started doing my grocery shopping on Mondays. I make my list towards the end of the work day, and then on my way home I stop in, get the week's supplies, and don't worry about it for the rest of the week. It's a pretty good system, if I do say so myself.

So, with my renewed commitment to regular grocery runs, I've also been making a concerted effort to only buy and make really good healthy food. I love this, and it makes me feel like a real human being, instead of a college student eating ramen on my couch for the third time in a week...not that I would still ever do that at 26...ahem....


So I made my weekly grocery run on Monday. Things I bought included fresh spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, snap peas, whole grain pasta, fresh fish and hummus. I felt so proud as I pushed my little cart full of actual adult human food through the store. Lovely.

On Wednesday, I had to make a grocery run to prep for a party that I am helping to throw for one of my best friends. She is turning 25 and so we decided to have a "Young At Heart" party. We themed it around all those great 80's and 90's morning cartoons, are setting up a Slip n' Slide, and there may or may not be a shaving cream fight.

For food, we decided to have kid stuff. Popsicles, watermelon, cake, etc. Since I was in charge of food, and was looking at a full schedule for the rest of the week I decided to get it done a few days early. Also, I needed to fill up my tank and was just a few dollars shy of my $.20 gas discount. Bless you, Safeway.

So, I went to the grocery store. This time I was much less proud of what ended up in my cart. Popsicles of 3 or 4 different varieties, chocolate pudding, Oreos, Cool Whip, gummy worms, a huge bag of mixed candy, chips, salsa, cream cheese, sour cream, and a frozen pizza (okay, that last one wasn't for the party, but a girl has to be prepared for the unexpected). I felt fatter just looking at the stuff, and prayed I wouldn't run into any really attractive looking fit people...they would judge me, I just knew it.

On my way out of the store, I realized that on Monday I had forgotten bread. My FAVORITE kind of bread is called Health Nut. It is called this because it is chock full of yummy grains and things. It is tasty. I buy it even though it is in that snobby double wrapped packaging. I don't care. It tastes good.

I ran to the back of the store, grabbed my Health Nut bread, and tossed it in my cart next to the Cool Whip and Oreos. I snagged a spot in line and started to check out.

I put my items on the belt. I am very conscious of the fact that people who bag groceries Just. Don't. Care. I don't blame them. Because of this, I make sure and put squishy things or things I don't want broken on the belt last. This means the grocery baggers don't actually have to think, and I don't end up with one huge lump of mashed bread.

So, of course, the last thing to go on the belt was my beloved Health Nut bread. The girl scanning my groceries was apparently paying more attention than I usually give credit to grocery store employees for paying, and when she picked up the bread and read the label she looked at it, then looked at my bags full of sugar and saturated fat laden foods, then looked at me with a face that said "Seriously? Nice Try."

The only thing I can compare it to is when you're standing behind that 300+ pound individual at any given fast food joint and you hear them say:
"I'll have a double bacon cheeseburger, a large fry, and an apple pie...Oh, and a Diet Coke."

Nice Try.

I thought about explaining myself. I thought about telling her that I am a devotee of fresh spinach and anything involving citrus. I thought about telling her how much fun the party was going to be because we were all going to act like little kids. Instead, I just smiled sheepishly and shrugged my shoulders.

I'm pretty sure there's no Safeway Inner Circle Club that I'll be denied membership from for trying to pose as a healthy eater when I'm a closet sugar addict. Even if there is...

Oh well.

Happy Friday to You and Yours!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Good Karma...

Karma Whitaker...

That was the name of the woman I met in the temple last night. She was little, and stooped and smiley. Her name was printed clearly on her white nametag.

Karma Whitaker.

It made me wish my name was Karma. Maybe it would remind me to be nicer to people at the grocery store, and to not yell when I drive, and to not leave my dirty dishes in the sink, or mutter things about my boss in my head that may or may not pass the PG-13 rating cut.

I doubt that Karma Whitaker is in charge of doling out much actual Karma. But I think, just in case, I will start trying to rack up more of the good kind of Karma. The Karma Whitaker kind of Karma. The soft, smiling, stooped kind of Karma that leaves you quite pleased with yourself at the end of a long, productive and happy life.

That's the kind of Karma I'm after.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Derby Girls...

Last weekend three of my favorite friends and I got in my Honda and drove to Louisville (pronounced Lo-ah-ville for those of you not in the know) for the 135th Kentucky Derby.We packed up the car and left Virginia at about 3:00pm. We had all-girls road trip mixes in the stereo, goodies in the cooler, and large, flamboyant hats proudly displayed in the rear window. We were on our way.
About 15 minutes later the traffic had slowed to a crawl, and we were nervous that it was going to be a very long trip--almost 1500 miles in 3 days. It was a bad sign seeing as how rush hour hadn't even hit yet. Suddenly we saw to our right a black bump that looked like part of a tire. On closer inspection we saw that it was a large black snake that looked like a cobra, but had no hood. We watched it as we passed by and wondered where it had come from and how it had managed to survive its journey thus far. In India, it is an omen of success to see a snake crawling about in the road before you. Little did we know that the snake we saw within the first 30 minutes of our trip would portend a huge road trip success.

The traffic cleared shortly after we saw the snake and we drove straight through--with the exception of a very abbreviated stop at the shadiest Arby's I have ever seen--and stopped for the night in Lexington, about an hour away from Louisville. The next morning we woke up and got dolled up for the Derby.
We really didn't know what to expect. It was our first time at the Derby. We had tickets for the infield, the large grassy area in the center of the track. We managed to stake out a spot amongst several large groups of men. They found us delightful. Incidentally, the more mint juleps they consumed, the more delightful we became. I don't know what I was expecting, but it was less "My Fair Lady" and the Ascot Races and more "Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby." Think NASCAR...only with less, um, horsepower.

So, the following is a little documentation of our derby experience.
Jen and Michelle were so happy to be at the derby!

As it turns out, hugging while wearing large hats is hard...It's okay, we worked it out

Someone placed this lovely sticker on Michelle's bum. It says "I Got Lucky With Someone From Kentucky" Looks like someone was hoping they'd be lucky enough to get that close to Michelle!

I don't think we will be shocked by anything after the Derby

Other stickers we saw that day included one that said "Talk Derby to Me." While the Derby was full of new and interesting sights and adventures, we were constantly amazed at the sheer number of MEN that we saw. They were everywhere. Huge groups of them. Hunting Buddies. Frat Boys. Office Associates. Family Groups. Biker Gangs. The odd thing was that these groups were lacking one thing that usually goes hand in hand with groups of men...Women. Not one. Even stranger was that these groups of men were HOT. I'm not trying to be shallow, but seriously. I know where all the attractive men have been hiding...KENTUCKY! Unfortunately, sorting them into "sober" and "not sober" categories would have taken days. So we were forced to just enjoy the eye candy.

The Twin Spires of Churchill Downs

Jen and I bet on the ponies. We know we shouldn't have, but we did it anyway. Too bad we didn't put any money on "Mine That Bird"...50:1 odds...Wow.

Anne made fresh chicken salad sandwiches. What is more Derby than fresh chicken salad and coke?

The men next to us tried to by us drinks. All three groups of them. On a couple of different occasions. This led to an interesting opportunity to discuss why we didn't drink, where we went to school, and how we really were just there to have a good time, yes, without alcohol. They were fascinated. One of them wanted to marry Anne. Right then and there. She was "the most beautiful woman [he] had ever seen." By the time we left he "Didn't think he didn't want to never see [her] again." That was probably 4 or 5 mint juleps later. Go figure.

It's all about the Hats.

After the Derby we drove to Charleston, West Virginia and spent the night. Charleston is a cute little mining town with a beautiful capitol building and adorable historic district. We slept in, ate waffles at the hotel and then wandered around taking pictures at the capitol.

Anne, Michelle and Jen in front of the Capitol.

One of my Besties!

Midge and Jen fooling around at the capitol.

One of my all time favorite pics of Michelle.

After enjoying the scenery in Charleston, we drove to Jen's home...Miller Farm, nestled in a little valley just over the Virginia/West Virginia state line. There we had one of the most amazing lunches on record with Mama and Papa Miller and the crew. Farm fresh pork roast, mashed potatoes, hot biscuits, and fresh-picked morels. We were in heaven. After dinner we helped feed the bum-calf, saw the pigs, and enjoyed the fresh mountain air. Made me miss home. After a long and sad goodbye to Miller Farm and all its charms, we drove the rest of the way home and back into the real world. A safe end to a very successful and memorable trip.

I love these girls. They are a priceless part of what makes my life so wonderful. Thanks for an amazing weekend, ladies.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Memo on Noisy Avian Lovemaking...

Dear Birds,

In the interest of our future relationship and my personal sanity I feel it is important to address the following issue outright.

I appreciate the difficulty of finding love in this day and age. It is not easy. I cannot imagine it being any easier if you are a Swallow, or a Thrush, or a Dove. Finding a mate is no easy task. Trust me, I know.

I can only imagine the ecstasy one must feel at finally having found "The One." A truly miraculous occurence, no doubt.

However, this does not negate the fact that whilst the better part of your kind are in the throes of springtime joy, there are others of us who are trying to carry on with the general day-to-day of it all.

In short, what I'm trying to say is if we could keep the pre-5am amorous chirping to a minimum (and by minimum I am implying total and complete elimination) that would be fantastic. It's not that I don't appreciate the springtime miracle unfolding outside my window, it's just that I would rather not have to wake up to it before the sun has even considered rousting itself out of its bed.

In conclusion, I think we can make this relationship work. You keep the announcement of early morning lovemaking quiet, and I, in turn, will keep an eye on my neighbor's cat. I also believe such an arrangement will prevent sleep deprivation on my part. This is good for you in that it will prevent me from having a psychotic break from reality which may or may not cause me to throw rocks at your nest come summer. It's your call.

Very Respectfully,


Monday, May 4, 2009

Go, Humans, Go!

Saw THIS on the side of a bus this morning as I was walking to work in the rain...again.

I can't tell if I should be encouraged by the Quaker man, or if he is taunting me as he rushes by, splashing dirty street water on my shoes.

Maybe I should just take the subliminal message for what it is and start eating more Oatmeal.

I still think that mostly I dislike being told what to do...particularly by a smirking Quaker man plastered to the side of a Mass Transit vehicle.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Universe Hates Me: Part Duh...

I like to take care of my body.

I work out, I eat right, and I get enough sleep if that is humanly possible.

But, SOMETIMES you just get a craving. And I, personally, think it's okay to give in to those cravings every once in a while.

So today, when I was REALLY craving a nice, juicy burger I decided to forego my usual lunch- time salad and hit the grill. I figured I was justified...I ran 10 miles on Sunday, and had to skip lunch on I've got a few calories to spare.

So, I went to the grill. Grabbed my burger and fries and headed back to the desk, probably more excited than I should have been about a burger...especially one from the cafeteria.

When I unwrapped said burger, what I got was not the warm, juicy piece of American beef I had been hoping for...but something that looked a good deal more like a hocky puck, or a charcoal briquette, than something for actual consumption.


Fine Universe. You Win. Lesson Learned.

Dang, I hate it when you're right.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Well, after an overwhelming response on the hair question....

I Did It.

My hairdresser was thrilled that I was finally letting him cut it off. He skipped around the chair like a school boy...detailing every part of the cut...Kind of like when the pilot tells you how he's gonna get you where it says on your ticket on a commercial plane flight...In my head I was thinking "okay, sure...just make it look like the photo..."

Close Enough.

So, you asked for it...You got it! Here are a few pics. Don't ask my why I'm not smiling in any of them. Probably because I had to take them myself (narcissistic, I know...but no one else was around and I had been threatened with pain of death if I didn't post these ASAP) and when I smile in self-photos I look weird. So Deal.

So the question is...Does the New 'Do mean I'll be getting in New Trouble...?

I Certainly Hope So!

Stay Tuned!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Little Advice, Please...

Calling All Friends, Family, and Random Readers Who May Have Happened on This Blog Accidentally...

I need some advice.

Don't freak out , it's silly advice. But I'm seeking opinions none-the-less.

It's haircut time again...and I've had the same one for about 2 years...Feeling like it might be time for a change.

I've had my hair all the way from middle-of-my-back long to a barely-jaw-length bob in high school. I've been really happy with the style, lately. It's pretty easy to maintain...Handles the DC humidity...and I can always fall back on a pony tail or a cap over it on really unruly days.

However, when I saw Taraji Henson at the Oscars this year I totally fell in love with her bob and bangs. The guy who cuts my hair has been wanting to cut it short for a while, but I won't let him.

Summer is coming up and I'm wondering if it's time to take the plunge and change it up.

So...I'm seeking the opinions of YOU! Not hard... see the photos below and leave me a comment to let me know what you think.

The Current State of Affairs...

What I'm Thinking About...

So...What do you think? Can I pull this off without a team of expert stylists and a shut-your-mouth-don't-even-mention-how-much-it-costs antique diamond choker?

THIS is what I need to know!

So please, leave a comment and let me know what you think (yes you may post them I will not be offended, (?) is thicker than that). Appointment is on Wednesday. Time is ticking!

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Blog: FAIL

No, I'm not dead. Just lazy...or busy...or at my wits end. All of the above, perhaps? Who knows. Regardles, this is me apologizing.

Last month I wrote 6 posts. SIX! In February, the shortest month of the year, no less. This month, do you know how many I've written? NONE. Yep. That's right. Not a single one. And this little miniature attempt at redemption is a pretty pathetic excuse for an actual post.

So, since I seem to be no good at keeping up my blog...I will direct you to a much better one. Trust me...if you have time to waste (and even if you don't) this is the place for you. Check it: ps: there is a G-rated version...I recommend that one.

When you get done failblogging, should you care to know, here is a mini update on the things coming up in my life...

1.) Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race...should be an adventure, seeing as how I have done ONE six mile run in the last two weeks...and that's about it. I'll keep you posted. The good news is the blossoms are right on schedule, so at least I'll be surrounded by the beauties of spring while I limp along...if it's not raining that is.

2.) Rehearsing for my upcoming role as "Anna Christensen" a Danish saint who comes to America to join with the church in their exodus to Utah in our Institute choir's upcoming performance of "Witnesses," a musical production relating the tales of the early saints. I not only have to perfect a Danish accent, but also sing a song called "I'll Love Whatever's Left of You" in said accent. I may or may not have to wear a bonnet. More on that later. Embarrassing photos will, no doubt, be provided by Josh D.

3.) Throwing an engagement party for two dear friends who will be getting married in Utah. Beginning to wonder if my calling in life is not in-depth political research and writing, but instead planning and hosting lavish affairs involving tiny food and large floral arrangements.


5.) MUDDY RUN! April 25. So stoked. A 5K race through obstacles including a "river" crossing (we'll see what kind of a river it is...i doubt we'll be fording the Potomac) and two, count them TWO huge mud pits. Ask me how excited I am for this?!? An excuse to get filthy dirty with five of my closest friends, and a bunch of people I don't know! Can't wait (Come on, I grew up on a farm...It's been WAY too long since I got to play in the mud!)

6.) Renting a Winnebago and driving to Kentucky for the Kentucky Derby with some of my best friends. There will also be the purchasing of large, flamboyant hats and coordinating spring attire. Totally worth it for the shopping trip alone!

So, there you have it. That's the short list. And I will leave you with a promise to be a better blogger. Things will slow down here sooner or later...right?

One can only hope.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly...

Well, after two days I am still sick. Not sick enough to be passed out in bed, but just sick enough to not be able to go in to work and be stuck in the house bored.

So, after two days of watching Entertainment TV, I decided to do my own best and worst dressed lists for the Oscars. I have to say, I think the bulk of this year's major lists were right on the money, but I had a couple of quibbles and some of my own ideas about who hit and missed on the Red Carpet.

Oh, and did I mention I've been getting pestered about doing one of these by multiple faithful readers? That too...

So, here we go

Stanfill's Sartorial Samplings: 2009 Oscars Best and Worst Dressed

Top 5 Best Dressed Females

Penelope Cruz in vintage Balmain:
Okay, let it be known that I am a HUGE Penelope fan. Her US films, her foreign films, you name it, I probably loved it. And I think that, for the most part, she always looks like a class act. Pair that with her 60+ year old vintage gown that she has been hanging on to for eight years to wear to something "special" (getting an Oscar, check, I think it counts). Toss in the $3M worth of diamonds she wore for the evening and her to-die-for sweetheart bangs and you've got the complete look. She floated down the Red Carpet and I have to say I find the overall effect of a silhouette like this far more pleasing than some of the uber-tight gowns we saw this year. I don't care what kind of body you have, as my daddy says "Every step looks like two pigs fighting under a blanket." Okay, maybe not SO much on the red carpet, but still...she FLOATED. Some argued that the dress looked a little too bridal...I disagree...and I would also submit that if I can look anywhere NEAR this good on my wedding day, I'll take it. Well done, Pen.

Vannessa Hudgens in Marchessa:This pains me. It truly, truly does. To ever have to tip my hat to anyone remotely involved with the bane that is the High School Musical Series is almost more than I can bear. And yet, I feel I owe it to this girl. I have to say, for her age, she rocked the Red Carpet. Her dress was completely AGE APPROPRIATE (SHARON STONE AND MILEY CYRUS ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME!?!). Fun and unstuffy while still sophisticated. The dress was originally knee length and she had the extra bottom layer added to make it more appropriate for the red carpet. While I am usually anti-mermaid, the addition took her from Jessica McClintock Prom Queen to Red Carpet Diva. The earrings and the hair were also right on point. *HOWEVER, I did hear that she compared herself to a young Audrey Hepburn...Girfriend...all I am going to say is DON'T EVER compare yourself to Audrey. Particularly when your body of work includes countless films under the title "High School Musical..." You're talking about the Funny Girl, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Roman Holiday ICON here. Just do yourself a favor and stand in wonder at the force that is and was Audrey Hepburn and DON'T EVER let a reporter catch you saying you think you look like her. Good Grief Girl...Show a little respect.

Tiraji P. Hensen in Roberto Cavalli:

Two words: Rocked It. This gown was tricky and could have gone very quickly from edgy-sophisticated to straight- up Mummy Chic. How many poor actresses have we seen get slammed for trying to rock this look only to be criticized for looking like the dog, the lawnmower, Enron's accounting department (oh, was that out loud?), etc got hold of their dress the night before the ceremony. However, Tiraji's amazing body and expertly coiffed 'do tied it all together. Oh yes, and did I mention the bling? An antique diamond choker that could put the Milky Way to shame. It can be tricky pairing something as fashion forward as this shredded tiered column with something vintage, but this was seriously perfect. She may have even inspired me to go with short hair for summer. I love the A-line bob with the dramatic bangs. Add in her satiny skin and amazing eyes and it's a 10! Much love for Tiraji.

Anne Hathaway in Armani Prive':

Again, this is a little painful, because I have tried for a very long time to hate on this girl (mostly out of loyalty to dear cousin Emily; Hathaway dated one of Em's ex-boyfriends, and we had sworn a pact to loathe her all our's just what you do) but I can do it no longer. She rocks my socks as far as fashion is concerned. She looks like a million bucks ALL THE TIME. Now, given, it's hard to look bad in Armani, this dress still had it's little tricks. For starters, I, as a general rule, have a paillete problem...and this dress was COVERED in 'em. However, it worked. She worked. IT ALL JUST WORKED. She was like her own flashbulb. Skin: Flawless. Hair: Classic. Makeup: Perfection. Pair it with her Megawatt personality and humble, yet confident persona and she's a winner in my book. My only quibble is she is still looking a little skinny, which pains me. However, given the trauma she's been through lately with her ex-hubby in the clink and all, I'd say she looks pretty dang fabulous. In my humble opinion, if anyone in Hollywood today can come anywhere NEAR touching Ms. Hepburn, it would be Anne, although she still has a ways to go. Take a note V.

Natalie Portman in Rodarte:Portman was a total darkhorse for me this year. I had gotten so used to seeing her in these trippy Star Wars Princess Amidala inspired get-ups that I had sort of given up on her doing anything noteworthy. And honestly, when would I ever pick a pepto-pink gown for a best dressed award? Granted, this is still a little Grecian Goddess, which is a staple in Natalie's Red Carpet attire, but the overall look is fantastic. Not many people can wear "Hubba-Bubba" pink and make it look this good, but with her skin tone, it's a fantastic choice and a few of this year's white/beige sporting starlets could have taken a cue from her daring-do. The hair, also fantastic and the diamond studs were superb. I would have liked to see a little more bling around her neck (something simple a' la Penelope Cruz's sparkler) but when you've got skin like hers, who really needs it? Now if only we could melt the ice off that stare of hers...

Top 5 Best Dressed Males

Brad Pitt in Tom Ford:What can I say Tom Ford makes a nice suit, and when you put Brad Pitt in it, what else could it be but magic? Also, a small note, The caps on the buttons on his shirt are actually 24K-gold rimmed black diamonds. Nicely Done. Can we also get some quick love for Angie's crush-worthy emerald earrings and knuckle crushing emerald ring? Wow.

Sean Penn in Armani:
Not gonna lie...the black on black on black is a gamble. But Penn pulls it off with incredible style. For starters, the cut and tailoring of this suit is nothing short of impeccable. In general, a suit is a suit is a suit, but when it fits like this it is magic. Also, the woven texture of the long tie against the other blacks and the sheen of the satin lapels and buttons on his tux give a lot interest and sophistication to something that could have otherwise turned very dark and brooding very quickly. A quick shout out to his serious arm-candy of a wife too...She looked flawless.

Robert Downey Jr. in Someone Who Should be Getting Paid More:Someone please tell me when was the last time we saw RDJ looking this good? Wow. I didn't even RECOGNIZE him in the first few photos I saw. Wow. The suit is perfect, his hair looks amazing, and who knew he had such chiseled features under all that scruff we've been putting up with for so long. Have I said Wow yet? Chalk one up to a hot shower and a well-timed trip to the barber.

Hugh Jackman in Burberry, Shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo:
Okay, can't lie...Jackman could wear a potato sack (which I might prefer) and still look amazing. His rogue-ish good looks translated perfectly on stage and he was probably one of the best Oscar Hosts I've seen. Not too mention he looked amazing. He chucked the traditional cummerbund for a vest that made this look perfect. The deep V jacket and scooped vest only served to emphasize his incredible physique. The charmingly off-kilter bow-tie and Aussie accent didn't hurt either.

Robert Pattinson in Dolce & Gabbana:This also pains me. What is it about young Hollywood that I find so obnoxious as of late...oh wait, maybe the fact that they are no longer in my own personal age bracket and I am a little bitter...tear. Anyway...I have to hand it to Robert, seeing as how he has 3/4 of the female population of THE WORLD eating out of his hand (yes I saw the movie, yes it made a little short of breath, yes I am exorbitantly embarrassed by both of these facts) it would have been easy for him to show up in pretty much whatever he know, flex his "I'm young and hot and who's gonna tell me I can't wear ripped jeans and a feather boa with aviators to the Oscars?" muscles (past offenders, you know who you are). Instead, he showed up in head to toe classic Dolce & Gabbana and maintained his youth and rakish charm with unkempt hair and just a wee bit of scruff. Well played, you too-young-for-me hottie, you.

Top 5 Worst Dressed Females

Sophia Loren in I Can't Even Think About It Too Hard:

Sophia...Seriously. Three things. 1.) You are ITALIAN, darling! I shudder to think at the endless numbers of your well-heeled patriarchy rolling over in their collective graves as we speak! 2.) You are a FASHION ICON...I don't care how old you're getting, we REALLY don't need another Elizabeth Taylor situation on our hands here 3.) No one with Olive skin (okay, or black, white, brown, red, yellow, blue, green I DON'T CARE WHAT COLOR YOUR SKIN IS) looks good in a hue inspired by Egg Drop Soup. Fortune Cookie Say: You Lose, Sophie. Better Luck Next Year, Bella.

Mylie Cyrus in Zuhair MuradMiley, Miley, Miley...Give it a few more years, okay, hunny? Seriously. This dress is truly stunning (despite a sort of overwhelming seashell/scallop theme that is enough to send anyone with a severe enough shellfish allergy into anaphylactic shock)...stunning, that is, if you're a 7 foot glamazon on the runway in Milan...not so much the cute and perky Tween star with an alter-ego. Poor Miley, at her age, to already have two identities and now be bucking for a third as a mature, sophisticated Red Carpet fashion staple is just too much. What Miley needs to do is take a note from Vannessa Hudgens and stick to something more her age. She's got the goods, cute smile, great little body...she needs to live it up while she can still wear the edgy youthful fashion. Plenty of time for mature sophistication...just look at Helen Miren. Although, somehow I have my doubts that Miss Cyrus' career will be quite so long and illustrious as Dame Miren's. Just a Hunch.

Beyonce' in House of Dereon (shocker):
This is also painful. I like Beyonce', really, I do. But every awards season we have to watch her walk the Red Carpet in one of her mother's monstrosities and then get slammed from all sides about it the next day. If I were Beyonce', I think I would just have to pull mom aside before awards season started and have a little chat about "branching out." Seriously. It's a disaster. This dress is like something you would find on Bram Stoker's mantle. Her cleavage is cramped, the mermaid fishtail is almost unforgivable, and the restricted range of motion is going to insure that she does not outrun ANY of the paparazzi taking her "Worst Dressed" photo. Poor Girl. Beyonce' would be a dream to dress...she's got one of the most amazing bodies in Hollywood, amazing skin, flawless features, the hair, you name it...but she insists on sticking with her mom's disaster-destined label. I don't know what kind of mother does this to their daughter, but seriously...Beyonce' needs to start taking it personally.

Jessica Biel in Prada
Small Sartorial Note: When in Doubt DO NOT ATTACH A DEFLATED DERIGIBLE TO YOUR DECOLLATAGE! Yikes. Seriously, Justin Timberlake has had hangovers that were less sloppy than this ensemble. It's just really unfortunate all the way around. Jessica Biel is gorgeous and has, arguably, on of the best bodies in Hollywood. I also happen to love Prada, so the fact that the two of these generally beautiful entities have come together to form such a total and utter disaster is really a shame. First off, this dress plus her skin tone = no good. She could have taken a hint and gone for something in a more vibrant hue a la Natalie Portman (anybody remember her gorgeous grape colored number from a year or two back?). Secondly...speaking of Enron's accounting department (oh dangit, I did it again) they seem to have gotten a hold of her hair. Either curl it or straighten it...or get up earlier before the show...or somethin'. Also, while you can't see them in this photo, she was wearing closed-toe black satin librarian-esque pumps. Heaven Help Us. Where was Prada on that one, I ask you? On an upnote, her jewels were flawless and whoever styled her makeup did a knockout job. Not a total loss.

Kate Winslet in Yves Saint Laurent:
Just stick with me for a second here. You have to know that I am a huge KW fan. I kept liking her even after she did Titanic. I think she picks stellar roles and I think she is a strong and admirable person. I also am aware that the things I am about to say might qualify as a capital offense in the UK (pretty sure they have a guillotine still operating in the Tower of London for just such purposes). However, I have to say I think this was a miss for Miss Winslett. The colors, for starters, were not great for her. Her alabaster skin and blonde hair are complemented so beautifully by, well, by pretty much anything other than gun-metal grey and black. In addition to that, Kate is classic old Hollywood. She screams old Hollywood and always looks amazing when she is styled that way. This dress, however, is decidedly forward leaning fashion and it clashes with her still classically sculpted coif. It's like two ends of the spectrum fighting over who will win and it just ends up in a big jumble, with pretty Kate in the middle of it. I have to say No, despite the aclaim it received from other fashion gurus. I'm sticking to my guns on this one. One other note...this dress ballparks for around $50K...if you're going to wear a dress that costs $50,000, you better look fabulous. I don't care if it's borrowed or not!

Top 5 Worst Dressed Males

Phillip Seymore Hoffman in Someone Who's Getting Paid Too MuchActually, we aren't even going to dignify this with 5 entire entries because Phillip Seymore Hoffman looked SO BAD that is made up for all the rest of the potential winners. Good grief, he even managed to trump Mickey Rourke, who looked like a disaster, by the way. Rumor has it, however, that he just lost his much-loved pooch, so we'll give him a pass for grieving purposes...RIP Loki. ANWAY, back to PSH. A Beanie? Really? You're going to come to the biggest awards show of the year in a black woolen beanie? I know haircare takes time and effort, but're PSH for crying out someone to shlack a ponytail on there for you and call it good. In addition to that, he also chose to wear a vest, however, in contrast to Hugh Jackman's impecabbly fitting vest and jacket, Hoffman's just looks kind of like a shiny sausage casing. Probably not such a smart move. Forgive him Father, for this Doubt star has sinned...Big Time.

Honorable Mentions:

Tina Fey in Zac Posen

Love Tina Fey, and I think she's's also rare that you see her looking so elegant. Bu she looks a little too much like King Tut's sarcophogus in this dress. Big time props on the hair though...she looked gorgeous no doubt about it.

Jennifer Anniston in Valentino
One of the best looks I've seen Jennifer wear. Props to her, as well, on being totally cool headed while presenting like 5 feet away from Brangelina. If the goal was to look as gorgeous as possible, she definitely did the job. Also, quick shout out to her arm candy for the evening, John Mayer...he looked fab as well.

Sarah Jessica Parker in Dior Haute Couture
A lot of people loved this dress, but the boobs were just a leeeeetle much for me. I love SJP's style, she's got it in spades, but this dress made the cliff houses at Cuenca look like Erector Set Jr. stuff compared to the architectural feat that is holding up her decollatage. Who knew Dior did seismically sound couture?

Amy Adams in Carolina Herrera, Necklace by Fred Leighton
Truth be told, I loved this look, but I know it was a little much. The dress was knockout, the collar was to die for, but together they were just a little over powering. Next year Amy,darling, you're gonna get 'em next year!

Tilda Swinton in Lanvin
I know, you're scratching your head abou this one. I love this women and I think she is a theatrical force in and of herself. Her style, however is decidedly avant garde, which makes it tough to wear on the red carpet. This, quite frankly is a great choice for her. I was impressed. If you're having trouble believing me just check out some of her past selections and you might get my point.

Well, that's it. My Oscar's 2009 fashion wrap. It's just too much work to try and cover the after parties and everything too, so if you have faves that you thought were left out leave me a note and I'll check them out. Disagree with me? Let me know. I want to hear your faves as well as the ones that maybe you didn't think were so great. Maybe there will even be a "Gems We Missed" post to recap some of the diamonds in the rough. Hope you Enjoyed. Until Next Year!