Welcome to
Chic and Charming
a modern salon for
the discussion of
style, culture and etiquette.

31 October 2007

Calling all Boston Fashionistas


Marilyn is a huge Red Sox fan. She saw these super cute shirts on all the Red Sox wives in the parade yesterday and now she wants one. Has anyone seen this shirt? For that matter, has anyone seen a better picture of this shirt?
Follow up:
Thanks Flutterbyblue! The shirts were made by Chix Appeal Inc. They will shortly be announcing a contest to give away 10 of these shirts! Check here for contest details, soon to be posted.
Image from chixapapeal.com

30 October 2007

Fabuless: Budget Wedding Dress

The Dress: Ann Taylor Regal Jacquard Shift Dress for $178
The location: Chic Urban Budget Wedding
The veil: Birdcage
The rationale: Why spend $1200 on a polyester dress that you will wear once, when you could buy a polyester dress you might wear again for $178? Spend the extra $1022 on some kick ass Manolos, extra bling and Cristal for the wedding party!

The 411 on Sophia


Is Sophia your real name?
No, it is a nom de plume, which I currently choose to write under.

Why write under an assumed name?

  • Why not?
  • I decided early on that I wanted to maintain some level of privacy, because one never knows where life will take you. I correspond with fellow bloggers that I interact with on specific projects with under my real name, because I feel like I have a little bit more of a relationship with those people.
  • My real name is actually kind of a common blogger name, I feel like "Sophia" is different and fun and reflects my Chic and Charming persona.
  • As Sophia some of my opinions are a little more extreme than they maybe in real life, but I find hyperbole almost always increases entertainment value, especially in storytellings.
Why did you pick Sophia?
Sophia was inspired by Sophia Loren. I admire the fact that she is feisty, has curves and was able to turn down Cary Grant. My favorite Sophia Loren quote is "Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” My sister, the major source of gadget guru, writes under the nom de plume Marilyn, after Marilyn Monroe.

Image from italophiles.com

Halloween Cocktail Party II

Several weekends of being out of town or having guests in town wreaked havoc on my house. In fact, I had to recruit my sister to come over and help clean things up. I must have the best sister ever to drag her butt out to the burbs and clean my kitchen in exchange for Indian food. SO, my house is finally clean and my favorite new diptyque candle is burning, while I plan my party menu for my little Halloween fete.

Drinks
  • Cosmo punch made with black vodka
  • Pink Champaign
  • A selection of Belgian beers
  • Shirley Temples
  • To go cups filled with hot caramel apple cider at the end of the night

Premade Snacks
  • Chocolate covered pretzel bites sprinkled with little round rainbow sprinkles
  • Dean and Deluca Creme Brulee Almonds (they are to-die-for)
  • D&D Dark Chocolate Rum Balls
  • Kookaburra licorice in Mango and Strawberry
  • Red Fire Pecans from Vosges
  • Humus in two flavors with D&D spiced pita chips
  • Chips of some sort

Heavy Hors d'oeuvres
  • Cheese Fondue with different veggies and breads for dipping, including rosemary breadsticks
  • Pumpkin risotto topped with roasted pumpkin seeds served on individual spoons
  • Butternut squash soup topped with spiced unsweetened whipped cream served in individual cauldrons
  • Bite size insalata caprese served in mini phyllo cups
  • Mini quiches in 3 flavors
  • Sweet potato steak fries topped with caramelized brown sugar, served with a bacon creme fraiche dip
Dessert
  • Warmed chocolate and caramel sauces with chocolate marshmallows, dried strawberries and miniature apples (a melon baller is used to scoop little spheres out of a normal sized apple...I saw it on iron chef) for dipping into the sauces and then into crushed nuts or crushed cookies
  • A friend might supplement dessert with some red velvet cupcakes! Yum!
All of this is to be prepared in about 2 hours on Wednesday after work...oh to be an unambitious hostess.

29 October 2007

Halloween Cocktail Party I

I am having a few friends over for drinks on Halloween, and I've been obsessing over the menu. I was out of town in North Carolina this weekend and took the opportunity to partake in some foodie tourism...one of my favorite tourist activities. At Dean and Deluca I picked up some dried strawberries, which are totally black and are therefore perfect for Halloween. I also picked up some creme brulee almonds and chocolate rum balls...delish! My other foodie stop was Fresh Market, where I picked up some rosemary bread sticks for dipping into fondue and a variety of candy, including Kookaburra Licorice in strawberry and mango. Yum!!!
Image from crescent-bakery.com

28 October 2007

The scent of winter

I love-love-love Diptyque's Essence of John Galliano. I recently received it as a gift from my in-laws and as with all diptygue candles the scent fills my living room for days after I've burned the candle. As the weather turns cold, I think this candle is perfection. There are strong undertones of burnt wood, with delicious spicy and incensey overtones. This candle is even more fabulous because it is non-girly, so my husband loves it too (in fact, he picked it out).
Image from eluxury

27 October 2007

Male Restroom Etiquette


This is completely hilarious, although I've now been told by several men these rules do not apply to restrooms during sporting events.

26 October 2007

Obsessed with J.Crew

jcrew

Over the last several months I've become completely obsessed with almost everything J.crew makes, with the exception of anything with a trapeze cut. I am currently loving the frilly necked shirts, but when I tried them on last season I ended up looking kind of like a clown. I'm sure I will end up trying them on yet again becuase they just look so darn cute! I am probably most obsessed with the accessories. These purses and shoes are absolutely to die for! In the end I predict I will purchasing both of these purses, the red suede clutch and the pink polka dotted silk purse. I think each is timeless, extremely versatile and would be part of my accessories arsenal for years to come.
Images form Jcrew.com

25 October 2007

Animal Art!


If you had to guess if the above art was painted by a human or an elephant, what would you guess? I was pretty shocked to find out that this art was created by an elephant! While discussing art with friend at work, she revealed that she has always wanted a piece of artwork created by an elephant or gorilla. She professed that she is intrigued by these artists, and appreciates the fact that by purchasing the art she would be supporting the care and protection of these magnificent animals.

The elephants receive some training on how to paint from the Asian elephant art and conservation project. The Asian elephant is endangered, and much of the remaining population is domesticated. Ironically, these domesticated elephants were used by the logging industry to destroy their own habitat. Following a crack down on the logging industry in many parts of southeast Asia, these elephants and their trainers are out of work. The AEACP was designed to provide a safe and natural environment for the elephants, and some "work" for elephant trainer teams to keep them from illegally logging or having to joining the circus. After some initial training the elephants are let loose with their canvas to create! Elephants don't have to paint if they don't feel like it, and they are rewarded for their efforts. Each elephant has a very different style. I was completely amazed by the quality of the elephant art! The proceeds from each peice of elephant art is used to fund the conservation project.

The other project that my friend directed me towards was Koko and Michael's gorilla art at the Gorilla Foundation. The Gorilla Foundation's is "dedicated to the preservation, protection and well-being of gorillas through interspecies communication research and education." The foundation teaches Gorillas to communicate through American sign language. While the gorilla's art is more abstract than the elephant art, the gorilla's can communicate the meaning behind their artwork through sign language. I found the story behind "APPLE CHASE" by Michael to be really sweet.
Image from Asian Elephant Art and Conservation Project

Experiences on the "Sugar" network

So, I decided to test the waters over on Team Sugar, to perhaps pull new readers over to chic and charming. Frankly, I felt it was kind of a downer! I posted my rules for wearing foot jewelry post and got feedback from a total of two people who were both unhappy with what I had to say. One person criticized my rule about avoiding anklets if you have cankles as it might damage a young girl's self esteem. I think they missed the hint of humor that I try to inject into my "how tos." Bummer. I tried posting a handful of other posts from chic and charming tonight to see if they are better received. Anyone else have any experience with Team Sugar?

24 October 2007

Manvite needs some tech support

manvite

So, I was going to write a little post lauding and lampooning Manvite.com, a new evite like service that produces online invitations for exclusively manly parties (football, cigars, cougar hunting). Tragically, when I tried to sign up as a new member AND when I tried to enter email addresses to send my manvite to I was told that my email addresses were invalid?! At first I thought they had some sort of girly email address detector and were rejecting the email address "chic.and.charming" because it was not manly. Then, I tried a different gender neutral address and was again rebuffed! Perhaps manvite should spend a little more time debugging their product and a little less time playing beer pong in the executive dining room. Anyway, I have captured a screen shot of the invitation building page above for your personal amusement. There were some extremely chauvinist adverts down the sides of the manvite, which I originally posted with this post. I could not deal with seeing a bunch of half naked women on my blog, so I cropped them out.
Image is a screenshot from manvite.com

How to fold those pesky fitted sheets

For Lazy Martha I usually offer tips for how to cut some corners in your home keeping, but still achieve that magical Martha end result. Today I reference Martha heself on how to fold fitted sheets. Martha's method for sheet folding doesn't take much more time than sloppily folding those fitted sheets into a lop sided bundle. The end results from properly folding your fitted sheets are beautiful to the point that you can fearlessly stack your linens on an open shelf. As an added bonus you will find that you save space becuase properly folded sheets are much more compact!
Image from Martha Stewart Online.

23 October 2007

So Tragic!

google

I obsessively check my google analytics account throughout the day to see how many people have come to visit me, where they are visiting from and what they are reading. On otherwise difficult work days, looking at good tracking numbers can make my day! So, after having a very difficult day yesterday I found it very disheartening to look at Google Analytics for today and see that by 11 am on 1 person had visited my blog. One person! That was a disaster! I did better than that the first day I had a blog! It took me several hours to realize that my google tracking script had been deleted when I was playing around with my blog's format last night. So, if you are a fellow blogger user, and you switch templates, be aware that you will have to reinsert your google analytics script.
Image from Chic and Charming's Google Analytics Feed

Project Runway is almost back!

When: Wednesday Nov 14th
What: The new season of Project Runway starts
Challenge Predictions: Design a Halloween Costume for Heidi that makes her look more hot than hag...using only clearance sale Halloween goods from Target

Image from: www.public.fr

A few ways to spend a few hundred dollars

chaching

My recent discovery of the fab Ed Hardy Sunglasses has spurred me to ask the question, if I was REALLY going to spend a few hundred dollars on something fab and frivolous, what would I buy?
  • A piece of magnificent jewelry from etsy like "Vintage Rock"($140) by Flutterbyblue or "Sweetheart in Goth"($580) by Pequitobun.
  • A pair of Ed Hardy Sunglasses (about $250ish)
  • Brown Manolo mules from Nieman Marcus Last Call ($200-$300)
  • Kate Spade's Feather Wedding Puff ($445)
  • Over the elbow white metallic leather gloves ($200+, if they existed somewhere other than my head)
  • The perfect pair of driving gloves (Seen in Milan many moons ago...don't remember where)
  • Else Peretti Bone Cuff ($575)
  • Black Murano Glass Chandelier ($2,000-3,000)~~I do lead a rich fantasy life...this piece would probably eat my entire living room...and require a full time maid to keep it dust free. Don't you just love that in my mind DUSTING is one of the primary obstacles to obtaining a piece that costs more than my entire food budget for the year?
  • Framed, matted Source Brault Mermaid Poster (~$150) for my kitchen.
  • A sparkley blood red rhinestone cuff from Nieman Marcus
  • Diamond solitaire necklace (several hundred to several thousand...depends on the bling factor!)
Alas, I will never spend this kind of money on treats for myself. I did go shopping this weekend with my in-laws and got some very fabulous presents! I have to say I am most excited about jade beads and ruby drops that I plan to make into two necklaces! I know of a local shop that sells 18 k gold wire and chain, I have been waiting for just the right project to use such fine materials...I think I've found it.

Images from images from pequitobun and flutterbyblue on etsy, Tiffany and Design Within Reach (see links in text)

22 October 2007

Give me more, more more...opera gloves

gloves

The latest obsession, the latest purchase...dove gray elbow length soft-as-butter suede leather gloves lined in cashmere-wool blend. For $80 these opera length gloves are a steal at Club Monaco. I know this is my fourth post on this subject, I just cannot help myself!

Word of the Moment: Disconnected

Disconnected, as defined by The Free Dictionary:

"(1) Not connected; separate or detached.
(2) Marked by unrelated parts; incoherent: described the accident in a disconnected way."

Disconnected, as defined by Chic and Charming:
(1) Being completely out out of touch with the real world, aka living in "fantasy land"
(2) Being unable to relate to those around you, sometimes to such a degree that anything you say seems nonsensical to those around you

Image from www.telcoresumes.com

21 October 2007

Styling tips from the street

Diamond solitaire necklaces look so fresh, feminine and classic. While out shopping this weekend I noticed two women wearing dainty diamonds around their necks, and I just thought the look was so pretty and understated. My cousin wore a diamond solitaire necklace at her wedding and even through it was too small to really show up in pictures, it was a very nice touch in person. She had a really amazing dress and the necklace was not competing with the dress, but complementing it. Overall, I think diamond solitaire necklaces are a great investment and a classic piece of jewelry that will always look great with anything from a wedding gown to jeans and a t-shirt. How many things in life can you say that about?
Image from epicjewelry.com

20 October 2007

Get Chic and Charming via email!

If you take a look in the side bar down the right of this page, you will see a new feature. You can now sign up to receive Chic and Charming via email! How does it work? I post something new to Chic and Charming on Monday, then on Tuesday morning each subscriber will receive an email containing all of the information and pictures I posted on my blog on Monday! Any comments will be missing, and in order to comment on a post you will have to click back over to Chic an Charming. Otherwise, everything you see on my web page can be delivered to your inbox on a daily basis! I've already tested it out, so I know that it works. It might just take a day or two for everything to be up and running for a new subscription. How fab is that?!

Interested in setting your blog up for email? High tail it on over to feedburner to sign up for their service. They have easy to follow step-by-step directions to set up a new feed and then to set up email delivery of your blog content. Feedburner will even report back to you on how many people are reading your blog as a feed or via email.

19 October 2007

Shoot me, please shoot me now!

I'm in a three floor building, one unit per floor. The bottom floor is empty. The fire alarm on the bottom floor is going off, but the building is obviously not on fire. My landlord only leaves us his work phone number and I called to leave a message saying "Come turn off the alarm." Who's betting that I will be listening to the damn alarm going off all weekend long? Bah! Now I have a migraine!
Image from www.elmbridge.gov.uk

Coffee anyone?

I am totally loving these mirrored coffee cups, which reflect words off of their saucer. The words on the saucer are distorted, but when reflected in the cup they magically become perfectly readable! I've not been able to find them for sale online anywhere...has anybody else seen the around?
Flutterbyblue found them for sale online in the UK! Even cooler: you can get custom cups with your own logo or word on them!!
Image from http://normaldesign.net/normal/en/show.php?product=5

18 October 2007

Bloggy Gossip!!

Did you know that Sugar just purchased Coutorture? Hopefully they'll make it a little prettier, while leaving it accessible to us little guys!

Lost that Loving Feeling: Daily Candy

Daily Candy is a fabulous website that lists shop openings, cool products, local events and delish food offerings in a city specific daily email. For those not fortunate enough to live in a big city, they have an everywhere version that features similar things online. Recently I have just not been that excited with Daily Candy...it seems to have lost some of it's edge. To be honest, I can usually find a lot of the same city-specific information earlier in local free magazines. Furthermore, many of my favorite blogs clue me in to cool finds and hot trends, many of which are more to my taste than those featured on Daily Candy. I also don't like some of their new formating decisions. They redesigned their homepage a few months ago so that only partial stories are visible when you go to look at the candy of the day. The last straw came today when I was scrolling through Daily Candy Everywhere's Weekend Guide, which is usually my favorite email of the week...and noticed that they've added inline advertising. Now, they already receive advertising revenue from many places including: ads running down the side of each email they sent out, occasional "dedicated emails" which are just emailed ads AND Daily Candy Weekly Deals, where shops get plugged for offering discounts to Daily Candy readers. Did they really need to stick an obnoxious advertisement smack in the middle of an article too?? Get back on track Daily Candy before I relegate you to the SPAM folder!
Image from route1growth.files.wordpress.com

The Ten Rules for wearing Foot Jewelry

foot

Anklets and toe rings…how do you feel about them? Personally, I am not a fan of either for myself. That is not to say that I think they NEVER work…they just don’t work on certain women. For example, Andy in the Devil Wears Prada is shown wearing a toe ring after her wild night in Paris. My reaction “Ugh! Why is she wearing a toe ring!” I mean does she REALLY want to be wearing an inflexible metal band around one of her toes when she is going to be squeezing her feet into some major stilettos? Don’t toes already suffer enough from the restricting corset that is the sexy pointy toe shoe? When do toe ring work? They work with flip flops, slides or any other shoe that leaves the toe completely restriction free. They work barefoot on the beach with your dog on your left playing the waves and your man on your right holding your hand. Perhaps it would have worked on “early Andy” who’s most precious accessory was the smallest Tiffany Lima Bean necklace, but “urban glamazon Andy” in a toe ring was just wrong.


The Ten Rules for wearing Foot Jewelry:

  1. Foot Jewelry is always appropriate on the beach and in beach towns. However, if you actually intend on swimming in the ocean you might do well to consider that flashy shiny objects might attract sharks, and plan accordingly.
  2. Toe rings are best worn with open toed shoes. I think this was what I considered most wrong about Fab Andy wearing a toe ring…the thought of how terribly uncomfortable a toe ring would be in stilettos.
  3. Anklets are best worn with shoes lacking ankle straps, to avoid entanglement and busy-ness. They should also not be worn with tennis shoes…unless you normally dress in juxtaposing styles.
  4. Never wear foot jewelry with pantyhose or tights. The event that precipitated this post actually involved an egregious anklet sighting. DO NOT WEAR AN ANKLET WITH PANYHOSE! Don’t do it!! It just looks tacky and it will cause runs.
  5. Avoid foot jewelry if you have cankles, as they just attract attention to an unattractive feature.
  6. Foot jewelry should be somewhat simple and should not be adorned with stones. Nothing screams I have more money than taste like a pave diamond toe ring. A barefoot beach wedding may call for a little foot bling, or if you were randomly invited to a black tie barefoot on the beach event you might also be able to get away with foot bling.
  7. Certain personal styles just lend themselves to foot jewelry, bohemian and surfer styles are especially well suited.
  8. Women of a certain age wearing anklets inevitably end up looking like they are trying to reclaim their lost youth OR find a new place to wear gold. These are typically the same group that wears anklets under pantyhose. So, if your natural hair color is now more than 50% grey, you should think hard before donning foot jewelry, especially if you don’t live in a beach community or artists commune.
  9. If you choose to wear foot jewelry make sure you keep your feet looking presentable and pretty, that means regular pedicures.
  10. Wear one piece of foot jewelry at a time. Multiple anklets just look sloppy.

**All bets are off if your foot jewelry reflects your cultural identity. For example, I’ve never seen a more charming anklet than the Hawaiian lei anklet pictured above!!

Images from www.withouraloha.com and www.jeanasjewels.co.uk

17 October 2007

Chic and Crafty: Double Duty Necklace

necklace

I bet most of you do not know that I am an amateur jewelry designer. In fact, I got into blogging to promote a shop I had on etsy for about three months...the blogging lasted but the jewelry selling did not. In the end I was just too neurotic. I hated letting go of my pieces because I always wondered, could that wire wrapping have been a bit tighter? Were my suppliers truthful when they told me their product was gold filled, not gold plated? Will the IRS come after me if I don't report this as income? So, I decided to go out of the jewelry making business and just supply myself and my friends. In the end it has actually been cheaper...even though I give the finished products away for free because my supply budget has been cut tremendously.

Anyway, behold my latest project! The actual necklace bit consists of 16 mm Onyx beads which are perfectly polished black perfection. They make me feel glamorous and sophisticated! On a bit of whim, I decided to see if I could clip my sparkley skull and crossbones broach, which I purchased for Halloween, over the ordinary looking clasp. Ta Da! The necklace is transformed from classy and timeless to funky and trendy! It is like having two necklaces in one!

16 October 2007

Adobe Dreamweaver, I shake my fist at you

Is anything more exciting than the prospect of a glamorous website redesign? I recently tried to install Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 in order to achieve the perfect new face for Chic and Charming, which I have been sketching out for several weeks. The result? Tragedy of epic proportions (what is life without a little melodrama)! Hours wasted trying trying trying to install the damn program on two different computers, wasted lunch hours searching the internet and reading all of the horror stories from fellow disgruntled techies, hired technoguns trying to make my Dreamweaver dreams come to life!!! The end story: I should (1) uninstall all Adobe products, and then install Dreamweaver, and then reinstall my products...with the understanding that after uninstallation I may not be able to install ANY Adobe products (2) Wait for some ubergeek or Adobe to fix the problem. Since I cannot live without my Photoshop I opted for option (2), so ubergeeks of the world do you hear me: FIX DREAMWEAVER! Fellow bloggers, BEWARE!
Image from amazon.com

File this under heinous

What is Daily Candy thinking? This has to be one of the silliest looking manicures ever. I cannot believe anyone would actually pay money to have their nails painted with two little stripes. I also found the WAY dirty closing of their article on "Racing Stripe" manicures more inappropriate than pithy.
Image from dailycandy.com

Drama

Why are people so mean? My poor husband left work at 10:30 pm last night to find out car window smashed! At least nothing seems to be missing.
Image from fleetcar.com.au

This is no kiddie cocoa

choc

Hot Chocolate is one of the great loves of my life. I'm not talking about that watered down Swiss Miss of your childhood with the freeze dried marshmallows...I'm talking about decadently rich hot chocolate that tastes like a chocolate bar in a cup. I think my love affair with adult hot chocolate began with Starbucks Chantico drink, a beverage which has sadly been discontiuned. Oh Starbucks, why have you forsaken chocoholics everywhere?? Fear not dear chocolate lovers because you can make even more decadently delish hot chocolate at home!
  • Be a hard core gourmet--make the sucker from scratch! If you call yourself a chocolate lover and you do not already own "The Essence of Chocolate" by John Scharffenberger and Rober Stainberg...get thee to Barnes and Nobel ASAP! This bible of chocolate contains one of the best hot chocolate recipes in the entire universe. I made it for a dinner party and we adjourned in a chocolate and homemade whipped cream coma.
  • Not so excited about chopping up a giant bar of chocolate by hand? Both Chuao and Schokinag make fabulous hot chocolate. I have to thank my former roommate, lets call her Ms. Margarita, for keeping me supplied with the very best hot chocolates she comes across. She introduced me Chuao Hot Chocolate in Spicy Maya, perhaps my very favorite brand thus far.
  • Money to burn? Italy has a pretty decadent hot chocolate with a texture similar to pudding, which comes in a variety of flavors! You could jet down to Mexico for some traditional hot chocolate with Mayan roots and chewy churros.
Images from chuaochocolatier.com and worldpantry.com

Oh Britney!


I'm sorry you had to see this, but I really must profess my utter confusion after watching the music video for the Britney Spears song "Gimme More." I set my DVR to record late night music videos and often play them as I get ready to roll in the morning. The magic of DVR is that I can fast forward through the 20 minute long MTV commercial breaks and through songs that I find REALLY disappointing. To be honest, the songs are usually more disappointing than not, but I find occasionally watching my morning MTV keeps me up on the newest hot songs and artists, even if I don't much care for them. But, I digress! Back to Brit and the Pole. I hate to "hate" on Britney Spears because I find her too tragic for words, but this video was just so WRONG. Why go to the trouble to dress like a ho, install a pole and then dance AROUND the pole. Is this some sort of slutty May Day dance? Pole Dancers dance ON the pole, they swing around the pole, the pole is necessary for them to...well POLE DANCE. Was actual pole dancing too aerobic for Brit? The pole in Britney's video is fairly superfluous, it could have been replaced by a man (preferably very hot) to much better effect, or perhaps a tree and more clothing for a wild nature-child kind of look. The video is basically like watching the infamous MTV comeback performance, but with better editing. Really people, if this is the result of enhanced video and multiple takes I'm starting to wonder if Britney is every going make a comeback.

Image from eonline.com, originally I had a screen shot of the Brit but the image came down very fast...she must hire people to full time to remove unflattering pictures of her from the internet...

15 October 2007

Like you need another reason to love this man


Colin Firth, best known for playing Mr. Darcy, and uh, Mark Darcy is opening a store specializing in eco-friendly home goods according to British Vogue. So, if you happen to find yourself in Chiswick, aka London, go check out Eco and support this fabulously hot man and our environment.
Image from http://www.teilani.de/odb-D.htm

14 October 2007

The Notebook

I think The Notebook might just be one of the most depressing movies ever made. Well...maybe not...I cry for about 15 minutes of The Notebook, when I watch A Very Long Engagement I cry for pretty much the entire movie, and I have to try to read the subtitles through the tears.
Image from media.movieweb.com

Gadget Guru: Password Woes

***PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS ADVICE FROM A COMPUTER ENGINEERING STUDENT. I AM IN NO WAY AN EXPERT IN PASSWORD RECOVERY. I AM IN NO WAY CLAIMING RESPONSIBILITY IF YOU TRY ONE OF THESE METHODS AND THEY DO NO WORK, OR IF THEY MESS UP SOMETHING ON YOUR COMPUTER.***

Think your computer is safe because you've password protected your accounts? Think again. About 80% of all home PC's have an easily exploitable back door, the Administrator account. I bet you're thinking "No problem, my account is an Admin account." While you may be an Administrator to your computer, if you're login name is not Administrator there is another Admin account lurking in the background and chances are it is not password protected. Most PC owners don't know about this because when your computer starts up and shows you the list of your accounts it doesn't show THE Administrator account. Without a password on this account, anyone can access ANY information on your computer, this includes changing the password on every account on your computer (including the Admin account), which could leave you out of luck accessing information on your computer until you can reset the password (worry not, I'll tell you how to prepare yourself for this situation).

I recently had an experience with this exploit. I was working on a project and walked away from my computer for a few minutes (mind you, I did lock my computer before leaving). When I came back one of my group members (yes, a member of my group, a person I trusted) was tooling around on the internet on MY COMPUTER. When I confronted him about this he locked the computer and ran away. Unable to get the kid to tell me my password I started to guess everything that might be obvious. When this failed I started calling everyone I know. I had no clue how he could have changed my password because the only way I knew how to change a password was with a change password disc, something I knew he didn't use as my DVD drive is external and was with me at the time.

After about 3 hours I was finally able to free my computer. How you ask? Simple, the change password disc I mentioned before. Go to this site and choose your poison: http://www.petri.co.il/forgot_administrator_password.htm#20. Most of these methods for resetting your password or recovering it require that you burn an image to a CD so it would be smart to do this now so you aren't stuck asking your friends to do this for you when someone resets your password. I used the "Offline NT Password and Registry Editor," but be warned this is not for the every day person. I work with computers everyday and I was still nervous about using this disc as it edits your Registry file on your computer, which is always a dangerous thing if you don't know exactly what you are doing. I'm told that this disc is relatively safe because most at home computer users will just go through the default options they offer (which was the case for me, even with multiple partitions on my hard drive). I have no experience with "Windows Password recovery" but it looks pretty safe so you might want to start off with that (as it recovers your password and doesn't mess with the Registry file). I'm guessing you could even test it now, when you actually know what your password is, just to see how it works. Please read all warnings on this website before trying anything!!

Now that I've covered how to recover your password if someone hacks your Admin account I should probably also cover how to protect your Admin account so you can greatly reduce your chances of ever needing to use the password recovery software. I would still recommend creating a password recovery disc just in case you ever have a senior moment and can't remember your password as Windows only lets your try to type in your password a few times before locking you out completely (you can restart your computer and try again, but that's annoying). Here's the quick and dirty solution. When you get to your login screen (either on start up or when you log off your account) hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete TWICE and you will be taken to the old school gray box login in screen. At this point you can type in any user name you please. Type in "Administrator" (remember to capitalize the "A"). Try leaving the password field blank and hit login. If it lets you login you know that you're Admin account is not password protected! If it doesn't let you log in...well...I wish you luck trying to remember what you set your Admin password to. Some of these newfangled computers force you to create an Admin password the first time you start up your brand new computer...and if you're like me, you're too excited about your new toy that you don't really pay attention to what you type in. Worry not, you can use your new disc to recover the password, login, and change your password to something you WILL remember.

For those who don't have password protected computers, here are the details of how to set one:

1. Login to your name.
2. Go to Start-->Settings-->Control Panel
3. Click on "User Accounts"
4. Click on "Change Accounts" (if your account has administrator privileges, I'm not sure what to click if your account doesn't have admin privileges)
5. Choose your account
6. Click "Create Password"
7. Set password
8. You're done!

Of course, there is always the good old standby of reinstalling Windows on your computer and starting over. However, remember, when you do this you WILL WIPE YOUR HARD DRIVE and any data that has not been backed up WILL BE LOST. Good luck and I hope no one messes with your passwords!

This article was written by "Marilyn," occasional co-conspirator on Chic and Charming

Image from http://www.natinetwork.com

13 October 2007

Ed Hardy Sunglasses

sunglasses

In Nordstrom I found the most undeniably fabulous sunglasses I've ever seen in my entire life. I am NOT the kind of girl who drops $200 on sunglasses, but these sunglasses are to-die-for and might just convince me to drop that kind of money. Ed Hardy is a former tattoo artist who designs clothing and accessories decorated with vintage tattoo graphics. He designed a line of sunglasses with bejeweled tattoo graphics on the arms, and each pair of sunglasses comes with a fabulously decorated coordinating case (as shown above). I will probably check my own blog at least seventeen times tomorrow just to admire these!

Interested in purchasing a pair? Check out Nordstrom or Ed Hardy's online shop.
Images from nordstrom.com

My standards for retail employees really are too high...


So, I went into Sephora today with a girlfriend who was looking for some false lashes for a gift. While in the store, I decided that maybe today would be that day that I would finally purchase some cake mascara. I walked up to a sales associate and inquired "Do you have any cake mascara?" To which the sales associate in a rather aggressive tone of voice said "WHAT?!?!?" I then went on to explain to this woman, who works at one of the largest makeup stores in the world, what cake mascara is--very frustrating.

So, why do I want cake mascara so much? First, cake mascara is a hassle free carry on...no plastic bags, no 3 oz containers. Second, cake mascara is clump free. Finally, cake mascara is one product that can give you both the barely there mascara look AND full on drag queen worthy lashes. You wet a stiff little brush and swish it around on top of the black cake mascara block. You then apply a coat of the mascara to your lashes and let it dry. You can repeat this process as many times as you wish, and the mascara will slowly build to exactly the density you want. Perfect control, perfect color...and one little cake lasts forever!

There are two brands of cake mascara that I have seen carried at sephora: Lola Loves Lashes and Paula Dorf.

Image from ulta.com

12 October 2007

The chocolate Gods have smiled upon me

When I ran downstairs to fetch the mail today, what should I see but a package from Vosges! Around the time I posted by musing about if I would like Mo's Bacon Bar from Vosges, they emailed me to say that they would send me one to try! I think I never quite believed it was for real until I opened the box this afternoon to find not only samples of Mo's Bacon Bar, but also Red Fire Pecans. I was beside myself with excitement. While I REALLY wanted to squirrel away my loot for my own exclusive enjoyment, I decided in the interest of true fairness I should share the love my coworkers. This way, I thought I could get some unbiased opinions to share with my readers. Overall I must say the verdict has been "Yum!" on both counts.The bacon flavor in Mo's Bacon Bar is subtle and salty, with a little extra burst when one hits on an actual bacon bit. The Red Fire Pecans are divine! They are not actually very spicy, but have a nice sweet smoky flavor that perfectly compliments the nut. I've giggled with one of my friend's who's boyfriend is a chocoholic vegetarian, that Mo might be her solution to keeping a personal supply of chocolate in the house, as typically all chocolate mysteriously disappears within an hour of hitting the door. I am planning on serving the nuts at my intimate little Halloween Cocktail Party in a few weeks! I will probably be ordering a few of the above pictures skulls for a yummy dessert treat at the party. I was very excited to see that Barcelona was one of the skull flavors. My husband and I usually eat about one Barcelona (chocolate+salt+crushed almonds) bar per week!
Image from vosges.com

11 October 2007

London Calling

london
One of my best friends is getting ready for a trip to London and I promised that I would put together a list for her of my favorite London places. I imagine that this will be a work in progress since I will be constantly thinking of other favorite places that need to be added to the list! I am a total anglophile and I have a disturbingly good memory for shops and restaurants.

Tea Party!
  • I've always wanted to go check out the Pret-a-portea at the Berkely because each pastry in this divine afternoon tea is inspired by high fashion!
  • So, you are going to see Liberty of London listed several times on this list. I really love the afternoon tea at Liberty of London, probably because I am usually completely exhausted by the time I get there. I love sitting in the salon that looks out into the accessories department, on the mismatched vintage furniture sipping rose tinged black tea and eating a scone heaped with clotted cream. The people watching is awesome, the food is delicious and the tea comes in a sterling silver pot!!
Favorite Markets:
  • I love food! So, my favorite market in London is the Borough Market over by London Bridge. The Borough market is chock full of fresh food vendors, with many gourmet treats that you can take home! There are also totally delish free samples everywhere!
  • Every time I'm in London for the weekend, I hit up Portobello Road Market. My favorite things to troll for are vintage ceramic pharmacy jars and antique hand colored botanical prints.
Cheap Eats:
  • Fish! is my favorite place to get fish and chips.
  • Porky's Pantry is a great greasy spoon for getting uber cheap English Fry-up breakfast, including fried bread and grilled tomatoes. Not a great place for big groups. This place really is a bit of a dive--but very delish and very very cheap.
  • Leon has delish sweet potato falafel.
  • Fuzzy's Grub is a great place for fast, classic British carvery food, roast beef and yorkshire pud, yum!
Tourist attractions:
Shopping!Food Halls:
A little bit of Paris in London:
Image sources on flickr

The Holiday Guide to Etsy shopping

For those of you who have been unfortunate enough never to have stumbled upon etsy, it is an online community where crafters and artists sell their wares. There is an amazing selection of jewelry, photography, fine art, stationary, clothing and countless other hand made goods. Unfortunately it is sometimes nearly impossible to find exactly what it is you are looking for without spending ages shifting through search pages which are organized based on how recently an item was posted, not its relevance to your search. Things always heat up around the holidays on etsy. There are more people looking to buy, and as a result sellers often ramp up their production to meet demand. I'm hoping to encourage people to buy beautiful handmade gifts this holiday season and I plan to facilitate that with my Holiday Guide to etsy shopping.

What exactly is the Holiday Guide to Etsy Shopping?
During the first week in November I will feature two etsy artists on my blog each day. Each feature will have a description of the products featured in the etsy shop, possibly a brief biography of the artist, a picture featuring 4-6 items from their shop and a link to the etsy shop.

How do I become featured in the Holiday Guide to Etsy Shopping?
All shops must be nominated either by emailing chic.and.charming@gmail.com or by posting the nomination in the comments section for this post. I will contact each nominated artist by convoing them through etsy to determine if they are interested in participating in the project (unless the artist self nominates). A panel of judges including the authors of Poetic and Chic, Sfgirlbybay and Flutterbyblue will select their favorite shops to be featured!

"I want to participate too...."
If you are a blogger interested in featuring your own Holiday Guide to Etsy Shopping during the same time period, email (chic.and.charming@gmail.com) me and I will share the list of nominees. I will also link to you from my Etsy Holiday guide and give you an idea in advance about who the other judges will be posting, so that we can avoid all posting the exact same people over and over.

Thanks for your interest in my little project! I hope it will help encourage people to shop etsy!

Image from etsy.com

10 October 2007

I am an incubus of viral plague


I am an incubus of viral plague: count yourself lucky that you can interact with me from a safe distance through the internet.
Image from inl.gov

The long glove obsession continues


So, I saw a new pair of obsession worthy opera length leather gloves yesterday at Neiman Marcus. The gloves are matte metallic leather and they are completely fabulous. I think the gloves in the store were a bit longer than the ones pictured above. What I would really love is if they came in a white metallic leather. I thought I would give your guys a heads up on where you can buy your own fabulous opera length gloves, I already have a pair in black and hot pink!
  • Neiman Marcus: Patent leather, metallic leather and an array of colored leathers
  • Nordstrom: leopard print knit and a variety of leathers
  • Zara: Ruched black leather
  • Bloomingdales: Black leather
  • Brooks Brothers: White with sterling silver buttons
  • Kohls: Wool and acrylic? blend knit WAY over the elbow
  • Jcrew: knit, not quite opera length, but longer than typical gloves
  • Did I miss something? Leave other sources in the comments section!
Image source neimanmarcus.com

Costumes with class

costumes

After my mini rant a few days ago against slutty Halloween costumes I decided to do a little brainstorming to come up with some non-slutty, affordable alternatives.
  • My first idea was to dress up as the completely fierce Bianca Jagger in le smoking tuxedo and enormous hat. Ideally one would go with all white, but it might be more practical to get a black tuxedo for future wearability...only fashion fanatics will know the difference. This provides an absolutely excellent excuse to purchase a le smoking suit, if you are not fortunate enough to already own one.
  • My next idea was to go classic and dress as Holly Golightly, ironically you will dressed as a call girl, but will be in one of the classiest outfits at the party. All one needs is LBD, a pearl choker and a tiny tiara. You could additionally accessorize with a disposable coffee cup and paper bag with breakfast pastry. Personally, I will be dressing as a goth Ms. Golightly this Halloween with vamptastic dark nails, my skull and crossbones tiara set in a beehive and a pearl choker with a sparkly skull and crossbones pin.
  • My third, and most budget friendly idea, was a cow girl outfit: high waisted jeans or skinny jeans with cowboy boots and collared print shirt. A cowboy hat and belt buckle make the outfit into a costume instead of everyday apparel.
  • My final idea was a 1950s pinup girl: pair a lady like tie neck dress shirt with a high waisted a-line skirt poufed out with a contrasting petticoat. Fishnet stockings, siren red lips, peep toe heels and a chic little up-do will finish off the look. A pin up girl is the perfect solution for a girl who wants to look hot, but not overexposed!
Image sources listed on flickr

09 October 2007

French Fry Covered Hot Dog


Witness the French fry corn dog hybrid that is the French fry coated hot dog. As a native southern girl I am intrigued by all thing fried. I just thought I would share. If you want more information check out lastappetite.com.

Image from lastappetite.com

Chic Women: Bella Pilar

bella
I recently discovered Bella Pilar while doing research on fashion illustration, one of my favorite genre's of artwork. I came across her work in a feature on fashion illustrators in Domino magazine. After browsing through her website I fell completely in love with her work. Located in LA, Pilar is a former makeup artists whose work has been featured in advertising for Bloomingdales and and sold through Target and Papyrus. She works in watercolor, and there is actually a timelapse video of her creating one of her masterpieces on her agency's website. Prints are available through her website www.bellapilar.com for $80 each! I've already put together a list of my favorite pieces and ordering instructions for "Santa" and if he fails to come through, I'm sure I will treat myself!!

All of these images are copyrighted by Bella Pilar and have been posted here with her permission.

08 October 2007

It all makes sense

My rapidly dwindling subscription to Lucky looked briefly like it might receive an infusion as I began to leaf through the latest issue. I really loved the little mini article about pencil skirts because I admired several fierce pencil skirts at the conference I attended this weekend. So, finding out how to wear a pencil skirt myself and were to buy one was timely and exciting. I also loved the "trend in the making rorschach blots." But, of course, the other shoe dropped when I got to the shopping awards and saw that Gap was voted the best chain store in three different categories. YUCK! These are not my people! Obviously the average Lucky reader is does not share my fashion and style sensibilities. I now realize that there is little hope for Lucky to recover its warm place in my heart.
Image from support.proboards.com

07 October 2007

Halloween Costume


As I am completely obsessed with Marie Antoinette, I am completely obsessed with this Marie Antoinette costume from Patricia Field's online store. I must say while I adore the look, I stopped wearing skirts this short when about 5 years ago. I mean really! When did feminine Halloween costumes morph into always having to be the "slutty" version? Slutty nurse, slutty witch, slutty vampire, slutty marie!! It is just so frustrating, especially if you no longer have 16 year old thighs. Honestly, I think the wig and the petticoat make the outfit--so I really wish she sold the wig and petticoat as well!
Image from Patriciafield.com

06 October 2007

Day of the Dead

dead

Day of the Dead is a celebration that honors the dead on November 1 or 2 and probably originated in Mexico. Despite the morbid subject matter, Day of the Dead is a vibrant and joyful celebration. I find the artwork that comes out of this celebration to be creative, inspiring and beautiful. Skeletons figure prominently in all of this art, and I find the juxtaposition of the dressed skeletons, vibrant colors and flowers captivating.
Image soruces on flickr

05 October 2007

Gone Fishing

Sadly, I must once again abandon you for a couple of days as out of town business beckons. See you next week.
PS-I sucked it up and payed for the internet in my hotel room after all. I suppose I'm addicted!

Image from petpig.com

04 October 2007

Bizarre blogging phenomenon

Through technorati I have discovered a somewhat bizarre blogging phenomenon where certain blogs sole function appears to be taking excerpts from other blogs and posting them on their blog with a link to the other blog. What makes this practice truly bizarre is that while they correctly link to my blog, they attribute authorship of my content to rather random sources including "The Oregonian" and "Dan." I don't really have a problem with people quoting excerpts from my blog if they link back to me as the source. If you wish to state the the author, I prefer "Chic and Charming" or my nom de plume, "Sophia". Almost all of my image content comes from other sources on the internet, so it would be pretty hypocritical for me to borrow other people's images (with proper credit), while not letting them borrow my original content, which is primarily prose. Has anyone else seen their stuff posted on these sites?

Fall is in the air

giles
I know these chunky Giles knits are not universally popular amongst the fashion blogging set, but I am in love. They just look so cuddly. I would love to wrap myself up in one of these super huge scarfs on a cold and blustery day. They look so warm that you might not even need much of a jacket!

Images from style.com

03 October 2007

Word of the Moment: Loot

poster

Loot
, as defined by Your Dictionary:

"noun: (1) goods stolen or taken by force, as from a captured enemy city in wartime or by a corrupt official or by rioters; plunder; spoils. (2) the act of looting. (3) Slang: (a) money (b) items of value; esp., gifts received

transitive verb: (1) to plunder; strip of everything valuable; despoil. (2) to take or carry off as plunder; steal

intransitive verb: (1) to engage in plundering"

Loot, as defined by Chic and Charming:
noun: (1)expensive gifts or a large haul of gifts (2)all goods purchased during an intensive shopping expedition
Image from allposters.com (you can buy this image as a poster!!)

So you just met Prince Charming, are you supposed to bow?

Well, according to the experts, you should probably curtsy when meeting a prince and you should make sure you never turn your back on him. Furthermore, if you cook Prince Charming dinner, you should avoid shellfish and you should also avoid getting up to go to the bathroom during your meal at all costs. Reading up on the rules of meeting European royalty, the entire process sounded a little convoluted and complicated, and then I got to the parts about middle eastern royalty and unmarried Thai princesses and decided that I hope to never weather those etiquette minefields. If you are looking for an amusing morning read go check out "The Royal Treatment" on portfolio.com.

I just also have to briefly note that Prince William should have stopped aging in his early teens, when he hit peak attractiveness, as you can observe above. I can say that without being a dirty old woman because I had a huge, age appropriate crush on him at this stage in his life.

Image from famouspeople.com

02 October 2007

Show me your Booty!!

pirate

Perhaps I am coming late to this trend, but I am currently so in love with pirate themed accessories. The stars aligned, and smack in the middle of my obsession I found myself vacationing in Disney World during their Pirates of the Caribbean merchandising extravaganza that naturally follows three wildly successful movies. I think my family thought I was a little over the top when I purchased the pirate tiara. I said I was buying it to be a Halloween Pirate Princess, but I actually just wear it around the house and could be persuaded to wear it out to a bar. I have big plans to place it in a beehive a la Holly Golightly. I think Amy Winehouse would approve. I am still trying to decide where I want to display my "A pirate's life for me" pink stick pin for optimal effect. I am thinking of sticking it up on my cork board at work, so on those hard days I can look up from my computer and remind myself to think like a pirate! No prisoners! I think I feel in love with the stick pin because of the retro tattoo elements and the pinkness-I blame Kat Von D. Finally, the headband is actually from J.Crew! I usually throw it on to add a little humor to my outfit. It is the accessory that started the pirate obsession.

Pretty in Pink

maire

Inspired by the Marie Antoinette Post on the fashion-y blog and by the breast cancer pink post on this is glamorous, I'm posting this fabulous pink screen shot from Marie Antoinette to help bring awareness to breast cancer awareness month. Go learn more about Breast Cancer, including how to examine yourself and how to support breast cancer research.

Image from costumersguide.com

01 October 2007

Manolo Blahnik is a man

Dear Neiman Marcus Last Call Employee,

Manolo Blahnik is a man. This is a picture of him with one of his fabulous shoes. I am sorry that you read an article stating that Manolo Blahnik was female. As you can clearly see Manolo Blahnik is either a man or a drag king, I vote man, as does the rest of the online fashion community. In fact, if you go to www.manoloblahnik.com you will find that his biography is divided into sections entitled "The man" and "The shoes." So, the next time you notice a customer trying on every half price Manolo she can wedge her gigantic foot into praying that one will fit, forcing her to feel as unloved as an ugly step sister trying to force her foot in the fabled glass slipper, please refrain from further infuriating her by ignorantly and persistently arguing about the sex of Manolo Blahnik.

Thank you.
Sophia

Image from splendora.com

Things that make me happy: Sunshine, Shopping and Food

vacation copy

I just got back from a short little vacation down to Orlando for the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT. We stayed at at Hyatt Grand Cypress, which was beautiful and very relaxing. The walls in my bedroom were a really rich green, which I surprisingly liked. I would definitely consider it for a guest room or office. I had SO much fun at EPCOT. I tried so many tasty foods from the many country kiosks: fried dumplings from China; bacon, cheddar cheese and beer soup from Canada; boxty with bacon chips from Ireland; chevre and sundried tomato quiche from France; perogies from Poland and finally Gloria Ferrar 1997 Carneros Cuvée. If you find yourself in the Orlando area, it is quite a good time! I am also very impressed by EPCOT shopping. The Japan store is one of my all time favorite places in EPCOT. My mother, who spent quite a lot of time in Tokyo, thinks it is one of the best selections of Japanese goodies outside Japan. I purchased several treats for myself, I'll post pictures after my camera finishes charging!

Image sources listed on flickr