Thursday, March 31, 2011

Orange, Barrels, and Wings, Oh My!!!

So I skipped the gym this morning out of sheer laziness and thus had some extra time to play dress-up before work.

As you may know, orange is something of a trend right now- orange and navy nautical outfits, loud citrus-hued sundresses, orangey-red lipstick on the red carpet, etc. etc. etc. Of course this would be the big trend the year AFTER I've left my Orange Bubble. Well, today I decided to try something that hasn't been featured as much on the interwebs: medium orange lipstick. I actually tried it on as a joke, and ended up getting it because it actually turned out well! The color ended up melting into my skintone and looking more neutral than one may expect.

I also decided to try something that has been my eye-makeup nemesis for some time now: winged eyeliner. Don't get me wrong- I think it looks great on most people. It's just that whenever I try it, it ends up making me look evil. Well, more evil than usual. This time, however, I came up with a compromise that worked: instead of flicking the eyeliner directly up to create tilty cat eyes, I left it more horizontal. The result made me look a lot friendlier than previous attempts...

And finally, I ended up messing with my hair. What started out as a '90s Topsy Tail (remember those?) ended up a barrel roll of sorts. After making my low ponytail, I parted the hair behind the elastic (the part closer to my scalp), creating a hole, and instead of flipping the ponytail up and tucking it down into the hole, I flipped it under. And then I flipped it again. And again. And again, until the whole thing was all rolled up over the elastic. Then, as usual, I put about 10,000 pins in it and smothered it in hairspray. As a final springy touch, I added a flower hairpin.

Maybe not as productive as going to the gym, but far more fun hehe...

~mode mare

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Look! I got a bold new bob!

PSYCH!!! I've actually wanted to get pageboy-type bob for a while now, but I'm too attached to my long hair to actually go through with it. So I came up with this fake-bob solution: I just pulled my hair back, tied it about 3 inches from the bottom, folded it up until it was at a length I liked, then folded the end and pinned the hair elastic to the back of my head. Here's a view of the back:

It's a very swingy and loose style, which I find is a nice break from my usual tight twists and turns. I actually opted not to spray the crap out of it like I do with most of my hairstyles, which meant that it moved a lot during the day- but I kinda liked it!

~mode mare

Monday, March 28, 2011

Baked Oysters!!!

Foodie Fish

Yummy? Check. Crispy? Check. Tender? Check—check, check!

I loooove oysters. Always have and always will. Today we had about a dozen or so oysters fresh from the market. We also had bread lying around that we had to do something with. So I though tonight was a breaded and baked oyster kind of night. Broiling the oysters made the breading so crispy, but the oysters were still so tender.

12 large fresh oysters, strained and out of their shells*
3/4 cup of freshly made breadcrumbs
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 lemon zest
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons of thyme
3 teaspoons of marjoram
2 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan*
1 teaspoon of chili oil*
3 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

From there on, it is quite simple. Combine breadcrumbs, garlic, zest, basil, thyme, marjoram, and Parmesan. Then mix in the oil and mustard. Preheat your oven and put it on the broiler setting. Coat each oyster with the mixture and add the excess mixture on top. Lay the oysters out on a baking pan, then broil them for about 6 minutes or until the breadcrumbs look dark and crispy.
Serve them hot with lemon wedges on the side.

*Notes: Shells can later be used to place the cooked oysters in for presentation
The type of Parmesan you use could really impact the way the oysters taste. Try using good quality Parmesan with a great deal of aroma to add as much flavor as possible.
Chili oil is simply oil that has been used to marinate spicy chilies. This dish is not hot since there is only enough oil to add flavor.


2 slices of regular sandwich bread

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Tear the bread into smaller pieces and lay the pieces out on to a pan. Place the pan in the oven until it begins to dry out. Then, turn up the heat to 350 degrees. When all the pieces look brown enough, take them out and put a few pieces into a blender at a time. Set your blender to “cut”. You could also use a meat tenderizer or a roller to pulverize the bread.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Weekly Lunch Recipe

Foodie Fish

Oh how I love me some cheese. This recipe is simple, and flavorful. There is plenty of texture going on in this lunch as well.

Cottage Cheese Salad:

· ½ Cup of Cottage Cheese

· 2 Tablespoons of Sour Cream

· 2 Teaspoons of Ranch seasoning

· ½ Teaspoon of Black Pepper

· Small cucumber

· Green pepper

· Red tomato

Serve with pine nuts and white, multigrain, or whole wheat bread

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Navy and Orange

So the nautical thing seems to be pretty popular these days. Every store, campaign, and magazine seems to feature at least one sailor girl outfit, and I have to admit, I quite like the aesthetic. Lucky for me, I have a number of navy blue items, including this blazer I bought the last time the nautical thing was big- about two years ago.

I noticed that many shops seem to be pairing navy, white, and orange, so I went and dug out my faithful orange skirt, which I usually wear in the fall, and voila! Right on trend! I love shopping my own closet...

~mode mare

Monday, March 21, 2011

Best Cake

Foodie Fish

←Ever seen this show??? It’s one of my favorite shows. Professional chefs and other food experts brag about some of their personal favorite foods, and tell you exactly where they got it. You often times also get to go behind the scenes into the kitchen to see how it is made as well. I wanted to have a “best thing I ever ate” moment of my own to fawn over the carrot cake at Elements. In case you didn’t read my review of the swanky restaurant posted earlier on this blog, Elements is an excellent restaurant in Princeton. The best cake I’ve ever had was made by head chef and owner of Elements, Scott Anderson. This carrot cake is like no other cake you have ever tasted. The ginger sauce it is paired with gives the taste a little extra spice, and the texture was also extremely unique. This carrot cake was made with local whole wheat, providing the cake with a rich hearty texture and a rustic taste. The flavors of the many components in your typical carrot cake, such as walnuts and raisins, exploded in your mouth. There was homemade ice cream on the side as opposed to the usual cream cheese frosting. There was still that sweet and slightly cheesy flavor, but creamier. The cold ice cream complemented the warm temperature of fresh-out-of-the-oven carrot cake.

Peacock Inn

Foodie Fish

Who would have known that some of the finest food in town comes from such an unsuspecting place? The Peacock Inn has been around for ages, but their restaurant only opened up last year. Already, Peacock Inn’s restaurant has been able to earn itself a great reputation. It has become quite celebrated by many reviews, and it even made it on to the list of best restaurants by the Star Ledger newspaper. Although this restaurant may seem over the top with all the praise and distinction, it has a strangely “down-home” feel about it. The setting was elegant with a starry-lit ceiling, and there was a very comfortable and relaxed feel as well. The restaurant stayed true to its name with peacock decorations everywhere. Its interior design was well thought out and artistic. The lighting was dim, yet it was bright and lively compared to the dark night sky.

This restaurant was not kidding when it said that their staff was committed to personalized service. Our waitress made us feel as though we were being served by someone who truly cared about our opinion. She was constantly checking up on us to see if we needed anything, or if we were satisfied with our food. I noticed that all the other waiters behaved in the same pleasant manner. Every time you would get up to go to the bathroom, that same waitress would personally fold your napkin. When the wine selector brought the wine-pairings for each course to the table, he really took his time in explaining why he chose the particular wine, and why it will enhance the taste of the food.

The food was contemporary and minimalistic. Each dish focused on one flavor that would be brought out by all the highest quality and freshest ingredients. The pan seared scallop appetizer had the right amount of sear on the scalloped, and paired wonderfully with the potent flavors of the citrus vinaigrette along with the tart apple fennel puree. Scottish Salmon “En Croute” had the best combination of textures—the crispy shell of puff pastry, the creamy white asparagus puree, the flakey salmon—that was complemented by a array of flavor coming from the pickled red onion. Most their dishes are simple. There is something about them that tasted as homemade as something your mother would make. Of course there were also a few interesting takes on other dishes that made the food that “New American” cuisine every critic is looking for these days. Chef Perez’s take on Mojo braised suckling pig was very sophisticated. This pork was of course not served whole, but instead like a filet mignon with a papaya cilantro salad and crispy yucca. The yucca on top of the guava gastrique was like elevated fries with ketchup. No matter what the chef made, it tasted like a super-advanced version of home cooking or comfort food made with a lot of finesse.

The evening ended with decadent and creative desserts such s’mores bread pudding, crème brulee tart, chocolate and dried fig pudding cake. All desserts were very well done and a great encore of the chef’s cooking. While leaving this restaurant, there is the satisfaction from an excellent meal and the friendly servers. There was something about this restaurant that made it seem so traditional that you almost want to thank the chef for your meal. The last things you will see when exiting this restaurant are the smiling faces of all the people who had served you that night.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A modern take on the Gibson Girl

<- Remember her? The Gibson Girl? She was the personification of the feminine ideal in the US during the early 20th century. She was also, arguably, the first national standard of beauty, a standard that has been subsequently replaced by a variety of looks ranging from the bombshells of Victoria's Secret to the waifs on the runway.

Today, on a whim, I decided to do a modern take on her voluminous updo. Basically, I put my hair into the highest ponytail possible at the crown of my head, then pulled back the elastic a bit to create a little more volume at the bottom. My hair is naturally extremely flat, so that little bump may not look like much, but was a triumph for me! I then twisted the ponytail into a loose bun, securing it with bobby pins. It's a long way from that popular illustration above, but the idea's the same... minus the poofy front!

~mode mare

Weekly Lunch Recipe

Foodie Fish

Don’t you feel it? Spring is coming!!! I can already see the sun shining brighter, the temperature getting warmer, and the skies becoming clearer. I was in the mood for something fresh tasting and using delicious fresh spring ingredients. It was also my time for something other than a sandwich:

Insalata Caprese Platter

• Italian plum tomatoes
• Fresh Mozzarella

• Basil off the vine

• Extra-virgin olive oil

• Aged balsamic vinegar
• Black pepper
• Kosher salt

• Minced garlic

• Whole wheat minne toasts on the side

• Tuscan or Sicilian spice blends work well with this recipe

While I’m at it, I might as well mention some of my favorite places to get some of the finest ingredients. D’Angelo’s Italian market/eatery has the best Italian cheeses. The ricotta that they use in their cannolis and pastas make their foods delicious. In my lunch, I used their amazing artisan fresh mozzarella. To get the best taste from any recipe, it takes incredible ingredients. So would suggest getting handmade mozzarella.

When it comes to olive oil, there are also different flavors you could try. Carter & Cavero Old World Olive Oil Company has an amazing and broad selection of both olive oils and vinegars. They treat olive oil as an art, with olive oil tastings and all sorts of flavors. They have a broad range of specialty infused olive oils including basil, garlic, white truffle, and even blood orange. A citrus oil would not completely match this recipe, but feel free to experiment!

Princeton Pi Day!

Foodie Fish

Pi Day in Princeton is of course much more significant than it is anywhere else. We had an entire week of good old geek freaking. One of the main events was the pie recipe competition. There was the proffesional round, where the best cooks of Princeton submit their pies to judges and see who has the best pie. There was also a home baker’s round so passionate amateur bakers can compete too.

An amazing new Italian market that I am absolutely in love with called D’Angelo’s won the professional round for an Italian Easter grain pie. The winner of the home baker’s round is a bit of an interesting story. Over the summer, my dad introduced me to his friend. His friend has a son who will not stop asking me out! Imagine the biggest nerd ever, and you got the guy I’m talking about. Unfortunately, we have A LOT in common. Most importantly, we are both huge gourmet foodies. He invited me to his sixteenth birthday celebration, and I was hesitant at first. However, he bribed me with a menu of sixteen dishes and I also get to taste his mom’s cooking. I did not know what his mom’s cooking was like. Later, I read the local paper to see who won the home baker’s round of the pie recipe baker…and it was the nerd’s mom!!! That sealed the deal. I would date him if he asked me out with a slice of his mother’s award winning chocolate chestnut pie in his hand.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pink eyeshadow

Recently, I've had a strange penchant for pink. I blame Black Swan Ballerina syndrome, in addition to Spring Overcompensation Disorder. And with these two afflictions, I went to my local MAC counter and bought myself a pink eyeshadow.

I actually really like how it surrounds the eyes with just a little bit of color while remaining largely neutral- perfect for a sunny spring day!

~mode mare

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shorts and Tights!

I used to think that wearing shorts over tights was for hippie chicks and punks. In fact, the idea was so foreign to me that I used the outfit idea as a Halloween costume (I was going as a gossip girl- the ladies on that show tend to go a little more trendy than I'm used to). However, recently I found myself drawn to a pair of gray wool shorts, and after buying them on impulse, I found that they can actually look quite preppy sometimes, and generally more put-together than alt-culture. In fact, I wore this outfit to the office today. What do you think?

I know they look kind of black in this picture... unlike a lot of fashion-conscious bloggers I don't have a fancy camera or even someone to take these photos for me- my webcam is all I've got!

But anyways, I find that wearing shorts over tights has its advantages. First of all, it's a nice way to shake things up a bit without going too nuts. Also, you can achieve a leggy miniskirt effect without having to deal with that damn skirt riding up whenever you sit or rotating whenever you walk...

~mode mare

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Beijing Bars in Houhai

Hi all! So I spent my Saturday night bar-hopping in a section of Beijing called Houhai, which is in an area surrounding a lake in central Beijing, near the Forbidden City. Once part of the Emperor's domain, it has become famous for its nightlife. The street surrounding the lake is completely lined with restaurants on one side and bars on the other. There are, it is said, about 200 bars, which are all adjacent to each other. It's very popular among tourists and expatriates- suddenly Beijing seemed a lot more diverse than usual!

Along the lakeside is an area full of stands selling “xiao chi,” or “small eats,” also known as street food. I ended up getting some of the freshly made cotton candy, which was gigantic and very fluffy, and a kind of sugary treat called a “bing tang hu lu,” which is a row of Hawthorne berries (which are slightly sour) stuck on a stick, then dipped in caramelized sugar. They were both quite delicious- just a little messy. The cotton candy fluff kept blowing into my face, and my hair seemed magnetically attracted to the caramelized sugar…

Beijing bar culture is very different than in Western countries. For starters, the area outside the bar is teeming with promoters who not only harass you with advertisements for their establishments, but follow you around trying to convince you that their bar is better than the other one you're considering. Secondly, nobody sits at the actual bar. In fact, Beijing bars are a lot more like lounges, with comfortable seating around coffee tables (usually designed for groups of 4-8) all facing a stage. Almost every bar featured a musical act- singers, singer-guitarists, singer-pianists, bands... and inevitably, some karaoke. The Chinese love karaoke.

The musicians mostly stuck to the same kind of Chinese popular fare—love songs and the like. Unlike the passionate belts favored by Westerners, Chinese pop singers tend to have very pretty voices. Think Andrea Bocelli over Usher, Sarah Brightman over Katy Perry (there’s a reason she’s still hot in Asia long after Americans forgot she existed). Except untrained. Most single performers (singer-guitarists, singer-pianists) stuck to slow ballads with flowery melodies, but the bands would occasionally break into fast, head-banging rock songs. Most bars had the microphones hooked up to outdoor speakers that played to the street in order to attract customers.

When you walk in, you choose a seat, then place an order. Most people order snacks such as fruit plates and popcorn in addition to the drinks, and there are usually cards and dice on the tables for games. Unlike in Western bars, where it is not unusual to insert yourself into a stranger's conversation on a whim, groups of people in Beijing bars keep to themselves. They pass the time conversing within themselves, playing games, and watching the performances. And, when they get drunk, demanding that the performers accompany them as they sing their favorite pop song… hence the karaoke.

The drinks themselves were pretty much the same as that which would be served in a Western establishment. I stuck to cocktails for the most part… one of which ended up being a flaming shot… I didn’t know! My friend tricked me! I will never order a drink based on name alone ever again… actually, I probably will, but still- I’ll be more careful next time! It was actually quite good—once I got past the terror of seeing my drink on fire, I actually found it quite tasty.

Houhai has dozens and dozens of bars, and choosing one can be quite difficult when there are so many offerings. In the end, we ended up picking the ones with the most appealing musical performers (although we were tricked into going into a mediocre one with false promises of more performances- those promoters are an unscrupulous bunch!). The bars differed slightly in décor and arrangement, but for the most part they all had the same idea: lit up with Christmas tree lights with candles on the tables. They were fun, but I found that they lacked personality. In fact, I don’t even remember the names of any of the ones I went into (I think one was named after fruit). Doesn't mean they weren't fun though!

~mode mare

Friday, March 11, 2011

Weekly Sandwich

Foodie Fish

Hey all! Well I’m still in school here, so every day I bring lunch. Every week for lunch I make a different sandwich. Being someone who wants nothing but gourmet all day, I make me a delicious delectable sandwich recipe for each week based on my personal tastes. My weekly sandwiches are also geared towards the healthy side, since I got to eat something nutritious to keep me going for my track practice.

This week I made tuna salad. I usually hate tuna salad since I don’t eat much fish and hate mayonnaise. However, I have found this particular sandwich absolutely delicious:

· I use fresh multigrain bread from Wegman’s

· Light white sandwich tuna

· Shredded carrots

· Alfalfa sprouts

· Amazingly flavorful freshly grated parmesan (it gives the sandwich a LOT of flavor!)

· Cottage cheese which holds the sandwich together, instead of mayonnaise

· For extra flavor, add dill or marjoram

Star Wars inspired hair

I will not lie- I have been a Star Wars geek for quite some time now, and one of my favorite bits has always been the costumes and hair. I know that in order to recreate Padme Amidala's twisty, geometric hair, you'd probably need an army of stylists, but here's a relatively easy style that's inspired by her battle hair from Episode 2.

All I did was divide my hair into three sections, like I was going to make a braid. Then, I took the left one, twisted it like crazy, and pinned it to my head in every which way, allowing the twists to dictate where it ended up. Then, I did the same with the right. And finally, I did the same with the middle, guiding it in such a way as to fill in any gaps left by the other two. Afterwards, I sprayed the bejeezus out of it to keep it in place. I must warn you, though, it takes about 15 bobby pins at least...

Have I just lost all credibility for posting about Star Wars hair? Ah well... I'm not gonna deny it. I am a geek and proud of it :-)

~mode mare

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vegan?! No way...

Foodie Fish

For all you vegans out there, I would like to apologize off the bat. I am not at all ashamed in admitting that I am the polar opposite of a vegan. I drink milk more than water, my refrigerator is persistently stocked up on fine cheeses, and I love to eat lamb. However, today I would like to shed some light on something I never even pay attention to: Vegan Desserts. And yes, they do exist.

Vegan desserts are like a whole another world. I love making pies, and I hear that vegan desserts do not even taste good. Rumor has it that vegan desserts are weird or gooey, or food which resembles chewed up grass. Well even though vegan desserts involve many complications and using techniques most people do not know about, they can in fact be delicious. One of the winners of Cupcake Wars was even a vegan cook. I have never even dared to go near vegan dishes until last Sunday, March 6, 2011.

My Dad loves taking me out to eat. He takes great pleasure in watching me devour food because according to most people, I am what they call a “good eater.” Last Sunday he took me out to Small World Coffee in Princeton for breakfast. I had just ordered some coffee au lait and steal cut oats when I saw the delicious fresh baked goods sitting in the window. Many of them were enticing, but the treat that truly grasped my attention was the vegan moon pies. They looked chewy, moist, and were filled with a ton of cream. I could not resist them. Something in my brain was telling me that now was the time to try some vegan baking. It was AMAZING!!! For a cream-enthusiast like me, I was especially impressed with the cream filling of the moon pie for tasting so rich. It lacked in neither texture nor flavor. I must say that I apologize to all you vegan cooks out there. Now I know, a gifted vegan cook can create magnificent foods.

One last note: I would like to give Small World Coffee for completely rocking my world with their vegan moon pies.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Restaurant Review: Elements

Foodie Fish
At this restaurant, the Elements means balancing all factors to create the perfect dining experience. Right from the moment you walk in to Elements (located on 163 Bayard Lane, Princeton, NJ) a certain atmosphere has already been created. A relaxed and chic restaurant with dim lighting, but still has that familiar smell of food being prepared. The restaurant has a very modern and elegant design finished off with the touch of a homey feel. You get the unique environment Elements provides right when you walk in those gleaming glass doors at their entrance. They were so popular on a Friday night that it was hard for us to get a reservation. Due to complications with our reservation, Elements made it up to us by seating us in the back room where I got full view of their professional kitchen.

The food at Elements is suited for even the most discerning palettes. I know that from first hand experience in seeing that my father’s friend, who corrected the waiter for mispronouncing a special off-menu, was pleased. Everything at Elements is cooked to perfection. The menu is so interesting with so many innovative foods, that they do not even have names for some of their creations. The head chef, Scot Anderson, is a genius. He uses such complex techniques and flavors to take his dishes to the next level. They also have very artistic and playful plating designs. The plating design was so impressive that you could almost taste the food before eating it. Elements uses all locally grown ingredients from New Jersey farms. All of their meat is either grass or corn fed, and is sometimes imported all the way from Australia!

For adventurous meat-lovers, there is the Cervena venison. Cervena is meat that is transported and processed following an extremely strict standard from New Zealand. If you have never dared to try deer meat before, Elements definitely does the meat justice. Deer are very muscular animals with mostly lean meat, so I must commend the chef for making the venison so succulent and tender. It is served with a flavorful smoked ricotta cheese, a chewy bed of barely, and surrounded by beets gathered from their fresh vegetable garden.

Another great option for meat-lovers, but perhaps the more conventional type, is the 48-hour short ribs. This beef is cooked sous vide for 48 hours. Sous vide is also known as vacuum packing. If done right, cooking meat sous vide should lock in all the natural juices of the fine quality beef to make it a melt-in-your mouth kind of texture with an explosion of flavor. Cooking meat sous vide could also potentially just make the meat taste processed and boiled in a bag (for it practically is)!
For fans of dessert, Elements follows through in doing a terrific job of pleasing the diners with their desserts. Many restaurants just add desert to the menu because they feel as though it is an obligation, or simply to make more money. At Elements, dessert is taken seriously. The carrot cake there is an incredible dish. The texture was rich and fluffy at the same time, with a little crunch from the walnuts at the end. I could taste the locally grown whole wheat. The whole wheat was a nice touch, giving the cake an earthy flavor and keeping it moist chewiness interesting with even more texture. It came al la mode, and the ice cream was itself was made right in the Elements kitchen as well. Any chocoholic would flip over the Chocolate pot de crème on the menu. A spicy hot chocolate, paired with churros to dip, and a creamy chocolate mouse to top it off. (pictured above: the Kit Kat)

The service was perfect. The waiter had memorized the menu like a script, and your water glass was always half full. The chefs at Elements took their jobs very seriously. As I watched them prepare food, they had more concentration and focus in their eyes than you would ever see on the faces of our classmates (no offense to our teachers)! They were adroit, like robots. I was only reminded that they were only human when I saw a ‘plater’ quickly sneak a bite out of somebody’s food. When the dinner rush eased up, they all stood around the kitchen relaxing making jokes about garlic that I would probably never understand. However, the second someone makes an order they are all back in the zone. There was a full army in the kitchen, taking each of their responsibilities very seriously.

One more unique feature at Elements is the complimentary samples given from the chef. Before you get your appetizer, and right after you get your dessert, the waiter always gives everyone at your table small portions of free food. The samples are different almost every time I go there, and they are always delicious. This time before the appetizer arrived, the sampling was a creamy spoonful of turnip soup served with a small chicken curry salad. The dessert sample was a plate covered with macaroons, chocolate, and other small dessert treats for each person. None of the samples are ever actually on the menu; the free food is just for one last crowd pleaser. Even as you are walking out the door, someone will hand you homemade packets of pound cake that you can enjoy later. It is one last hurrah as you exit the restaurant. The staff does their best to make sure you will not forget this meal. I definitely prefer the pound cake to the hard mints they usually hand you at restaurants as you walk out the door. The fact is, if you are looking for a terrific restaurant, go to Elements. At Elements, you get the perfect dining experience.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Easy runway hair

Have you been keeping up with the fashion weeks? Well, one trend that's been noted over and over is purposely mussed, wavy hairstyles. The result is a laid-back look that's really easy to work with (in fact, the less you work with it, the better!). Here's my take on it:

What do you think? I know you can't really see the back because of the lighting, but basically I ended up with a crimped style. It's really easy- after you shower at night, braid your hair country girl style (one on each side). When you wake up, just untie them and shake them out! My hair is stubbornly straight (curling iron waves straighten out in about an hour), so I also sprayed the braids with hairspray before undoing them.

I also pinned my hair in the back- I just took an inch of hair above my left ear and pinned it slightly off-center (closer to my right ear), then took an inch of hair above my right ear, crossed it over the first lock, and pinned it slightly off-center (closer to my left ear). And that's all!

~mode mare

P.S. First post from Foodie Fish will becoming soon!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My 5 Favorite Oscar gowns

As we all know, the Academy Awards aren't really about the finer points of filmmaking- they're about celebrities, popularity, and FASHION. So as any self-proclaimed fashion-lover would, I've compiled a list of my top five favorite Oscar Gowns:

5) Sandra Bullock
There's something indescribably genius about the sheer simplicity of this scarlet Vera Wang gown. It's old-fashioned in concept, and yet its geometric, sculpted nature brings it soundly into the 21st century. And the way Sandra kept her hair in an off-the-neck updo really lets the shape stand out.

4) Gwenyth Paltrow
Speaking of the 21st century, this sleek Calvin Klein Collection gown is so wonderfully futuristic glam in its metallic minimalism that it could easily have come from a haute-couture sci-fi film. Some people may criticize Gwenyth's simple hair, but I think that with a gown this minimal anything but razor-straight locks would look out of place.

3) Mila Kunis
It takes a special kind of glamor to make such a potentially scandalous gown look so elegant, and Mila Kunis has it! This lavender Elie Saab gown could easily have looked like glorified lingerie, but instead it comes off as ethereal and strangely mesmerizing. Is it because it goes perfectly with Mila's pale complexion and dark locks? Is it because of her perfectly toned body? We may never know...

2) Hilary Swank
When I first saw this metallic, feathered Gucci gown, I swooned a little. Regal yet modern, classic yet trendy, it just seems to have everything! And I must say, Hilary made a wise decision by keeping her accessories at a minimum. Let the perfect gown do the talking.

1) Halle Berry
If I swooned at Hilary Swank's glamorous gown, Halle Berry's made me reach out for the Life Alert button (just kidding, I'm not a senior citizen... yet). The two were neck-in-neck for favorite Oscar gown, but at the end of the day this champagne colored Marchesa gown won out. The combination of a frothy train and glistening details make Halle look like she just walked right out of a high fashion fairy tale. Once upon a time, there lived a gorgeous movie queen...

One recurring theme I noticed was a penchant for strapless gowns with minimal jewelry, which added to a kind of futuristic sophistication. Many of the gowns themselves were minimal in either shape or color, further giving the red carpet a sci-fi vibe. Make no mistake, guys, we are living in the future!

~mode mare