Dress uP: Dancers do it Better

30 11 2009

Leggings by Body Wrappers. Attitude by Amanda.

A couple years back, I never thought I’d see the return of leggings. For years we’d laugh at those who were still stuck in the 80’s legging/tunic frame of mind while secretly wishing we could return to the spandexy comfort of those tight-fitting beauties. When they came back on the scene a few years ago I didn’t run to the nearest American Apparel to buy a pair of cheaply made $50 tights without feet.  Oh no. I simply dug into my dance drawer.

Good dancewear is made to withhold a lot: rolling around on the ground, falling, being crumpled up into a ball and thrown into a dance bag, leaping and bounding. And good dancewear is made to last. While it may be slightly more expensive, it’s guaranteed to take a beating and still perform. Here are three of my leg wear favorites that make daily appearances in my everyday wardrobe.

1.)  Leggings by Body Wrappers ($22.50)- These are hands down the best leggings you will find anywhere. You can wash and dry them, work or play in them and they will never stretch out, bag in the knees or lose their shape. As a matter of fact, I’m still wearing a pair I’ve had since college (1998) even though they’re more of a “dark gray” these days. 100% cotton/spandex available in black, white and navy.  Also available in low rise.

2.)  Compression Tights by Danskin ($11.50)– These tights used to be called “Too Pretty to be Support” but I think Danskin finally wised up and changed the name to “Compression Tights.” Either way, they are style #212 and are fabulous tights. I’m on my feet all day long and the slight compression keeps my legs comfortable and spider vein-free. I also love the feel of the tights and that they don’t get “stuck” on cotton skirts and dresses. Nylon/lycra, available in black, pink or toast.

3.)  Fishnet Tights by Capezio ($19)– I know, I know. 19 bucks is a lot to spend on a pair of holey tights. But these are absolutely worth it as I’ve had the same pair for 5 years and they are just starting to show signs of wear. I love these fishnets because they’re tough as hell and won’t get snags, no matter what boots you wear or sidewalks you trip on. The soles of the tights are flat so they’re super comfortable inside your shoes and since the spandex is so strong, it’s like a built in control top. Best of all, they make your legs look awesome.  80% nylon/20 % lycra-spandex, available in black or caramel.

All of the above leg wear can be purchased through http://www.nydancewear.com.  NY Dancewear is a wonderful company that I’ve supported for years. They are incredibly helpful and can answer any questions you might have about sizing. I’m happy to continue to give them my business.


Listen uP: Two for Tuesday

24 11 2009

Favorites from So You Think You Can Dance

As a former dancer/choreographer, I listen to music and often wonder, “What would I do with this if given the opportunity?” And although I’m not currently working in the dance community, it’s always exciting to think of the possible marriages between music and movement. This is why I love the show So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) and think it’s such an important showcase for both choreographers and musicians.

Over the past few years that SYTYCD has been on the air, I’ve discovered and rediscovered some amazing artists, both old and new, whose music has appeared in pieces on the show.  Today’s “Two for Tuesday” selections come from two very different artists and two vastly different dance pieces.

Download #1: “Koop Island Blues” by Koop featuring Ane Brun. Anyone who watches the show will remember Mia Michaels’ infamous “butt dance.” This song makes me feel like I’m in a speakeasy in Paris and gives me an extra dose of sass as I walk through the village to work.

Download #2: “Your Ex-Lover is Dead” by Stars. Travis Wall choreographed a gorgeous contemporary piece last week about lovers who were reunited after a ten-year period apart. It was incredibly moving and expertly danced but it was the song that stayed with me. I downloaded it immediately and have had it on a steady rotation all week long. The lyrics are chillingly familiar but the cello will warm you all over.

Here’s to a most inspired Tuesday!

Dress uP: The Manpris Must DIE! (and 9 other man trends that need to go)

21 11 2009

I swear, the second it gets above 60 degrees in Manhattan people think it’s the damn summer time and start up with ridiculous warm weather clothes…in November. The other day I saw a dude walking across 14th street wearing flip flops and Manpris (or capris for men) and no jacket. Now I’m all about the beautiful late fall weather, but it made me realize that there are way too many man trends that just need to die.

#1: Manpris– The term came from my sister Christine and our friend Torey who also coined the terms Murse and Mandals. They live in Hawaii and see all sorts of awful trends but we all agree that the cropped pants need to hit the road. I hate capris on anyone but nothing says failed trend quite like a dude in short pants.

#2: Carpenter Pants– Gentlemen, are you really still buying carpenter pants?! Unless you’re painting my house, please ditch these ridiculous slacks. And Old Navy- please stop selling them!!

#3: Ugg Boots for Dudes– I can tolerate Ugg boots for women, but men are not to wear suede Ugg boots under any condition, especially with skinny jeans tucked into them (see #5).

Ugh, this is right by where I work

#4: Sports Jerseys– Sports jerseys are strictly for sporting events. They are not to be worn as regular clothes. Got it, Jeter? Sidebar from my husband who is a Giants season ticket holder: If you’re a Mets/Yankees/Knicks  fan and wear a different sport jersey to a Giants game, we will make fun of you. Shell out $20 for the coordinating sport or face our wrath.

#5: Skinny Jeans- I am just starting to accept skinny jeans on chicks. On men, my eyes immediately go to your privates. I can’t help it, I think anyone but Mick Jagger looks ridiculous in skinny jeans.

#6: Fedoras or Pork Pie Hats– We were in Williamsburg the day of the NYC marathon and I counted 7 Rat Pack-esque hats on Bedford Avenue. Hipsters are annoying and so are their fedoras. (For more on hipsters, go to http://www.latfh.com and laugh your arse off).

#7: Pants Hanging Below the Butt– How in the hell do men walk with their pants hanging so low??? Never mind the fact that I have to stare at your boxer-clad tush in the subway, you make me late to work by walking so slow, trying to keep up your trousers. Stop the insanity!

#8: The Wife Beater as a Shirt– The sleeveless white ribbed undershirt, lovingly referred to as the “wife beater” is an undershirt. It’s to be worn under button down shirts or in the privacy of your own home. They are not real shirts and should not be treated as such.

#9: Ed Hardy Wear– Jon Gosselin officially killed Ed Hardy for me. Seeing that bloated, child-neglecting ass clown cavorting around NYC in head-to-toe Ed Hardy officially pushed the entire line into the Just Say No category.

#10: Pleated Khakis– What’s the #1 way to look fat and dumpy? Throw on a pair of pleated khakis! I didn’t even know they were still available, which makes me think that there are some men out there who need to make a donation to Goodwill this Christmas.

So there you have it–little tips that will make getting dressed in the morning just a tiny bit easier.  I love New York City men, but I need to call out some of these fashion mistakes before they grow to Gosselin sized proportions.

Drink uP: Delicious Cheap Organic Red Wine

20 11 2009


Back in the day my girl Jen Smith and I would debit-card a humongous bottle of $9.99 Citra Merlot from the liquor store across the street from us on Graham Ave in Brooklyn and not even think twice about how embarrassing it was. We’d pair it with a loaf of Italian bread from the Mafioso bakery, olive oil and hours of good music (cds, not iPods) and, in the words of my Irish grandmother, be happier than pigs in shite.

In the past five years I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to France twice, Spain and Greece and have sampled beautiful wines in all price ranges but I refuse to become a wine snob. This in turn has kept my mind open to the little treats in life such as Luzon Verde, a $9  100% organic red wine from Spain that I can’t stop drinking.

Dark purple in color, this Monastrell is best chilled for 10 minutes and poured into a decanter as it opens up wonderfully. I’m sure it’s delicious with food but we love to drink it by itself. The flavors are violet, licorice and berries, rich and full on the palate without the choking of the throat that tends to happen with many Spanish reds.

I’m not a wine writer or expert by any stretch but I am an enthusiast and I assure you that I’ve come a long way from the crappy wine days back in Billyburg…and this one’s a winner.


Wise uP: Don’t Throw Out Those Nozzles!

18 11 2009

I recently spent the night at my parents’ house in NJ and as I was getting ready the next day, I realized that every blow dryer in the house was missing its nozzle. Now just because I’m a professional stylist does not mean that I need a super-expensive hair dryer to coif myself, but I can’t comprehend how anyone can properly dry their hair without the nozzle. I eventually found one under my old spiral curling iron from the early 90’s, dusted it off and reattached it to its proper owner.

FHI- My Favorite Professional Blow Dryer

As it turns out, my mom and sister aren’t the only ones who think the nozzle attachment is completely optional. Whenever I give my clients blow dry tips at the salon, they are amazed to learn that the nozzle actually does something. By adding that attachment to your dryer, you are keeping the air and heat in a steady, concentrated stream, rather than having air blowing every which way, fluffing up your locks even more. If it feels awkward to have it attached horizontally, try twisting it so it’s vertical. Either way, you want the nozzle to go across each section of hair.

It may take a while to get used to using the nozzle, but after some practice, you will have much smoother, shinier hair. So dig into those old hair product drawers, ladies and reattach!

Drying your hair should not make you want to reach for THIS!

Listen uP: Two for Tuesday

18 11 2009

Two for Tuesday: Sensitive Guys with Guitars

Remember back in the day when the Top 40 radio stations had “Two for Tuesday?” They’d play two songs from an artist and the 98th caller would win drink tickets to the Hunkabunka Ballroom in Sayreville or something equally as useless. The Hunkabunka has been long closed due to underage drinking and other shenanigans, but “Two for Tuesday” will officially live on in this blog.

While I love all types of music (and I do mean ALL) I’m an absolute sucker for sensitive dudes with guitars. This Tuesday, I give you two excellent selections from two of my faves.

Ray LaMontagne

Download #1: “Sarah” by Ray LaMontagne. Picking one Ray LaMontagne song is close to impossible, but after seeing him live last week, this one in particular continues to make a recurring appearance on my iPod. It reminds me of one of my all time favorite Bob Dylan songs, “4th Time Around,” and the lyrics and melody take you to that same melancholic place (“Now I see just how young, how scared I was/ Eyes closed tight throwing punch after punch at the world/…is it ever gonna be the same?”). Stunning and sad–when Ray sang it you could hear a pin drop. (From the album Gossip in the Grain).

Download#2: “Orange Sky” by Alexi Murdoch. I’ve been hearing about Alexi Murdoch for a while now from some of my songwriter friends who have compared him to Nick Drake, but it wasn’t until I heard this song on “Coffee Shop” on Sirius radio that I really started listening to him (“When I am alone/ When I’ve thrown off the weight of this crazy stone/ When I’ve lost all care for the things I own/ That’s when I miss you”). “Orange Sky” clocks in at over six minutes yet begs for an immediate second listen to see what you’ve missed the first time around. From the album Time Without Consequence).

Alexi Murdoch

I hope you enjoy my sensitive bearded man selections and as always, I welcome all suggestions from new or old artists. Happy Tuesday!