Archive for April, 2010

Eat, Love, Pay?

I was lucky enough to share a cup of coffee on Tuesday with Chris Taylor, director of Food Fight, a documentary that portrays the history of America’s food system and America’s current food culture. The documentary was screened on campus by FLO Foods.  The film was certainly provocative; charts and graphs of the death of farms in the U.S. after WWII were shocking, and interviews with food world royalty (Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Marion Nestle, and more) that detailed the current state of things were depressing.

Guglhupf Fritatta Special

But after much more reflection, I realized the gastronomic opportunity that we, as Carolina students, are presented with.  The local food movement that is near omnipresent in the Triangle area is getting some national attention. The New York Times featured three of Durham’s restaurants that cook with a local conscious, all of which are about a 15-minute car ride away from campus.  Weaver Street Market is an afternoon’s stroll away, the Carrboro Farmer’s Market allows customers to shake hands with their produce producers and Chapel Hill Creamery couldn’t produce more delicious cheeses.  For those of us ready to make a statement with our food dollars, as Taylor said in his film, being a student in Chapel Hill is a great place to be.

I’ve just started putting this “Eat Local” mantra to the test.  Can you reasonably, affordably and satisfactorily eat food produced locally and not eat salads every meal? Today was incredibly successful.  I visited Guglhupf on 15-501 and had a delicious brunch.  I ordered the frittata special which changes daily.  Mine arrived with spring onions, asparagus and goat cheese, along with fresh fruit and a hearty hunk of freshly baked baguette.  Along with a coffee from Carrboro Coffee Company, it was a breakfast fit for a paper-writing machine of a college student.  And for $6.75 my stomach couldn’t have been happier. So my Food Fight continues, hopefully with just as much delicious success.

– Anne Kreuser

Name That Movie (Better)

You ever wonder where writers come up with movie titles?

Half the time, the titles make sense and we understand what the movie is going to be about. “Date Night,” “Death at a Funeral” and especially “Hot Tub Time Machine” are pretty self-explanatory.

But there are some movie names that I just don’t get.

So I’m going to play a game. Looking at a list of movies coming out this summer, I’m gonna take a stab at what each one is about without having read a description or looked at the poster. Game on, Hollywood.

Mother's Day

“Iron Man 2” – The story of Iron Man’s son, Iron Man II.

“Letters to Juliet” – the follow-up to “Dear John.”

“Stone” – The Rock has an identity crisis.

“Mother’s Day” – a loving story about a family celebrating Mother’s Day.

“Robin Hood” – a white man named Robin moves to the Bronx. Hilarity and cultural understanding ensue.

“Shrek 4 Ever After” – Shrek becomes immortal.


“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” – A prince must defeat an opponent in Pictionary before the sand in the timer runs out.

“Sex and the City 2” – everyone has sex twice?

“Killers” – A band of ordinary citizens are hired by the CIA to assassinate terrorists. “Mr. Brightside” plays in the background.

“Marmaduke” – a documentary of how the jam gets made, from the factory to your kitchen! Wait… that’s marmalade

“Splice” – Slacker bio majors start a pizza chain in NYC.

“Get him to the Greek” – A dude must transport another dude to Greece, perhaps to consult with the mythological Greek gods about an STD.

“The A-Team” – Well they had to name the movie this, no one would go watch the flippin’ C-Team.

Jonah Hex

“Jonah Hex” – Jonah Hill plays a cursed teenager.

“Grown Ups” – a spin-off of “Parenthood”?

“Eclipse” – Sequel to “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” but in documentary form. Morgan Freeman narrates.

“Knight and Day” – Story of an insomniac horseman.

“The Last Airbender” – Two hotshot Frisbee teams from opposite sides of the track face off to see who will rule the park (coincidentally positioned between their neighborhoods) for the summer.

“Leaves of Grass” – A gardener creates a mutant. It’s Frankenstein for the botanist.

“Predators” – Human traffickers are pursued by cops.

Despicable Me

“Despicable Me” – A serious, Oscar-worthy drama about a woman’s descent into drug use.

“Inception” – A porno?

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” – Harry Potter looks back on his childhood. Dumbledore narrates.

“Ramona and Beezus” – A tale of two lovers. It is uncertain whether one of them is a cartoon.

“Salt” – Morgan Spurlock eats nothing but sodium for 30 days.

“Beastly” – Sequel to “Beauty and the Beast.” The Beast gets his revenge.


“I Love You Philip Morris” – It’s “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton,” but for guys.

“The Other Guys” – The ones who didn’t win a date with Tad Hamilton.

“Eat Pray Love” – An overweight, middle-aged woman comes to terms with her body, and life and religion in the process.

“Priest” – A church father looks back and tells his coming-of-age tale. Mel Gibson directs.

“Scott Pilgrim v. the World” – A grueling look at pilgrims coming over on the Santa Maria; they fight the Native Americans for territory.

“The Expendables” – Story of those who auditioned but didn’t get cast in “The A-Team.”

“Takers” – Shoplifters fight the system.

– Sonya Chudgar

On the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

New Zealand Endorses U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; U.S.A. now lone vote against Declaration

My name is Chandos Culleen and I am junior here at UNC-Chapel Hill.  As an American Indian Studies student, as well as a student of history and journalism, I hope to bring to your attention every week a important contemporary issue regarding American Indian history, rights or culture in the Chapel Hill area, nationally and internationally.

This week, this blog will focus on an international topic that also presents interesting domestic implications.

On April 19 at the ninth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the country of New Zealand announced that it now endorsed the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

When the Declaration was first passed on September 13, 2007, 144 states voted in favor, 11 abstained and only four voted against.

Those four nations were Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.S., countries with significant indigenous populations and similar histories of being former colonies of Great Britain.

However, since that time, Australia has reversed its position and now endorses the Declaration, according to the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues’ website.  Further, according to this Indian Country Today report, Canada has promised qualified recognition of the Declaration.

With the recent reversals of Australia and New Zealand to give the Declaration full recognition and Canada’s promise of qualified recognition, the U.S. remains the sole negative vote from the original vote to still have not reversed its position.

According to the Forum’s website, “the Declaration is the most comprehensive statement of the rights of indigenous peoples ever developed, giving prominence to collective rights to a degree unprecedented in international human rights law.

“The adoption of this instrument is the clearest indication yet that the international community is committing itself to the protection of the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples.”

At a time when other countries around the globe are moving to recognize the Declaration and the inherent rights of their Indigenous citizens, it is important that the U.S. does the same.

By recognizing the Declaration, the U.S. would send a clear message to its citizens, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, that it respects the rights of Indigenous peoples and its obligations to them.

While some may argue that signing an international agreement such as the Declaration would change U.S. laws and make the U.S. subservient to an international body, this is not true. In a recent report by Te Karere Maori News in New Zealand, the government of New Zealand announced that affirming the Declaration will not affect their laws or government in any way.

Whether this is a good thing or whether affirming the Declaration will bring noticeable change to how governments deal with Indigenous populations is clearly a matter of debate. However, affirming the Declaration is an important statement; the affirming nation acknowledges the rights of Indigenous peoples and their right to preserve their way of life. For these reasons alone the U.S. should strongly consider its now solo stand against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Statement of Chair of Permanent Forum:

UN Declaration:

History of Forum and Declaration:

– Chandos Culleen

[listen while you read: Nothing but the Whole Wide World by Jakob Dylan]

Jakob Dylan’s “Women and Country” is a great album.  In a time when fans are predicting the death of the album, Dylan has created a work of great beauty that defies this death sentence, containing strings of well-turned phrases and thoughtful arrangements. This is only Dylan’s second solo effort but it wears every one of his 20 years of performing like a well-worn saddle.

With “Women and Country,” Dylan emerges as one of the foremost singer/songwriters of his generation.  He continually defies convention.  When critics assumed he would begin his career as a solo act like his father, Dylan formed what essentially began as a jam band with The Wallflowers in 1992.  They quickly moved into Heartbreakers territory, delivering a product to fans that’s long been in short supply: rock n’ roll.  Now, with his newest album, Dylan tackles what could be the most unpopular musical genre. Yee-haw.

At the beginning of the album, on “Nothing But The Whole Wide World,” Dylan rolls out the steady, driving percussion popular in many country songs.  This time out, he’s got back up, provided by the lovely Neko Case and Kelly Hogan.  A steel guitar accompanies Dylan’s raspy crooning.  Like many of the characters in his songs, this one is an optimistic pessimist. Interestingly, he is a man who recognizes the existence of God, no matter if he’s praising or scorning Him:

Mama, she raised me to sing and just let ’em talk
Said no rich man’s worth his weight in dust
Bury him down same as they’ll do us
God wants us busy, never giving up
He wants nothing but the whole wide world for us

Dylan follows this happy tune with the sober, New Orleans-styled “Lend A Hand.”  You feel like you could hear any number of similar songs walking through the French Quarter of the city.  But the song is anything but optimistic; even the bloodhound can find a trail. With this song and others, Dylan hit upon a fundamental truth of country, that country and blues are essentially inseparable.  Both genres rest upon two themes: love and God/Satan.

“Holy Rollers For Love” exemplifies Dylan’s growth as an artist and it’s the most beautiful track on the album. It’s the archetype of a great song: poetry and music.  The song displays Dylan’s timeless themes:

With battle songs filling their lungs
Move them out down under the sun
Give them tears for cherry red blood
Stack them old, we cradle them young
World is crazy or maybe just
Holy rollers for love

Nothing is spared on the track, but everything is sparing, including a haunting steel guitar solo bridge and drums that could be heard on a Native reservation.

T-Bone Burnett produced the album and it’s evident in every one of the tracks. Burnett seems to prefer what I call “clean” country.  His arrangements are spare, polished and hauntingly melodic, even sensitive. He fills spaces with steady percussion and plenty of steel guitar.  Burnett brought the same when he reworked Johnny Cash standards for “Walk the Line” (’05) and scored the excellent “Crazy Heart,” in which he won an Oscar for “The Weary Kind” with Ryan Bingham this year.

Dylan’s search for popularity and respect could not have been an easy task.  First, he had to steal away from his father’s shadow, not an easy task.  But instead of coming out shooting, Dylan thought up an escape plan and he organized himself a posse: the Wallflowers.  Together, under Dylan’s direction, they shot up the charts. Their album “Bringing Down the Horse” (’96), also under the direction of Burnett, produced a string of hits, including the Grammy-winning “One Headlight.”

– Jonathan Michels

Macbeth on Stage

Q: What do you get when you mix post-modern design, World War II, and Elizabethan English?

A: The Department of Dramatic Arts Production of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Alright, to be fair, I’m a sucker for traditionalist adaptations of Shakespeare because usually when someone tries to set the Bard in the 20th Century, it is a disaster (take the 2000 version of “Hamlet” staring Ethan Hawke and Bill Murray).  Of course, there are som

Macbeth (Kahlil Gonzalez-Garcia) and Lady Macbeth (Alice Whitley) in DDA's 2010 Production of Macbeth. Photo by Stephen Ashley .

e exceptions such as Baz Lurhmann’s “Romeo + Juliet,” but those are unfortunately few and far between.

Back to DDA’s Macbeth First of all, I was a little underwhelmed by their time period of choice because last spring’s production of Much Ado About Nothing was also set in the 1940’s and while it could have been considered an innovative choice then, to do it a second time is rather unimpressive.   Not that World War II was a terrible fit but due to DDA’s production history, they should have branched out and done something different.

As far as production quality, for college theatre it was very good. The giant white screens that would turn red during dramatic scenes added a nice, albeit anachronistically modern, effect throughout the production and some of the director’s choices were very good – especially in the scene where Banquo’s ghost returns to haunt Macbeth. Another choice that I thought was rather interesting was to have the Weird Sisters onstage for most of the show, serving as Macbeth’s servants in his home. This played out well during the Banquo’s ghost scene when it was obvious that they were also aware of the ghost’s presence and were perhaps the cause for his appearance to the distraught Macbeth.

The Weird Sisters

Some of the acting seemed a little too much like acting and it was obvious that some of the actors were not comfortable in Shakespeare, but the leads were excellent. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth alternated actors from show to show, between Kahlil Gonzalez-Garcia/ Alice Whitley and Matthew Ellis Murphey and Elizabeth Philips. Gonzalez-Garcia especially was a great Macbeth and captured every nuance of the troubled king’s character. Whitley as Lady Macbeth also did a fantastic job at portraying the ruthless queen on her quest for power.  Murphey and Phillips were equally as powerful in the roles and had excellent chemistry together.

Overall, I would not claim this to be one of the DDA’s better productions, though it certainly was not one of the worst, either. It was fairly average in comparison to some of DDA’s past Shakespeare productions.  The set design did not mesh well with the time period which did not mesh well with the plot. There was simply too much competing for attention when focus should have been given to the story.


– Samantha Ryan

Be Kind, Rewind: April 11-16

Straight talk about select TV episodes for the week of April 11-16, 2010

“Supernatural”: Point of No Return

As a die-hard “Supernatural” fan, I wish I could say the series’ 100th episode was as kick-ass as I wanted it to be. While it hit all the right notes that a milestone episode should – surprising death of a character, unexpected return of a character, game-changing plot twist, humor, reaffirmation of show themes – I wish Point of No Return had reached for a few higher notes. I could not help but feel we’ve seen some of these plots before: Dean or Sam losing faith in his destiny, the other brother reaching down to convince the faithless of the importance of the mission. I felt like the 98th episode, Dark Side of the Moon, was much more fantastical, jarring, revealing and fun to watch.

That’s not to say I don’t have high hopes for Supernatural. This show thrives on the last three episodes of every season, creating a tangled web of misery, pain, mythology and well-aimed one-liners for the Winchester brothers, much for our viewing pleasure. With four episodes and an impending Apocalypse to go in season five, I’ve got my seatbelt buckled. B-

Best line:
Dean: So, screw destiny right in the face. I saw we take the fight to them, do it our way.

“Modern Family”: Benched

“Modern Family” is usually dependably funny, but this week’s episode missed the mark. Watching Jay and Phil spar over who would coach the boys’ basketball team was boring. Claire realizing little Alex has grown into a teenager was predictable. And Mitchell and Cameron’s expedition to prospective employer Charlie Bingham’s house was cringe-inducing – and not in the humorous way. Is this really what audiences want to see, 20 episodes in? Talk about filler. C-

Best dialogue:
Luke: Where did Coach Stupak go?
Phil: He left, he got sick.
Luke: Is he going to die?
Phil: Everybody dies, boys, let’s focus on what’s important!

“Glee”: Hell-o

Coming off a much-anticipated, four-month hiatus, I expected more from “Glee.” The romantic plotlines did not advance: Rachel and Finn are together, Finn doesn’t want to be with her, they break up. Boo stinkin’ hoo. By now, viewers know better than to expect showrunner Ryan Murphy to allow a couple we like to actually be happy together. Take Mr. Shue and Emma, for example. They finally kissed at the end of the fall finale – and for what? They break up in this episode too.

Sue Sylvester, at least, was on top of her game, coming in with great zingers aimed at Will. But still – this is another example of Hell-o undoing all that the fall finale accomplished: Sue was dethroned, suspended from teaching at McKinley High, Will had won. But wait! She blackmailed Principal Figgins and now she’s back. Boo.

I’d like to see more singing and more dialogue from Mercedes, Kurt, Arty, and Tina. This show shines when it emphasizes all of its cast rather than the main players. I did enjoy Brittany and Santana trying to seduce Finn, though. Kudos on milking Brittany and Santana’s, um, friendship.

And putting Rachel together with Jesse St. James, of rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline, is asinine. Viewers can see through that, and despite Rachel’s desperation, writers have built her up as a girl smart enough to see when she’s being used. Or so I thought. C

Best Line:
Sue: Oh, I will bring it, William. You know what else I’m gonna bring? I’m going to bring some Asian cookery to rub your head with, ’cause right now you got enough product in your hair to season a wok.

Throwback episode of the week:

“Dawson’s Creek”: Pilot

Yeah, I’m getting into “Dawson’s Creek” 12 years too late. But it’s fun, not to mention one of the golden standards to which I hold all dramas on TV. Dawson is a compelling romantic, obsessed with Steven Spielberg, and has the vocabulary to rival Merriam Webster. Joey is a tomboy, sarcastic and snappy. Their friendship represents one of the most complex and endearing, and creator Kevin Williamson has a gift for dangling teenage angst and its associated gritty emotions in our faces without making it obnoxious. A

– Sonya Chudgar

Hello again blog world,

This post (accidentally) turned out to be an accessory guide! From bright colored scarves to sporty watches and fun purses – I’ve posted some accessories you’re not going to want to miss.

But first…

Lots of news from Chapel Hill happenings!

How many of you were at the GenerAction concert on April 12? Anoop Desai performed as an opener to Sean Kingston, and from a fashion aspect, he and his band members looked great! They all wore white tops, black ties and black slacks  —so classy. Anoop stood out in his violet button down and “stunna shades,” as one of my friends called them. He awed the audience with his soulful R&B voice and especially with his performance of “Carolina in My Mind.” Despite Anoop’s Hollywood status, he couldn’t deny his Chapel Hill roots.

I also met some fashion-forward ladies at the concert:

Ayana Allen, a senior at UNC, popped in a yellow scarf from H&M, a hand-me-down dress and a Puma clutch from Jamaica.  She looked magnificently glowing in the afternoon sun. Ayana is the perfect example of how accessories can completely illuminate an outfit!

Lucia Huddleston, a freshman at UNC, rocked an awesome over-the-shoulder Melie Bianco bag. Fendi knockoff?? Looks like it to me. Beige is the best color for shoulder bags because no matter what you’re wearing- they go with everything!

Speaking of over-the-shoulder bags, a one-stop shop for all your slouchy bag needs (not to mention my favorite store in the universe): Zara.

Never heard of Zara? It’s a Spanish based store that has trickled over to the U.S. Unfortunately, it has only made its way to big cities (the closest one is in Atlanta).  But Zara’s trendy and high quality products are timeless and guaranteed to spice up any outfit.

Here are a couple over-the-shoulder, envelope and doctor bag purses from Zara’s website: Notice the details on each.

Here’s something else I’ve been drooling over recently: bright colored watches – a must-have for the season. Everyone is familiar with (or owns) the Michael Kors watch, so why not do something different and try a DKNY watch? Like I’ve said before, this season is all about color. Check out these rockin’ hues:

And to top off your v-neck tee, tank top, cover up (I’m trying to ensue that this can be worn casually!) layer up with a chain necklace like this one from J.crew.  Take my advice: don’t be timid! Wear it with anything and everything. You’ll be sure to get a couple glances your way (from people you want to get glances from).

Now it’s time for…

Designer of the Week: Emporio Armani’s spring 2010 ready-to-wear

This collection is so diverse.  He incorporated polka dots, stripes, neon, draped scarves, splatter paint-type prints and so much more.  He really captures the youthfulness of the season.  This collection is all about having fun and daring to wear those colors you might be hesitant to wear!

That’s all!

Until next week,

Eloise Hamilton

Tim Burton in Wonderland

This past year, Tim Burton comes off a career-high with the simultaneous release of “Alice in Wonderland” and the opening of a collection from his personal oeuvre at the New York Museum of Modern Art.  Is this the Year of Tim Burton? Many die-hard fans would like to think so, but before we get all gushy, let’s examine the work.

It has all the makings of a Tim Burton classic. Johnny Depp stars, Danny Elfman scores, and Chris Lebenzon edits, but “Alice in Wonderland” won’t change cinema. On the surface, Lewis Carroll’s 19th century novel fits perfectly with some of Tim Burton’s larger themes of fantasy vs. reality and loss of innocence. And, of course, it lends a great deal of freedom to a visual master like Burton.

Interestingly, the writers present the remake as a sort of quasi-sequel. In the film, Alice is 19 years old.  By nature, Alice is a dreamer, and she doesn’t look too deeply into recurring dreams of adventures in a strange wonderland. Instead, she focuses on more pressing, real problems. Her family plots to marry her off to a boring and unworldly bachelor.

These problems threaten to snuff out her youth. Alice swears she sees the white rabbit and she begins her adventure by following him down the shaft of a rabbit hole. In Burton’s vision, I wonder if the appearance of the white rabbit isn’t the creation of a desperate dreamer whose mind is being taken over by …life. Although we’re invited to believe Alice has never visited Wonderland, there’s something familiar about these events.

Part of the fun stems from the filmmakers’ acknowledgement that the majority of the audience already knows Carroll’s story before they walk into the theater. They’ve taken a familiar story and put a fresh spin on it. The first hour of the film is a wonder. Every trick of the eye and surprising voice talent moves the viewer soaring through Wonderland. But sadly, the film doesn’t continue the momentum.

The second half of the film sags under the weight of its updated storyline. Fans will be disappointed when they realize Burton’s Wonderland resembles Middle Earth more than it does the 1951 Disney classic. Burton’s films have always relied on visual strength and less on literary prowess.  Ironically, in a film about the conflicting forces of fantasy and reality, Burton’s visual strength is trumped by a defined storyline that leaves little wriggle room for creative impulses.

For Burton, “Wonderland” is an aesthetic departure on a few planes. First, he used color to great dramatic effect. By desaturating the color of Alice’s insipid Victorian reality, he is able to contrast the vivid color of Wonderland, Alice’s fantasy.  Burton has already proven himself to be a master of shades of blacks and grays and heavy-handed primary colors (think “Edward Scissorhands”). Remember, this is a man who insisted that “Ed Wood” be shot in black-and-white.

Second, Wonderland is a world created almost entirely using CG effects. Burton dabbled in the use of this technique in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005), another remake. But here, Burton is limited only by what his imagination can put on the screen. Watching the film, I was reminded how disappointing it was to see such a visual storyteller flail in what is quickly becoming a computer-driven medium. Burton does more to stimulate my imagination with paper and pen than he does with all of the effects of “Alice.”

Kudos to Rejendra Roy, 37, chief curator of film at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Roy unveiled the museum’s Tim Burton exhibit to smashing success. In March, the New York Times reported that 450,000 people had visited the exhibit since it opened in November.

Exhibition pieces range in medium, from 2-D paintings, to drawings, and sculpture. Burton’s importance in film is finally being recognized as terms like “Burtonesque” are thrown attached to works that looks particularly dark or deranged. But the exhibit represents a nod for the creative genius of Tim Burton the man, not just the filmmaker.

I was only five years old when my jaw dropped onto the sticky floor of my second church: the movie house. Up until that point, my early childhood memories were fairly typical: pain and ecstasy.  I remember every stubbed toe and scraped knee.

But my earliest memory of joy came during a matinee showing of Tim Burton’s “Batman” (’89). To a five-year-old kid, it was the Sistine Chapel, the touch of life. One could argue that “Batman” didn’t change cinema either, but it sure did change that five-year-old boy.

– Jonathan Michels

Something in the Air

Well… I would have had a quad-time book review for you, except I didn’t spend too much time in the quad this week. Why?  Plant sex.

The pollen this year has gotten to be quite a nuisance for everyone who exists around campus and it always shocks me when I get to my car in the afternoons and find that instead of a nice, shiny silver, it is thoroughly yellow. It does not help that the road on which I park my car is lined with high-pollen producing trees.

But what is with this year?  Alright, I am certainly no native of central North Carolina so I have limited pollen seasons to compare with, and honestly I have been blessed to have not been affected by allergies in the past, but it seems that this year is exceptionally worse than last year.  Well… that’s because it is.   This is the worst pollen season since 2003.

What’s really behind the extreme pollen this year is a combination of weather factors, including the very cold winter we had back in January and February and the lack of any serious rain (and while Thursday night helped a little bit, it wasn’t enough). Unfortunately, there is little that we can do except hope for some rain. However, if the allergies have got you down, there are a few things you can do to ease your suffering:

  1. Stay indoors. Trees can’t pollinate the inside of your apartment as well as they can the outside.
  2. Keep your A/C running. The fan will filter out the air.
  3. Drink lots and lots of water.
  4. Over-the-counter allergy medications are available at Student Stores.
  5. If you’re up all night coughing because of your allergies, sleep on your stomach. It will help you sleep through the night.

Anyways, I hope this helps you all out.  This whole mess should be over in a few weeks.   I should be back next week with another review of something (I just got a bag full of reader’s copy books and I’m totally excited!).

– Samantha Ryan

Fashion Forward

Hello readers!

I am an aspiring fashionista looking to experiment in the world of fashion blogging.  I will try to bring you style updates, new trends and hits of the season through pictures and commentary.  Although I admit I begin with little experience in this field, my main goal is to serve you.  Let me know what you think!


H&M- Cheap and Chic…without the chic

Been to the new H&M at Crabtree Mall in Raleigh yet? In my opinion, there are two words to describe it: Epic Tease.  The cheap and trendy retail store that has finally made its way to North Carolina is stocked with cotton, oversized t-shirts and sweaters that might be easily confused with pajamas.  Don’t get me wrong, if you’re looking for some good basics, H&M is the place to go.  But where’s the trendy, unique pieces that make you think, “Yes! I’m going to look fashionable and no one will know that I spent $30 on this outfit”? It’s hard to tell whether the store was out of stock, headquarters sent nothing to the new Raleigh location or H&M just has a weak collection for the spring.

Your thoughts?

Despite the green haze that seems to be covering everything these days, spring is absolutely the best season for color. I have a habit of ripping out pages of magazines when I see things that I like.  Here’s a collection of what I consider essentials for the season:

A good pair of comfy peep-toe heels are crucial because a) they go with everything and b) they show off your perfectly manicured toes (duh). Make sure they’re comfy!

Michael Kors and Stuart Weitzman

Saks Fifth Avenue

Saks Fifth Avenue

Saks Fifth Avenue

Forever 21

Another essential for the spring: a little decorated jacket with details on the shoulders. It’s the perfect accent to any outfit. HINT: If you’re looking for something a little more towards your price range, check out old trusty Forever 21. Forev is so great, isn’t it?

Yigal Azrouel

Saks Fifth Avenue

Cut-outs. Asymmetric slivers of missing cloth equals sexy, chic dresses. These dresses are flattering on everyone because they draw the eye to your exposed skin! I am also all about showing off your shoulders.  One-shoulder dresses are effortlessly classy.

Comfy-cute is the way to go, especially given everyone’s busy lifestyles.  You can make an effortlessly chic outfit with 3 ingredients: a decorated t-shirt, a patterned skirt and a belt. Accessories also help if you’re looking to add a little more pizzazz.

And who would’ve thought the jean-jacket could make a come back?  Love it.

J. Crew

Sequins. Tibi Begonia Sequin Dress – hot, hot, hot. It’s casual, dressy, flirty and classy – what’s not to love? The shoes are great as well.

Scarves. Thanks, Diana, for letting me stalk you down to take a pic!  I love the way she has the scarf wrapped around her neck; it’s almost like a necklace.  This is easy and it adds so much flavor to the outfit.  By the way, her bag is from Ecuador (how cool!).

Diana Amaya

And finally (drum roll please)….

Designer of the Week: Valentino’s Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear Collection (my personal fave)!

With nostalgic ruffles, big bows and glimmering textures, this collection takes baby-doll chic to the next level.

Also notice the details on the backs of the shoes. Ahhh so great!

– Eloise Hamilton