May 30, 2008

Graduation Dresses II

Of course my thoughts on graduation dresses could not all be expressed in just one post. I do love to overanalyze things and this is a topic that has occupied my thoughts for quite some time now (in between, 'Why oh why, is paper writing so hard? It should've gotten easier after four years...'). So here are some more of my thoughts:
Usually the saying goes, 'when all else fails, turn to the LBD.' I think graduation is the exception, because it would just be! But if you must, I think these black dresses with some prints and patterns would be a great option to offset the blackness (left: Donna Ricco, right: Cynthia Steffe). I actually quite like the Cynthia Steffe. The cutting is simple and the pattern is subtle but interesting.
In the case for graduation, I think the saying should be, 'when all else fails, turn to the white dress.' Here we have a very classic white dress from Theory (left). Maybe you can add personality to it with some accessories? The other day, I saw graduation pictures of people with pearl necklaces and matching earrings, and it looked very elegant. For a bit more fun, this dress from Carmen Marc Valvo (right) is cute.
Of course, all else has not failed yet. You might want to go to the other extreme and go for bright florals. That would definitely brighten up the gown. The thing about graduation dresses, is that they should be daytime, but not too casual, maintaining a bit of modesty and decorum.
That is a hard line to balance. You'd notice that I haven't picked anything too revealing nor too casual so far. The trick for floral dresses is to choose one with a clean cutting so it won't look too much.
You can also take a book from my page (I think I've decided on wearing my purple Marc by MJ dress from the last post) and go for a dress with a simple cutting but a bold color. I LOVE the simple yet elegant cutting of the blue Burberry dress (left), even though this blue is not my best color. My best color is of course, purple, like this purple on the Rory Beca dress (right).
I know I said nothing too low cut, but if you can carry it off, I LOVE this purple Nanette Lepore dress (left). The details are just so feminine and PRETTY. On the opposite end, there is this bolder block dress (right), from Theory. Whichever one suits your personality better.
Another great summer color (especially for SS08 as it is THE color) to think about is yellow. It is summery, refreshing, not too girly nor too dark and just super fun. There is this simple one from Vince (left). But personally I ADORE this yellow block dress from T Tahari (right). My friend got this (and I hope she keeps it!). The cutting is simple and elegant, and the block colors highlight the cutting of the dress, making it even more flattering for the wearer. Come to think of it, I want a yellow dress like this too!

Image Source: Saks, Nordstrom, Shopbop and Bloomingdales

May 27, 2008

Cannes Festival Fashion 2008

Now that Cannes is over, it is time to admire the dresses! Its not quite as fun to look at as the ones from the Costume Institute, but we got to take our joy where we can find them.
Best dress definitely goes to Natalie Portman. I love how all her outfits are so cute, funny, girly and yet she still looks elegant.
I love the flirty red tiered dress! Not so hot on this black/white number though. It doesn't look very well made. Nor particularly flattering.
Something more sophisticated. Cate Blanchett looks great in Armani. Mischa looks stunning too in that rich royal blue gown. Though I think she looks a little too sophisticated for her age.
Aishwarya Rai looks classic in that silver dress. And I absolutely adore the back and the long train of Penelope Cruz's cream Marchesa dress.
Now onto the disasters. How did Chanel come up with these two hideous creations to adorn Madonna and Gweneth Paltrow with? Though Madonna's dress actually makes Gweneth's dress look not so bad! Dita von Teese looks pale and ghostly in this green Christian Lacroix creation. Ugh. She looks much better in the simple white wrap dress.
Linsday Lohan looks like she's wearing an expensive green Persian rug. Angelina Jolie actually looks quite pretty here . The cutting of this Max Azria dress quite her current figure perfectly. I also love how she chose to wear minimal make-up. She already naturally glows from her condition. The only thing though is that I don't like this color. It just looks so.... earthy and dirty. She'd look much better in a more vibrant color.
Milla Jovovich needs to fire or hire (if she hasn't already got one) a stylist. And go eat something. Are those rib bones I see (right in green)?

Image Source: NY Mag and Style Dash

May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

Finally, the Thanksgiving of the Spring/Summer season! I already took advantage of the opportunity on Thursday (when Bloomies had their Girls Night Out) and snatched this cardigan I've been eying for a long time at more than half price off. But in case you still haven't been out and about, here are a few of my favourite sales picks from online boutiques: I am loving the vibrant colors and the flirty ruffles on these dresses from Catherina Malandrino (left) and Julie Haus (right). They are the perfect summery party dresses!
Something more classic, there are these two party picks from Cynthia Rowley (left) and Velvet (right). The thing about the Velvet dress though is that it might be more perfect for fall/winter, since they're long sleeved and black- even though black is perfect year round.
Something more glam, I like this sequins top from Vanessa Bruno (left). It is simple, matte but still glam. And these gold heels from Kors is also great. The peep toe makes it summery and the heels are just right and not too thin for a night of dancing.
In the daytime, we have this looks from Marc by Marc Jacobs (left). I love the retro preppiness of that block patterned polo. And I like how the shorts are tailored. Then there is this colorful top from Catherine Malandrino (right), which just looks super fun!
I love this pink top from Foley + Corinnna. I have something similar in black, but this shade just looks so much more fun! And this Karen Zambos dress (right) is simply adorable. I can imagine someone walking along a beach/resort-like area wearing it. Oh and its patriotic too!
Speaking of patriotic, so are these strappy sandals from Marc by Marc Jacobs (left). I've actually been eying these for some time too. I love the bright colors, the solid heels and the platform, which makes me think that they will be comfortable to walk in while still giving me height. They'd be perfect as my casual summer sandals for daily use. My concern is that the straps will hurt (they are thin after all) and since I've not seen it in real life, I fear it would not measure up to my expectations. And what if I get tired of them after a few weeks? They're not exactly the most "classic" style. Though it is 50% off now and the deal is actually quite good........

Another fun platform to look at are these Chloe's (right). They actually look more comfortable, considering the thick straps and all.
More casual shoes (both by Marc by MJ)! I have these red heels in white from last last season and thats why I'm loving the elegant peep toe style. They even seem to have improved the sole too! The material they used for the sole of the white heels last season was just not a good choice for summer shoes. Very absorbing and suffocating. Meh. (Though to solve that problem, you can always just add a pair of fragrant insoles in from Summer Soles ). Then there are these flip flops. Not sure if its worth getting Marc by MJ flip flops, but I saw a girl wear it in the elevator the other week, and the color is just great!

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Image Source: Intermix Online and Shopbop

May 23, 2008

Lanvin Flats

When the Lanvin flats became a hit back a year or so back, with people like Nicole Richie, wearing it everywhere in different colors, I did not see the attraction. They honestly did not look any different from standard flats and I did not see where the $500USD price tag came from. They don't even have heels!
Out of curiosity though, I tried on a pair of red patent Lanvin flats (similar to the one above) the other day at Barneys- and I think I'm finally understanding where the price tag comes from. Even though it is about as thin as any other flats, they are REALLY comfortable. Like amazingly so. Seriously. I noticed the difference right after I tried it on. The sole was cushiony- like sneakers! I don't know how they do it. Even in patent leather, the scrunchy thing is super soft. Now I know what all the rave was about.

Still though, the price is a bit steep for flats. Maybe if they were $300.

Image Source: Barneys

May 22, 2008

Graduation Dresses I

Four years ago, I never thought 2008 would ever come, let alone June 2008 (my graduation!). I'm not ready for the real world yet (I may never be)! But now that it is fast looming ahead, I figured I should just try to concentrate on one thing for now- convocation! This four hour event (and the piece of paper I will receive at the end) is the culmination of four years of hard (most of the time anyway) work. This is the liminal event that will mark my entry into the real world! For such an important event, I think the PERFECT graduation dress is called for. I know, for most of the time it will be covered by the gown (that is what my mom said anyway), but come on, the gown is NOT exactly very flattering. These days, I've noticed that a lot of people like to take a few pictures with AND without their gowns on during graduation. The thought process began when the SS08 collections started filtering into the stores. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, but I figured that I'd just KNOW once I see it (kind of the same theory I have for men :P). The "moment" came back in March when a friend, HG and I decided to check out the new Marc by Marc Jacobs collection in the store. We ooh-ed and ahh-ed (very discretely of course) over the new collection and then I saw this dress and said, "Ooh, this dress is cute! Hey, maybe I can wear it for graduation!" It was just an offhanded comment, but the idea took root and when I went home, I thought more about it. I certainly didn't want to wear black to graduation- I'd be black enough in my completely black gown and black cap, with my black hair. Purple is not very conventional, but it IS my favourite color and this will definitely stand out from the crowd. Its youthful and it compliments my skin tone perfectly. The style is a bit of retro. I thought I wanted to look classic for my graduation (so my pictures would look timeless), but then my friend said that the whole point of pictures is to remember the event, and therefore I should also remember the fashion during the time of the event too. She had a point. And so, HG and I went back the store and tried it on. It looks great on me! After mulling over this for another month, I finally got it. The only thing is that the chest area (again!) needs a bit of altering. Since the dress is in HK right now and I'm in Chicago though and there's barely any time in between..........that is going to be a problem. I'll figure something out.
At the back of my mind though, I keep wondering if I should stick with something more conventionally graduation like after all. Read: something with a more classic design with a more pastel like, floral or white pattern. Naturally I thought of BCBG. They are currently having excellent sales too! Unfortunately though, the pickings this season are thin- especially in the store! I thought about this dress (left) that so resembles dresses from Marc by MJ and Juicy Couture from seasons past. A friend of mine wore the Marc by MJ version for her graduation and looked cute. And I did absolutely LOVED the Juicy Couture version. Unfortunately though, I thought this one was a bit too short and not very appropriate for the occasion. And so, I turned to this elegant, black and white floral print dress. I actually really like it. It is very proper, classic, feminine and not too black. Unfortunately, it ran out of my sizes online (its on sale!) and it isn't even available in stores anymore.
Then I stopped by the dress floor at Bloomies and tried on a bunch of dresses. I am in LOVE with these two dresses. The strapless one (left: from BCBG, though not available in store or online!),is actually absolutely PERFECT as a graduation dress. It is very simple, elegant and just super pretty. The little bubbly bottom, is just so and adds a bit of the "now" in. It fits perfectly on me too, even though I'm flat. I was hesitant at first though because it doesn't look quite day time and can look a bit prom-like. But today, when I went to "visit" it at Bloomies again, it was GONE. It was such a good sell, that it is SOLD OUT after 2 weeks on the rack and not even on sale (at $300)!!!! Of course, now that it is sold out, it only looks more and more perfect to me!!!! I cannot stop staring at the picture now and mentally hitting myself for not just getting it when I saw it!

The other dress (right) is from Plenty and it is THE most perfectly fitted dress. It is the epitomes of elegance and style. It is feminine and pretty, without exposing too much skin. It looks absolutely GORGEOUS on too. My ONLY problem with it, is the high neck. Nothing against high necks in general- just that it would poke out from under the V neck of my graduation gown, which would not be pretty. This would be THE perfect dress if I had a wedding to go to. Anyone want to invite me to a wedding some time soon?

Image Source: Net a Porter and BCBG

May 20, 2008

Forever 21 Summer Dresses

Now that SS08 is upon us (or at least it SHOULD be- I don't understand why it is still so cold!), I really want a very bright and colorful summer dress. Nothing too fancy. Just a simple, colorful jersey dress that I can wear casually to class or whatnot. Preferably a cheap one. What better place to look for one then Forever 21? And so, the other day, I went into the new store on Mag Mile (the one that replaced Virgin Records) to look for one.
At first, I was thrilled. They had lots of simple jersey dresses in a range of super bright colors at really cheap prices (i.e. $10-20)- exactly what I was looking for! So I grabbed as many as my arms can support and went to try them on in the changing room.

NONE of the dresses I tried fit me. I am not by all means, looking for something that fits me perfectly- just something that fits me decently. But still, NOTHING did. I tried on the two dresses above. I know that its a bit low cut, but I figured I can adjust it and maybe wear a lacey spaghetti strap underneath. Unfortunately the chest bit was too loose.
Ok, I can accept that maybe those dresses won't fit me because I have no chest and it will probably fit others better. But then I tried these two above, which really shouldn't require too much of a chest, and they STILL didn't fit. For the yellow one (left), I think the back was too loose. And for the red one (right), it was the chest again. Is it too much to ask for a simple (spaghetti strapped perhaps?), bright, cheap jersey dress that fits ok? How hard can it be?

Maybe, I am just

Image Source: Forever 21

In Vogue Book Giveaway - the Winners

Congratulations to the winners (-you know who you are). Winners will all receive a copy of In Vogue: The Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine!

A few of our favourite quotes:

I love Vogue because it's continuously given me new ideas, new inspiration, new fashion fantasies. Vogue is a constant resource for new ideas for me."

"whenever I need ideas I pick up an old Vogue from my shelf....the interesting colors and shapes and mish-mashes that Vogue puts together get me fired up and excited"

"Vogue is also reflective of our times and world issues. It was in Vogue years ago that I read about the French Muslim girl who shaved her head because she was not allowed to wear her hijab."

"One of my favorite fashion photos was in the September 2004 Vogue issue where two models, clad in fur, cupcakes in tow are shot waking out of Magnolia Bakery. What I particularly liked about this photo is Vogue’s ability to capture glamour yet present some ironies; models eating cupcakes? wearing fur in environmentally conscious times? "

"The sheer allure and fantastical world of fashion that Vogue brings to me is unparalleled by many standards. Vogue is to me, a window into fantasies of beauty; a reason to be snobbishly proud of my love for fashion and the arts."

"bold FASHION yet veiled statements all the while visually encapsulating"

May 18, 2008

Too Much Skin

Now that the weather is finally warmer, everyone has been taking their summer dresses out for a stroll in the sun. And its nice. Adds a lot more color and shape to the monotonous winter hues in the streets.
Unfortunately for me though, I've also been seeing a lot of skin. Too much skin. Maybe I am just conservative,
but it really is not a pretty sight. A girl in class the other day was wearing a thin cotton summer dress with a very low v, very similar to the one shown above from UO. And for the three hour duration of the class, I could NOT stop staring at her chest! I am not being perverted here, its more like how people are drawn to look at a car wreck even though they know its going to be gruesome. The dress was just so LOW, it looked like her chest was going to spill out any minute with one of her wild gestures- and I don't think she was wearing a bra!

Personally I don't really have this problem because a) my chest is non existent b) I don't have a dress like that because I think it is too low cut, it doesn't fit me well and there is not a bra I can think of that will work (and going bra-less feels weird) c) even if I DO have such a dress, I'd probably wear something like a laced spaghetti strap underneath. Not that I am saying there is anything wrong with a dress of this cut. It can be very flattering on the right body shape. What I AM trying to say is that should you be wearing one PLEASE be aware not to expose too much skin. I don't mean to be a prude, but it is just not sexy or in any way aesthetically pleasing. Take in the straps. Wear something underneath. Anything.

And while we are on the subject of over exposure, if your summer dress happens to be super sheer like the one above, please remember to wear a slip or under-skirt underneath. We don't need to know what underwear you are wearing or the shape of your legs under the dress.

Image Source: Urban Outfitters

May 16, 2008

ANTM Cycle 10- Spoiler!

Its hard to believe that it has already been 10 cycles, but it has. And frankly, I'm surprised I still watch it. It used to be exciting and fun. But after 10 cycles, it has become repetitive and tame. Its hard to keep it fresh. We all expect extreme makeovers, awesome custom designed houses, cool photo shoots, fabulous prizes and exotic destinations. I guess its just habit and for lack of anything better to watch. So yes, spoiler alert.
After ten rounds, the talent pool in America must be getting thin, because I swear the quality of the girls just seem to get worse. One girl, Kimberly, managed to make it into the house and ended up quitting during the first elimination because she doesn't get the whole designer thing and wasn't interested in fashion.... um hello, wrong industry? It was unbelievable. And really, how can ALL the girls screw up their Covergirl commercial in Italian when 9 seasons of girls before them have done it, if not perfectly, at least passably?
Looking pass the comparison though, it was not a bad show. There was just enough drama between the girls to keep it interesting (with alarm clock episodes, passport dramas and lots of ganging up) and the photo shoots continue to be fun to watch. And Rome was nice. I want to go around in a segway too! But is it just me, or did they already go to Rome? Didn't they do a photoshoot at the Colosseum once, in the season where Shandi was in and she had that whole thing with the Italian guys?

They made an effort to spice things up though- and it was good. They got rid of the legendary style icon, Twiggy and replaced her with the legendary supermodel, Paulina Porizkova (even though I've not heard of her until now). It was a good move. She has Twiggy's grace and elegance but she also has Janice Dickenson's bluntness. It was hilarious (and so true) when she told Dominique that she looked like a transvestite. Plus, I was SUPER SUPER SUPER impressed that Versace deemed them worthy enough to sponsor. It is not quite an official Versace show, with dresses from last season, but its still quite a step up for ANTM.
Behold the newest America's Next Top Model- Whitney a *gasp* plus size model! I do think that it is about time a plus size model won and Whitney is not a bad choice. She is very gorgeous and well proportioned. And out of all the plus size models who have ever graced this show, she is the most confident about her full size figure and never had those rather annoying "oh no, I feel so depressed because I feel so fat compared to the other girls here" moments. Also, she did have the best Covergirl shot and did a good job on the runway (comparatively anyway, her walk was a bit too jaunty for my taste).
As much as I applaud them for finally choosing a plus size model to win though, I honestly didn't think Whitney deserved to win. Besides the last haul, she did not consistently do a good job. In fact, I thought she was quite mediocre and I really don't see any improvement in her photos. Does her model face not look the same towards the end of the competition (right) as she did at the beginning (left)? I also did not see how her personality got any less fake (one of the judges biggest criticism of her- and I agree) in the end either.
I thought Anya (who came in second) deserved to win much more. Her accent was a bit annoying at first, but in the end, I grew to really like her personality, its always very optimistic and infectious. She also consistently did a good job, winning loads of competitions, and taking really great model-y photos (very effortlessly too!). Her only downfall was her Covergirl photo and her runway walk, which was really not that great. Talk about bad timing.
Some of her more amazing shots. On a side note, I thought the idea to take photos underneath a plastic screen with water was really stupid. You can hardly see the model. They just look like blurry blobs. What's the point? And the photo shoot with the raw meat was just really disgusting. I'm not even going to post a picture of that.
Who goes into ANTM without a passport anyway, knowing that they will need to travel abroad? I was surprised she wasn't eliminated just for that. Fatima had her moments, and I do admire her for going through so much in her life (being a refuge and having underwent genital mutilation and all- talk about too much information!). But most of the time, I thought she played the victim a bit too much and she reminded me a bit of that very vacant looking model from last season (Ebony?). Admittedly, she does look remarkably like Iman and did improve in the competition. But looking at her last photo shoot, where she got extra frames (right), she didn't improve quite enough....
I was surprised Dominique (the transvestite), made it so far in the competition. That girl in the competition (remember Jade?), the only thing going for her is that she REALLY wanted to win and she tried REALLY hard. She really did improve a lot throughout the competition. This last photo of her (right) actually looks cool. But she really didn't have much talent. Even after the makeover, she looked old and unmodel-like. She can't dress for her life. And she is kind of strange with her alarm clock thing and habit of referring herself in the third person.
Some of my favourite girls were Katarzyna (left) and Lauren (right in green). I did not find Katarzyna boring and lacking in personality at all. I thought she was really likeable and really pretty! And as for Lauren, she really did take lovely photos. I kept on waiting for her to make a miraculous improvement on her absolutely tragic runway walk, but it just never happened. Doesn't she looks SO cute in that green coat in the jet setting photo shoot? She is the only one that pops out for me in this picture.

Amis was crazy. Aimee had a great makeover. She looked lovely with her straight bangs and auburn hair color. I don't usually comment negatively on people's looks because I know that beauty is supposed to be in the eye of the beholder and all that, but did anyone else thought Marvita looked really scary and wondered how she ever made it onto the show at all? No matter what angle I look at her, I just don't see it. As for the rest of the girls.... they were not terribly memorable. I think I have the show figured out now though. Up until the last four girls, it was really obvious at the beginning of each episode which girl is going to be eliminated, because they'd focus more on them at the start about their struggles and all. When Amiee got eliminated they focused on her struggled with being too young. When Katarzyna went off, they emphasized how she had no personality.

I wonder what they will do next time......they can have a competition for America's Next SUPER Model soon and have all the current "Top" models compete!

Image Source: CW

May 15, 2008

A Light Eye Cream

I started using eye moisturiser when I first started using skincare. It's always been an important part of my skincare regime since the eye area seems like the first area that aging can be seen obviously. I mention this because I know plenty of girls who don't use eye moisturiser. (Whenever I find out, I try to encourage them to start using eye moisturiser, sometimes even physically sampling and promoting eye creams at counters to them, but almost no one ever listens to me!) Since I have combination/ slightly oily skin, I always stick to oil-free eye gels. The two that I used a lot were by ~H2O+ and Laneige.

Anyways, ever since obvious fine lines have started to appear under my eyes last year, I have started to wonder whether my eye moisturiser wasn't enough. Logically, I know I am simply aging and have seriously bad sleeping habits. But it really hit home last summer, when the salesladies at various beauty counters stopped recommending me water-based eye moisturiser and started recommending me the slightly heavier creams. So it was definitely time for me to 'up' my eye moisturiser from eye gels to light eye creams.

Thankfully a year ago, BG and her friend gave me a thank you gift -Caudalie Contour Cream Eyes and Lips. They were spending a term in Paris back then and said Caudalie products are cheaper and worth it there. So last fall (07), I started to use it and I really liked it! It was a great eye cream in that it was just what I was looking for: it was not just another water-based moisturiser since it was not oil-free, but it was light -it didn't feel sticky or thick and most importantly, didn't clog up the pores around the eye area. To be honest, I have no idea whether it actually helped with fine lines or other eye are problems, but it's not like I can tell with other eye products either, so I've decided to be satisfied with any decent preventive eye cream.

My tube of Caudalie is about to be used up and now I'm in search for my next light eye cream. Notice that I keep on emphasising 'light'. There are simply too many eye creams out there that are too heavy for my combination skin.
The description of Clinique's All About Eyes sounds like it's just what I'm looking for. But the reviews over at Makeup Alley make it seem mediocre, and All About Eyes Rich sounds too heavy. Plus I'm hesistent with Clinique products because I've tried a few out (like Moisture Surge) two years back, but I have to say I wasn't impressed with any of the products.
Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avacado is another candidate. I've already tried it out from samples and well, I'm not too sure what to think about it. It's certainly not a very heavy eye cream so in that aspect, it should fit my criteria, but I think it's just slightly too heavy. And after testing it out for a few weeks, it didn't seem very moisturising.

If you know any good ones, please recommend me a light eye cream! I need to buy a new one really soon!

May 13, 2008

Cravat Shirt

The other week during the Bloomies sale, I was struck by a need to buy something- anything- just to take advantage of the "40% on top of sale price" discount. Late for dinner and pressed for time, I randomly grabbed the first thing that caught my eye in my size: this black top with a white cravat from the Bloomies house brand, Aqua (below left). I figured if I really didn't like it I can always return it later.
Ever since I have been wavering between love and hate. On the love side, the cravat detail is really cute and very retro French chic (as HG describes it). And I imagine it would look really cute peeking from under a blazer. It doesn't look too flattering on the hanger, but it doesn't look to bad on me. On the hate side, the contrast is a bit too sharp and on first impression, the cravat looks a little bib-like and over all looks a bit waitressy (at least, that was the first reaction of one of my friends upon seeing it). Though the cravat does seem to work on this Isaac Mizrahi dress (right) making it look feminine and sophisticated.........
Another thing is that I can't decide how I'd wear it. I know I said it'll look cute from under a blazer, but if I pair it with black pants, it will look work-like, like the Valentino Red dress shirt here (right), which is not entirely bad, but if I wore it with a black blazer, I'd look very black ....... Casually I could try it with jeans like with the Marc by Marc Jacobs shirt above (left). I actually tried it with my khaki skinny jeans the other day, but it looked a bit odd. Maybe blue jeans? A skirts? Maybe I just don't know how to rock the retro French look.........
I should really stop thinking so much about a $40 top.

But what do you reckon? Is this a keeper or not?

Image Source: Saks and Net a Porter

May 12, 2008

Washington DC

Figuring that one should really see the capital of the United States at least once in their life, I stopped by Washington DC the other weekend. And I've got two words for DC, big and tiring! We spent the first day walking around the mall (the area where all the monuments were). Everything didn't LOOK that far on the map and in reality, you can actually see the next monument from one. But when you actually WALK the distance, it is much much farther. Factoring in the blazing sunlight (not that we're not grateful that it wasn't pouring rain), lack of efficient public transport and the lack of trees on the way, it felt like we were trying to reach a mirage in a desert. Besides the distant though, once we reached these mirages, they were actually quite pretty and picturesque. I love how everything is perfectly planned and symmetrical. It makes such a pretty picture. Above is a view of the Washington Monument (left) from the World War II Memorial (right). I think this is one of the best views of the Washington Monument, because its close enough to see and it is perfectly framed by the American flags and the fountain. And the World War II Memorial is absolutely gorgeous.
Another very good view of the Washington Monument is from the top of the Lincoln Memorial (above). Now we know why that strip of water is called the reflecting pool. Absolutely stunning and well....monumental.
The Lincoln Memorial (above) itself is not so bad either. Designed after a Greek temple, it was quite gorgeous.
Unfortunately for my legs, all these monuments looked ever more breathtaking lighted up at night. So that night, we retraced our steps that afternoon and went back to see the monuments. But I think the scene was totally worth it! At the other end of the mall there is Congress (left) and off to the side the Jefferson Memorial (right). So we didn't quite reach these monuments, but in our defense, we went too late to get tickets for Congress (they give out tickets every morning for visiting slots) and the Jefferson Memorial was all the way across those waters!! Besides, I think we managed to better appreciate its beauty from afar anyway- the overall effect of the architect is more visible this way!

Before you wonder, no we did not go to the White House nor the Library of Congress. Apparently you had to get permission and book one month in advance to enter the White House. And we didn't realize that the Library of Congress was closed on Sundays until Saturday night!
We did however visited a few museums. First the Museum of Natural History. I thought the elephant in the middle was from that movie, "A Night in a Museum," but apparently not. The most interesting thing in the museum for me though was not the special butterfly exhibit, but the Hope Diamond. At 45.52 karats, it is one of the world's most famous diamonds, known for its clarity, rare deep blue color and history. I was truly enraptured.
Then we hit the National Gallery of Art. The collection didn't quite compare to the Lourvre, but it was still a lot of fun. We especially loved the west garden. If I had time, I'd sit there and read and book and enjoy the ambiance.
We also loved their outdoor exhibit. It was a lovely artistic garden. It made for a really nice stroll. There was also a fountain in the middle, which I read turns into an ice skating rink in the winter. How cool! For dinner, we went to Cafe du Parc, which is an absolutely darling little French bistro next to the Williard Hotel, which according to the guidebook, is a historical landmark. It certainly was very pretty and quaint! We loved the atmosphere. The service was excellent- our waiter, Olivier, was awesome. And the food, by a celebrity chef apparently, was also great. Try the lamb and the fries!
During our tour of the mall and the old downtown, we did notice that besides tourists, Washington DC was really quiet. There were barely any people and we didn't even see any Walgreens or CVS! Where are the people? Turns out civilization was over in Georgetown on the weekends (It is also where the Ritz and the Four Seasons is- go figure). It is absolutely THE cutest and quaintest town ever. The shops were darling and actually interesting (Intermix, H&M, Zara and basically any shop you'd want to shop in, its there). And the college campus was just gorgeous (left)!
They also have this street called Canal Street, which is absolutely charming. They had an actual canal and the houses lining the canal were so quaint. There was even an old man on the boat (left), that completed fitted the picture.
Off the side, they also have a nice little waterfront, where some restaurants are. We stopped by there for lunch. The food was not exactly top notch, but it was decent and the atmosphere was excellent- especially with the perfect weather. Sigh... I just LOVE LOVE LOVE Georgetown. Wish I'd applied there for college.......

Over all I thought Washington DC was definitely a place I should visit at least once and I'm glad i did. A few tips though:

a) Try to land at the Regan Airport. It is MUCH closer and a LOT cheaper than Dulles.
b) Cabs here oddly work in zones and not meters. Going only 2 miles can easily come out to be $12.
c) Plan ahead and book tickets to see all the places (going up Washington Monument, into Congress and the White House)
d) Don't go when it is the height of summer or midst of winter. You'll never survive the walk needed. And bring sneakers. Try to go during Cherry Blossom season (April), I heard its pretty lined along the Jefferson Memorial.