must have monday: poise

Occasionally we all melt under pressure. I might be doing so literally and figuratively right now with the discovery of a busted central air conditioning system (and corresponding water leak in my basement) smack in the middle of our first mini-heat wave. (I say mini heat wave because come August, days in the high 80s-low 90s will be cherished.) But sitting here sweating it out at my computer, the epitome of a hot mess, trying to calm myself as I drink an iced vanilla latte, I got to thinking that beyond purses, scarves, shoes and sexy lingerie, the best accessory a person can carry around with them is their poise.

It isn’t always easy to remain calm, cool and collected, especially if you are a Sagittarius like I am. We react passionately first, ask for forgiveness minutes later. I’ve had an increased number of outbursts lately, much to my disappointment. More than I want an iconic handbag or the perfect summer sandal, I’d like to have a constant source of poise to get me through the tougher times. By poised, I do not mean detached; I wear my heart on my sleeve and hopefully you love me for it. Nor do I mean cold. Stoicism can help when we need to bite our tongues or not overreact to a situation, but it isn’t my natural inclination. Sometimes deep breaths work; sometimes they result in hyperventilating. Sometimes a glass of wine works; sometimes it takes a few glasses.

As with most things in life, finding balance seems to be the key. I am committed to channeling more poise into my manner of conducting myself and am seeking a role model to emulate. And incentive. Every self-improvement project deserves a good reward at the end.

I’m thinking a perfectly poise-worthy vintage (i.e. used) Chanel bag.


champagne or gunmetal?


Same dress, two different colors. I’m partial to the champagne gown pictured on the right. Lee is partial to its gunmetal sister pictured on the left. Let’s settle it here with an electronic arm wrestle. No, seriously, please feel free to weigh in with your favorite.

(For those who are wondering what happened to the pink over budget dress, according to Lee the material was very delicate and she had already noticed some snags in the fabric, not acceptable for an $800 dress. She was worried about the gown standing up to a cross-country airplane ride, not to mention the prospects of getting multiple wears out of it.)

Ultimately, Lee has to make her own decision based on what she feels most comfortable wearing, but I champagne plan champagne to champagne work champagne on champagne subtly champagne swaying champagne her champagne to champagne choose champagne my champagne favorite.



Facebook has forever altered the true meaning of the word “friend.” After all, I’m friends with people I haven’t seen in more than 20 years. I’m friends with people I barely know. Well, not anymore since I combed through my so-called friend list yesterday and weeded out 100 people whom I’m pretty sure I’d pass on the street without recognizing. These are people I haven’t had a real conversation with in years, if ever, and people whose posts I frankly never read.

I admit at times I could be a Facebook friend glutton, which is why I had friends from high school who never spoke ten words to me when we were actually there together, but lately I’ve been feeling a little dirty about the size of my Facebook universe. While the pages of the chelsea chronicles are open for all to read, and I certainly am not shy about bearing my soul here, you choose to read my musings. While I personally might find my own Facebook posts entertaining, it’s presumptuous for me to think that just because we once shared an English teacher, a zip code or drinks at a bar that you want my daily thoughts popping up in your stream. Or that I want to read yours.

Facebook serves a purpose for sure, one that I appreciate. After all, it helped me reconnect with my long lost cousin, Larisa. I have grown closer through the wires with people like Angie in Chicago. It’s also a great tool for cyber-stalking. And it’s nice to have a mechanism for keeping in touch with those friends and family members whom time or distance make routine communication challenging. But do I follow my best friends’ posts religiously on Facebook? Not really. I know what’s happening in their lives without social media.

I also have in my life people dear to me whose profiles you won’t see on my page. Our meaningful connections transcend the interwebs.

Recently, I’ve considered closing my Facebook account altogether. Until yesterday, I had close to 640 friends. I am chagrined that I still have have in the 530s, but I feel better about the depth of the connection I have to the remaining friends on my list.

pretty in pink

After hearing my complaint from afar that she did not try on enough color, Lee sent me these never before seen pictures of her in the following gowns.

This fuchsia Badgley Mischka dress is everything I love. It’s playful. It’s young without being prom-y or slutty. It’s mature without being matronly. With alteration of the straps, it would be sexy without being too revealing.

Sadly, it’s double her budget.

Lee dutifully tried on some of the dresses that had been pinned by her team of consultants, with the following results (in her own words):

1. Amsale Back Cutout Gown – the cap sleeves didn’t quite work and it was too plain – very bridesmaidy.

2. BCBG Sophia gown – the material was too plain and bunched up in the back.

3. Tadashi Shoij Asymetrical Pleated – it was very nice, but lots and lots of material. And honestly, it wasn’t sexy enough.

4. Tadashi Shoji Draped Taffeta – it had no hanger appeal (just looked old ladyish) so I didn’t even try it on.

Two other options that are back in her budget stratosphere and still in the running include:

And this:

After talking to Lee, it sounds like the middle dress pictured here is in serious contention. She reports it has a nice swing when she walks and it will travel well. But it’s black. Sigh. I’m totally smitten with the pink dress, as is she, perfectly illustrating why people should never try on something outside of their price range. I still plan to lobby for her to find a way to make it work. (After all, lobbying is what I do.)

And I believe people should have those things they most want and love.

initial fashion show

Last night, as you may have seen, Lee was able to grab a friend and head to Friendship Heights for a little dress trying on action. As I had other Friday evening plans that I did not want to dispose of, I had to skip the fashionable fun, though I was kept up to date by Lee’s stand-in consultant.

As I sent around previously, here is option number one:

This dress is a great color and cut on Lee, but I have had a few people text me to say they think it could be aging. Now I wasn’t there to see it in person, so I cannot say for sure whether or not this dress has that unintended and dreaded effect. But I do want to issue a general warning to women against making yourself look more matronly with the wrong dress.I know how hard it is to find the right balance between too young and too old, but the perfect dress is out there. I just may take kissing a lot of frogs to find it.

I am told by Lee’s trusty photographer that option number two, the above-pictured champagne-hued dress is gorgeous in person. Kassie Rempel DC shoe goddess and founder of the soon-to-be-launced Kassie’s Closet, weighed in that she liked this dress, and her opinion means the world. I like the color and the one-shouldered cut, but if Lee chooses this option, I want to see her put her hair up. Since she is traveling and won’t have access to her regular hair stylist, my next project might be to find a good “how to up do” tutorial for her.

And last but not least, there was a third option that I did not get a chance to post last night. The color may be a little heavy for summer but I like the cut and can envision the flow as she dances the night away.

There were others tried on that even I haven’t seen. There was color. But these were the favorites. If you have a favorite, please feel free to chime in. If you have an alternative, we will look at that too.

A military ball awaits.