About Annie

Contributing writer for BCxRR. Junior at Boston College studying economics and math.

How to Wear 2012 Oscar Trends

Watching the red carpet coverage of the Oscars last night, I couldn’t get enough of the stars’ gowns this year. Though usually I can quickly write some off as “ew,” this year I was ooh-ing and aah-ing all over the place.

To pick my favorites would be to post nearly every photo, so instead I’m going to focus on some of the night’s most popular trends and how we mere mortals can rock them.

Trend: Peplum

Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton

Tina Fey in Carolina Herrera

$$$: Le Petite Robe Di Chiara Boni

$$: Nasty Gal

$: Forever 21

Trend: White

Milla Jokovich in Elie Saab

Shailene Woodley in Valentino

Rooney Mara in Givenchy

Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford

$$$: Cache

$$: Nordstrom

$: Lulus

Trend: Beaded and sequined details
(Milla deserves acknowledgment here as well, of course!)

Berenice Bejo in Elie Saab

Rose Byrne in Vivienne Westwood

Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji

$$$: Jovani

$$: Adriana Papell at Nordstrom

Badgley Mischka only $ when you rent it at RentTheRunway.com!

Trend: Textured skirts

Cameron Diaz in Gucci Premiere

Kristen Wiig in J Mendel

Viola Davis in Vera Wang

$$$: House of Fraser

$$: ASOS

$: Threadsence

Some of the Oscar gowns included here weren’t my favorites, and there were definitely some favorites that I did leave out. Check out here and here, where I got all of these shots, for plenty more!

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Spice Up Your Braid

Each morning I try not to walk out of my room with my hair simply down or in a ponytail… but it probably happens 75% of the time anyways. We college students have stuff to do! In an effort to combat my hair laziness, I have been collecting quick and easy ideas to spice up a typical side-braid or front-section-pinned-back.

See if you can try each of the three braids in this tutorial video, and not walk out of the room/house today with the same hairstyle you wear everyday. I know I’ll be rocking one of these today.

The fishtail works great with long hair, and with some mousse or hairspray can help tame rowdy layers that like to poke out of normal braids. Try this one down your back, across one shoulder, as pigtails, or do it to your ponytail to hide a bad hair day.

Second is the snake braid. This one has been getting popular on youtube hair tutorials lately, and I really like it as a way to pump up the old Lauren Conrad braid (to pin back the front section of your hair). You could also secure this with a clear elastic and let it hang straight down to add some fun to a great hair day (aka wearing it down).

Finally I go over the waterfall braid. I love doing this to curly (or curled) hair, because it adds an extra short layer to hair. By starting with a large chunk of hair you could continue this one around to the opposite shoulder! It may take a little practice, so have a mirror handy.

Dressing for Success: It’s Interview Week

The first few weeks back at school in January can be a kind of extended “internship hell week” for students, especially juniors. Having gotten a taste of the internship hunt last year as a sophomore, I am back this year with my game face on.

Last week was full of information sessions, interview preparation (BC’s Career Center is a fantastic tool, use it!), and a two-day career fair. I had to dress up every day, navigating my way through dress codes such as “business formal,” “business casual,” or “casual.” Every time one of these events came up in conversation, the question naturally arose: “What are you going to wear?!”

Interview hell week didn’t end with this weekend, however. More information sessions and plenty of interviews await us juniors this week (not to mention seniors looking for full-time work and sophomores getting an early start). Here’s my guide for how to dress and where to buy it, so you can spend your time preparing for the interview instead of stressing about your appearance.

Business Formal

When a company specifies “business formal” for an information session or interview, they mean a skirt- or pant-suit, button-up shirt, and heels. Honestly, this is probably the easiest dress code to master. Buy one great outfit that you feel really confident in, and keep it on hand.

Express Pant Suit

Express Skirt Suit

Express Button-up Shirt

J. Crew Pant Suit

Ann Taylor Button-up Shirt

Macy's Skirt Suit

Banana Republic Skirt Suit

 

Just make sure that you have one suit where you bought both the blazer and skirt/pants together, as the resident CSOM career adviser warned. Don’t worry about wearing the same outfit over and over. Most likely, the employers won’t notice; and if they do, they know many of us are broke college students trying to land a first “real” job.

Business Casual

“Business casual” is where things start getting tricky. Generally, you can’t go wrong with suit pants or a suit skirt and a nice top. I usually stick to a more basic button-up, but I have also seen dressy tanks and sweaters. Including the pair from your “business formal” outfit, have 2-3 bottoms in neutral tones (black, grey, brown) that you can mix and match with a few button-ups.

Gap Dress Pants

Banana Republic Top

Banana Republic Top

Casual

Last week, I was surprised to see one bank specify “casual” for the dress code at their information sessions. I stuck with one of my trusty button-ups, and paired it with skinny black pants and riding boots. When I arrived, I saw a mixture of outfits, from guys in complete suits with ties to a couple of girls in jeans and a button-up. I think the lesson I learned on this day is that when it comes to potential employers, over-dressing is always better than under-dressing.

Heels

At 5’8″, I rarely wear heels. But as a general rule I wear them every time I meet with a potential employer. They will never hurt your cause, rather improve your posture; and, we’ve all heard about studies that have suggested people in leadership positions tend to be a few inches taller than average. As girls we are lucky that we can artificially add a few inches to our height and look the better for it.

All of that said, make sure your heels are appropriate. Keep them at 2″-3″, neutral toned pumps.

Steve Madden Unityy Pumps

Stuart Weitzman Easily Pump

Kate Spade New York Madia

Express Heels

Look Alike for Less: Top, Jimmy Choo Logan d'Orsay Pump; Bottom, Payless Pump

Hair and Make-up

Just like your go-to business formal outfit, have a go-to beauty routine for days that you are meeting with potential employers. Ponytails are perfect, but you don’t have to be afraid to leave your hair down either. Just make sure to pin the front of it back so you aren’t tempted to fix or play with it (I am guilty of this). If you’re going to be tempted, pull it back.

Your approach to make-up should be similar to your approach to heels on the day of an interview. Definitely wear some to put your best foot forward and show that you care about your appearance. But keep it basic–it shouldn’t draw attention away from your scintillating personality and resume. Cover-up, blush, a pale eye shadow and mascara should do it.

Well, there you have it! Take an hour now to put together a few outfits and plan your beauty routine. Then when you have ten minutes to get changed between class and an information session, you won’t break a sweat! Good luck…

Tutorial: Taylor Swift Curls for Straight Hair

If you know me at all, you know that I’m doing one of two things in my spare time: cooking, or torturing my hair. I curl my hair a number of different ways, but I think these Taylor Swift-inspired curls take the most effort and have the best result. My hair is naturally very straight, and for a long time I thought I couldn’t get this result without naturally curly hair. Now that I’ve figured it out, I want to share my secrets with you all!

The Inspiration

I don’t use any special products, just a run-of-the-mill curling iron and hair spray. With that said, I highly suggest a small-barreled curling iron (like this one) and a decent hairspray. Check out the second video below for more information on the tools I used.

Before

After

A few final suggestions for people with hard-to-curl hair: try not to shower the day that you are going to curl your hair. The dirtier it is, the better the curl will hold. If you absolutely must wash your hair before curling, don’t use conditioner, and don’t use any other products besides maybe a curling moose. If you have the time, let it air dry.

Good luck! There are so many other ways I like to curl, braid, and style my hair, that I’m sure there will be more of these posts to come. So please let me know if this was helpful, or if there’s anything else you’d like to see! –Annie

New Year’s Eve Music: 2011 Top Hit Mash-Ups

It’s that time of year again. DJ Earworm has released his newest mash-up of the year’s hit songs, but he’s not the only one. The idea has become vastly popular, so I decided to sort through this year’s bunch and now I ask you: which 2011 mash-ups will you be playing this New Year’s Eve?

We have to start off with DJ Earworm. Though “United State of Pop 2009” is still my favorite, I think 2011’s version definitely better than the letdown of 2010.

Mashup-Germany’s “Top of the Pops 2011” has also gained a lot of attention this month. DJ Earworm meshes lyrics together in an extremely talented and entertaining way, but I actually prefer Mashup-Germany’s transitions. It feels more like a continuous song, but to each his own. Which do you prefer?

Although few (if any) of the songs used in this mash-up were from 2011, this video has risen to fame in 2011 for mashing nearly 40 songs live. I couldn’t leave it out.

As a Boston native spending New Year’s Eve in Florida, this Summer 2011 mash-up still seems fitting. It blends much longer sections of songs than the first couple videos, but has a fun dance-party feel and is perfect for reminiscing about these summer hits.

To top off the list, a friend-of-a-friend made this, and I was pretty impressed. Though I don’t love that most of the mix has the same background track, I was inspired that someone my age who’s only been releasing his own mash-ups since April produced this.

Happy New Year everyone! Let these mash-ups be a fond memory of 2011’s music, and I look forward to seeing what 2012 has in store for us! See you back at BC… –Annie

Christmas in Madrid

A few weeks ago I walked with a spring in my step through Puerta del Sol, filled with Christmas spirit. The giant electric Christmas tree was lit, the streets extending off were hung with lights, and all around me people vendors shouted “Lotería de Navidad! El Gordo, aquí!” I paused–when did I start associating the lottery with Christmas?

Spain’s Christmas lottery is one of the many traditions celebrated in Madrid every December; some of which were new to me, others very similar to my experiences in the US. Here are some of the ones that stood out to me:

This ad campaign was posted all over Madrid, especially in Metro stations. "Every Christmas, your dreams become possible; The Lottery... Dream of the biggest Big One in history."

El Gordo (the big one) is the nickname for Spain’s Lotería de Navidad (Christmas Lottery). El Gordo is actually the name of the Grand Prize, though the lottery is popular because of its extensive prize pool, resulting in numerous winners instead of only one Grand Prize.

Vendors selling tickets for the Christmas Lottery in Puerta Del Sol.

According to tradition, students draw the winning ticket number and a corresponding prize out of giant bowls (which you can see in the background of the first image), and sing the results live on national television. According to one tour guide, everyone buys tickets for the Christmas lottery, even people who normally don’t gamble. Image source.

In early December, the entrance to El Corte Ingles (a gargantuan Spanish department store) becomes Cortylandia, a favorite tradition of Spanish children. It reminded me of the “It’s a Small World After All” ride at Disney, but giant: toys wave their arms and spin around, all the while an annoyingly high-pitched song plays through speakers. Kids gather on the hour to see the spectacle.

The streets of Madrid were hung with lights at the end of November. With no Thanksgiving, who’s to determine when decorations can go up? Living in the suburbs at home, I was used to houses and yards covered in lights, but in the city this festivity continued through the lighting of streets, plazas, Christmas trees, and the sides of buildings.

Plaza Callao

Calle Gran Vía

Puerta del Sol

Chueca: my home!

Christmas Markets popped up in early December in most of Europe’s major cities. Some of them sold lights and decorations, some sold handmade crafts, many sold nativity figurines, and many had stalls and booths inspired by other European countries (selling German sausages, Austrian candies, Spanish chorizo, etc.) I got to see not only Madrid’s markets in Plaza Mayor, but also Christmas markets in Paris (my favorite!), Rome, and Florence.

Madrid: Plaza Mayor

Paris: Champs Elysees

Rome: Piazza Navona

Forence: Piazza Santa Croce

Part of the reason Spain’s Christmas spirit is so overwhelming is because according to the Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas, in 2011 70% of Spaniards follow Catholicism, followed by 25% who claim to be “non-religious,” with a mere 2.7% who responded that they follow other religions. Regardless of your religious affiliation, if you enjoy Christmas decorations, I would highly suggest traveling through Spain and the rest of Europe in December.

A mí me gusta bailar

This finals season seems to have been particularly brutal for everyone. At least according to the number of Facebook statuses relating to the topic. As I finally finished my last, and most excruciating, final of December this evening (I have one in January #morestudyabroadproblems) — I think its time for a victory dance.

 

You already know my favorite Madrid song, “Danza Kuduro,” so I decided to ask my dormmates for their favorites. Well, I was going to ask them, but when I got home they were literally already dancing around my room in their final Madrid retail purchases. Ali had “Vamos a Los Levels” playing, a remix of “Vamos a La Playa” and Avicii’s “Levels” that’s been popular in Madrid’s discotecas (no really, that’s what clubs are called here.)

 

Unfortunately the first of my floormates, Margo, left this morning. It’s all ending so quickly! But if she were here, I guarantee this would have been her choice: “Loca People” by Sak Noel. (You have to click and verify your age. :()

Simone took a minute to come up with an answer… then replied “The WOOOOSH song!” She was referring to Rihanna’s “We Found Love“: at approximately 01:58, a wooosh of air streams out of the ceiling of Kapital Madrid. This song is huge no matter where in the world you are.

 

In case you were wondering about the Cristiano Ronaldo video above; no, I haven’t become a Real Madrid fan. But the rest of Madrid can’t get enough of the Portuguese song that inspired his victory routine.

One night Jamie showed us this song, claiming it was blowing up. But I wasn’t convinced–until I heard it at full volume, at every bar and club we went to that weekend. She was right! It and the little routine are addicting when a room full is singing along.

 

So if you’re still studying, GOOD LUCK! You’ll survive, I promise. To those who are done, hope you are all dancing around your rooms to these Madrid favorites!  — Annie