Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fabulous Finds: The NY&Co. "City Diva" Tee

A few weeks ago, I sauntered into my local NY&Co. store looking for work shirts and slacks. I was browsing the petite section (short gals unite!) when something from across the store caught my eye. Something that glittered. Something that sparkled. Something that said “City Diva” in bold silver lettering. I made a mad dash across the store and reached an entire section made just for me! Ok, maybe it wasn’t made just for me, but when a clothing collection is called “City Diva”, one begins to wonder. With just one XS Glitter Diva Logo Tee remaining (it was fate, I tell you), I plucked it right up. The tee is slimming, comfortable, and the perfect fit for any Diva. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dancing with the Stars - The City Diva's Picks for The Top 5 Performances of All Time

I've been a loyal fan of Dancing With the Stars (known as the “DWTS” to all the cool kids in the crowd) since it debuted in all its sequined and spray tanned glory in 2005. There’s something truly stunning about seeing “stars” plucked from obscurity (I’m looking at you Stacy Keibler and Kate Gosselin), paired with professional ballroom dancers and made to twirl around the dance floor until they collapse from the pressure or rise to glory to win the coveted mirror ball trophy.

A few years ago, in an effort to rival the March Madness euphoria that overtook our office every spring, I decided to create a DWTS Fantasy Bracket for that season of DWTS. If you think a Fantasy Bracket involving vaguely familiar actors and unheard of champion ballroom dancers can’t get competitive, think again! We watched the performer’s paso, tango, and waltz their way onto our TV screens every Monday and then eagerly awaited the announcement from host Tom Bergeron on Tuesday to see which of our teams had been eliminated. And much like the lucky winners of the TV show, the winner of our DWTS Fantasy Bracket won their very own mirror ball trophy. Even pesky judge Len Goodman would give that a “10!”

Without further ado, and sadly without an opening video montage al a DWTS, I present to you my Top 5 DWTS Performances of All Time:

1 – Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke: Argentine Tango

First introduced to women everywhere as Dante, Samantha’s hot and steamy California neighbor in Sex and the City: The Movie, the French-born actor Gilles Marini danced onto TV screens during season 8 of DWTS. My pick for the best dance in DWTS history  belongs to Gilles and his professional dance partner, Cheryl Burke (a huge honor for Gilles and Cheryl, I’m sure). Their interpretation of this sensual dance had just the right amount of intensity and passion and their intricate footwork was flawlessly executed.   

2 – Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke: Paso Doble

In their Week 5 performance of the Latin style of dance known as the Paso Doble, Gilles portrayed an artistic and agile matador and Cheryl, dressed in an eye-catching black and white ensemble, represented the matador’s swirling cape. And, Gilles performing shirtless?  Muy caliente!

3 – Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff: Paso Doble

Mario and Karina were a match made in DWTS heaven. They were a sizzling duo from their first Cha-Cha-Cha and viewers couldn't get enough of their onscreen and off-screen chemistry. Their precise Paso Doble to "Cancion Del Mariachi" by the Chicano rock bands Los Lobos and Tito & Tarantula was near perfection and inspired Carrie Ann Inaba to call them, "Too hot to handle."

4 – Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough: Viennese Waltz

Just one year after her Dirty Dancing co-star Patrick Swayze died of pancreatic cancer, Jennifer Grey and her partner Derek Hough performed a moving Viennese Waltz to the Otis Redding hit "These Arms of Mine". Reminiscent of her onscreen performance with Swayze, this tender dance brought the audience to their feet and judge Carrie Ann Inaba to tears.  

5 – Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya: Argentine Tango

Known for his elegant style and powerful jumps on the ice at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics where he placed first in men's figure skating, Even Lysacek was a household name when he joined season 10 of DWTS. Paired with the feisty Russian professional dancer, Anna Trebunskaya, they didn't hit their stride until they performed this Argentine Tango in Week 10. 

Honorable Mention: My Favorite Non-Competitive Performances
These dances are pure fun and showcase the talent that the professional dancers bring to the ballroom each week. 

The brother and sister duo Julianne Hough and Derek Hough have been performing together since they were kids growing up in Sandy, Utah. This performance to "Shake Your Tail Feather" will get you shaking in your seat and tapping your toes.

Veteran DWTS professionals Julianne Hough and Tony Dovolani perform alongside country superstars Rascal Flatts in this 2009 piece to "Here Comes Goodbye." 

Do you watch DWTS? If so, who are your favorite performers and what are your favorite performances from the past 13 seasons? Tune in tonight for the premiere of Season 14 of Dancing With the Stars on ABC! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

They Made a Monkees (Fan) Out of Me

On Wednesday, February 29th, I landed in Orlando ready for a three day work conference. Heading into the terminal to collect my luggage, I switched my phone out of Airplane Mode and was greeted by texts, tweets, and messages informing me that my childhood crush, Davy Jones, had died. Growing up in the 1980’s, some girls loved Joey McIntyre. Others hung posters on their bedroom walls of Scott Baio. Even more pre-teen girls debated which of “The Corey’s”, Corey Haim or Corey Feldman, was the cutest (personally, I was a Corey Haim fan.)

But for me, at the tender age of seven, my first celebrity crush was forty-two year old Davy Jones. I grew up with parents who had strict rules about what was appropriate TV viewing. Soap operas were out of the question. Married With Children? Not a chance. But anything on the “Nick at Nite” channel? You bet. I loved getting lost in the black-and-white worlds of The Donna Reed Show, Mister Ed, and The Patty Duke Show. But my favorite late night program, and one I never missed, was The Monkees. Sure it was campy and cheesy and over the top. But it was also harmless fun with catchy tunes as its soundtrack. The star of both the show and the band was a cute, British lad with a bowl cut named Davy Jones. With his deep brown eyes, pouty lips and British accent, he had me at “Cheerio!”
{Photo credit}
Then in the summer of 1987, after faithfully watching every episode of The Monkees and committing his cute face to memory, I asked my mom for the concert ticket that every American girl wanted. A chance to see The New Kids on the Block and Tiffany's Hangin’ Tough tour? Blimey! This wee diva wanted nothing more than to see her true love Davy Jones and the rest of The Monkees on their Here We Come Again tour. So, off my mom and I went to the fabulous Fox Theatre in midtown St. Louis. In true 80’s fashion, Weird Al Yankovic opened the show with such memorable hits as “Living With a Hernia” and “Addicted to the Spuds.” [Like, seriously?]
The Monkees with Weird Al, on tour in 1987
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But then it was time. The lights dimmed. The band took the stage. And The Monkees (minus Michael Nesmith) started to play! At least, everyone except me seemed to think it was The Monkees. Where was the adorable, teen aged Davy Jones of the TV show? Where was the young, youthful, shaggy haired boy I daydreamed about? I stood there, one seven year old among a sea of soccer moms reliving their youth, shocked to see that my Davy Jones, the one on my Zenith TV screen every night had aged. Considerably! I was shocked and a little saddened. No one ever mentioned to me that I had been watching re-runs from twenty years before! But then, suddenly, it didn’t matter. I became lost in the lyrics that I knew by heart, the catchy melodies, and the (slightly older) band members that were The Monkees. To my seven year old self, I was in heaven.
Hearing of Davy Jones passing struck me particularly hard. He was as much a part of my past as he is my present, as much a part of my youth as he is my adulthood. Prior to its cancellation, I was looking forward to attending The Monkees reunion tour in 2011. And there’s not a jukebox that passes my radar that doesn’t get a healthy dose of Last Train to Clarksville played through its speakers. Through moves out of my childhood home and across state lines, I’ve faithfully carried with me a well worn copy of They Made a Monkee Out of Me, the collection of interviews between Davy Jones and Alan Green, first published in 1987. I was hoping to carry it with me when I attended the 2011 reunion tour in hopes of meeting my childhood crush and getting his autograph. But that was not meant to be. Instead, I’ll carry with me the memories of my first crush, my first concert, and the Monkee who made me a fan of it all, Davy Jones.
(1945 – 2012)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Cure What Ails You

This cute little blog has seen very little of me over the last week. Between traveling for work, getting my second sinus infection of the year (as the kids like to say, “Epic Fail!”), planning another work trip, and catching up with friends, I’ve had little time to update my little corner of the interwebs. But, oh, the posts I have planned! A post about the time I met the cutest reality TV stars ever. And a post about the the time I landed in Orlando, turned on my phone and received texts, tweets, and messages that my childhood crush, Davy Jones had died. But those posts are for another day. Today, here’s to lying on the couch and feeling better.

You know what else makes me feel better?

  • Little Sophia Grace Brownlee strutting her little sassy self on Ellen and singing her heart out to Nicki Minaj’ Super Bass:

  • A new neighborhood wine bar.
  • Reading books.
  • Watching movies. (Notice a pattern here?)
  • Checking Groupon Getaways every day and hoping for a good deal. Anywhere. Mama needs a vaca.
  • Catching up with the ladies of the OC. I use the term “ladies” loosely. Seriously, why did Vicki divorce Don? Why are Vicki and Tamra friends again? Why in the world is Gretchen dating Slade Smiley? These questions demand answers, people!
  • Joining Pinterest. (Follow me at @citydiva)
  • Knowing that this month’s Birchbox is on its way.
  • Hopefully, this recipe for Tomato Tea cures what ails me...once and for all.