Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ballgowns On The Beach

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

The events of this past week have been devastating, and it really has made it difficult for me to talk about things like fashion....it seems very trivial in the scheme of things. Pretending that this didn't happen isn't being a good citizen of the world, and it isn't being a good example for my children. The people I love are affected by these terrible events, every person with any kind of moral fiber is, and it has made me pause while I decide how to contribute to the healing, to stand up to the hate. In the meantime, I am not letting the hate take away what I love and who I am. Then they win. It's on to writing again then, and celebrating my friend Krissi's work in photographs and being me. Love Trumps Hate.





Last week Krissi and I ventured back to beautiful Carkeek Park for a shoot at the beach. I was waiting on a package for a pair of shoes I wanted to showcase and it didn't show up, so at the last minute I had to pull a completely different look together. Somewhat inspired by a high low piece I saw in the Neiman Marcus event last week, I decided to wear my own high low ball gown skirt I had bought from local boutique Foundation Seattle. 






I love contrasts and wearing a ballgown skirt to a beach at a park is definitely that. Never one to shy away from standing out, it was very fun to dash up and down the rocky beach with my skirt swishing behind me. The skirt is high waisted with a beautiful bow sash, so it pairs well with a fitted or cropped piece. The little girls at the beach were mesmerized by the fancy dress, their mother's a bit perplexed by my choice of beach attire, the whole thing was a lot of fun. :)








I decided on another contrast to a ball gown skirt, a marled knit sweater. I purchased this rag & bone Dana cold shoulder sweater at the Nordstrom sale this past summer and thought it would be a perfectly unexpected. I tucked it in the front to show off the bow sash and left the back to do its slouchy best. My necklace is from a shop in Paris, but any kind of bold statement piece would work well with this look. A pair of large fabulous earrings would also perfect....I am a big fan of FARIS jewelry.






Another purchase from the Nordstrom sale were these Stuart Weitzman Notazzie Booties. The black suede and block heel add a modern appeal to the whole look. A pair of black booties is a wardrobe essential, but these booties also come in a gorgeous amaretto color that would be fantastic with winters calmer colors.





This skirt will also be beautiful with patterned hosiery in the cooler months ahead, another trend that is back to save us from bare legs once the temps dip low. I would also wear this skirt with a sleeveless black fitted turtleneck or a fitted crisp white blouse. I would wear this sweater with just about anything, be it a ball gown or favorite denim, and of course the boots go with it all!




My family is filled with originality and personality. We are white, we are Asian, old, young, gay, straight, Jewish, Christian, and everything else in between. We check all the boxes. We celebrate diversity because we are citizens of the world, we are a modern family. One must always stand up for what you believe in and above all, be a good person. Do what is right. Love will always triumph. I must believe that and I must live it every day. 
Have a lovely week. xx

Friday, August 11, 2017

Neiman Marcus "So Crazy Good" Showcases Fall Trends


Photos by Vivian Hsu Photography

It might be 90 degrees outside, but in the cool butterfly filled Neiman Marcus at The Bravern in Bellevue, it felt a lot like fall. This week the "So Crazy Good" Event celebrated the arrival of autumn trends for both men and women for the coming season. 80s music played in the background, giving guests a hint of things to come, or shall I say, revisit.





Here are the Neiman Marcus Top Fall Trends:
For Her:

  • Red
  • The Leather Jacket
  • Modern Suiting
  • Velvet
  • The Covered Leg
  • Booties
  • The Soft Hobo
  • Charms



For Him:

  • Red
  • The Plaid Jacket
  • The Plaid Shirt
  • Velvet
  • Runners
  • Camouflage
  • Dark Denim





The 90s have certainly been in the forefront of conversations about fashion these days, but NM showed modern interpretations from the previous decade as well. The most noted trend from the Material Girl era was white booties, which made an appearance some time back and still dominate the scene for fall. Stuart Weitzman's Clinger Stretch Ankle Boot was a gorgeous pairing with dark feminine floral dresses, skinny berry colored denim, and long satin dresses. The pop of white works so incredibly well with distinctly different looks, and really showed how versatile this dramatic boot is. I have a pair of Elizabeth and James pony hair Chelsea boots in pure white, but am also really loving the chicness of the pure white sock bootie with a heel. For fall, the sock bootie is huge.






The leather jacket is always a staple of the fall closet, and this year I have seen many with a cropped silhouette and sporting lots of embroidery and embellishments. This Alice + Olivia Cody Embroidered Cropped Leather Jacket has beautiful embroidery work throughout the piece that brings any look to a whole new level. Embroidery work is everywhere, and on the modern leather jacket it is stunning.



80s plaids were updated and paired with windowpane patterns and aubergine added elegance in patterns and as solid pieces. The Etro Jacket pictured above was another favorite piece of mine.






Accessories were also full of personality with shoulder sweeping earrings in metallics, vibrant colors, and sunglasses that popped. The brilliant pinks and reds of the 80s era definitely give a modern vibe to the look. Be less concerned about "matching" your accessories and be more adventurous with the style and colors you add in to make a statement all their own. Prada's beautiful velvet bags are another perfect example of this.






Other trends to return are covered legs...yes that means hosiery...patterned, sheer, opaque...is back strong. No more freezing white legs in the middle of December? Sounds rather appealing!  I saw lots of chic wide leg trousers that were a cornerstone of the modern suiting trend, paired with cropped jackets in wool and leather.





Men rocked velvet and great sneakers that gave a cool vibe to dark denim as well as camouflage and army green. I loved the mix of jackets with super casual pants and layers that included plaid shirts under blazers. For women, there was the classic leopard print, and faux and real fur. Pearls are on everything for fall, from heels of shoes to sweaters to trim on collars and cuffs. And who doesn't love red for fall? It plays off jewel tones and lends a luxurious feel to the texture of velvet, wool and cashmere. Red paired with pink made for cool retro partners in color blocking. 




The season to come definitely full of opulence, with texture, and amazing ribbon work, embroidery, studs, pearls, and suede. I loved all the trends and am looking forward to introducing fresh ideas into my current wardrobe. To see the above trends and more, visit Neiman Marcus in Bellevue at The Shops at The Bravern or go check it out online here where you can choose a gift with your $350 or more purchase! Happy Shopping! xx

Prada Bellevue Manager Allison Becker and Image Consultant Bethany Siggins


Photos by Vivian Hsu Photography

This post is my own opinion and not sponsored. 



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Little White Dress

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

When I went to Paris in June the beginning of the trip was full of rainy days and sunny evenings, then progressed into super hot weather.  On my second day there I met my friend Laura, who was traveling to Paris on business, and we went over to the Passy area to do some shopping. When the weather went from kind of rainy to an absolute downpour we literally dove into an agnes b. shop to escape. I became completely enchanted with this lovely crochet style knit marie dress, which luckily for me was part of the government regulated sale season. But I didn't buy it. It was the first thing I tried on during my trip and I just felt I needed to look around. I don't usually hesitate when I love something. I am blaming jet lag.

By the next day I regretted not purchasing the dress and the rest of the trip I looked for another agnés b. shop to find it. Lucky for little Miss Indecision here, my friend Monica arrived in Paris after I left and found it for me, marked down even further. A happy ending and a blog post was born. You can still find this little beauty on sale here!




White dresses are the quintessential summer look to me.  I love the freshness of a white dress and the simply chic of white itself. Layering different textures of white give it additional interest. The lovely thing about a great white dress is you can wear them to a party with sandals or summer wedges, or run around in the day with a pair of sneakers.





Speaking of sneakers, these Nike Classic Cortez Sneakers are my current favorite. I love the all white with the black swoosh. I had an original pair of the red white and blue pair back in the day when that was basically what you bought from Nike because that was their shoe. These babies are not expensive and they go with everything.





The bag I have been carrying all summer is my Issey Miyake Bao Bao Bag and it my absolute favorite tote. The classic geometric design make this a stand out piece and adds interesting texture to whatever I am wearing.  It also goes totally flat when empty so it is a great bag to pack for a trip. Coolest bag ever.

A white dress can take you from a terrific summer into fall as well. Layer it under a jacket or sweater, add a cropped leather or denim jacket and you have a modern transition piece. That rule about not wearing white after Labor Day? Old and outdated and does not apply. Toss it out the window and wear white all year long.

Here are a few of my other favorite white dresses right now.....


LoveShackFancy Rebecca Dress


I am completely in love with LoveShackFancy's Rebecca Dress. It is bohemian, it is modern vintage, it is ultra feminine. I can see this dress with wrap tie sandals or a really cool bootie and leather jacket. Love.


Alice + Olivia Rozzi Off The Shoulder Dress


Alice + Olivia always does dresses right. If you weren't wowed by the black lace detail of this beautiful Alice + Olivia Rozzi Dress then you may be enticed by the sale price. It is 60% off at Nordstrom right now. Wear it now and then stash it away for next spring!


A.L.C. Evan Dress

The A.L.C. Evan One Shoulder Dress is a pretty charming way to show off a summer shoulder in a different way. It has clean lines for those of you ladies that shy away from too much embellishment, and could easily go from day to night. It is also on sale at Intermix!


Self Portrait Monochrome Asymmetrical Wrap Dress


Self Portrait is one of those labels that has next level pieces that are distinctly them. This Monochrome Asymmetrical Wrap Dress is one of those dresses that stands out and is not typical in any way. I have seen this styled with black tights as well, making it another beautiful dress that could transition to the next season.



Anthropologie Wrapped Midi Shirt Dress


Finally, a shirt dress is a closet staple, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. I wore mine all over Europe last summer and on through the rest of the summer. This Anthropologie Wrapped Midi Shirt Dress is the perfect way to look cool but professional during office hours, and it will get you through a busy weekend. It is one of those must haves that really is a must have.




I think the above picture shows exactly how I am feeling about this summer. Despite the heat and the smoke from nearby fires, this has been an epic, crazy, wonderful, and nonstop summer for me. And I am grateful. Cheers to August and feeling the joy of living in the moment. xx




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tales from the Sales Floor: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017

photos courtesy of Nordstrom

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Early Access is in full swing, and anyone with a Nordstrom card can "pre shop" to purchase items before the sale opens to the public on July 21st. While there are those that refuse to think fall in the middle of July, I have never had anything but love for this sale. Every year I have a list that I check off, then store my purchases away until the weather cools and go back to wearing summer dresses and sandals. What is not to love about finding pieces that you are coveting and saving a little money while you are at it? Yes, please.



I also love autumn; it has been my favorite time of year since I was a girl. When I was growing up in Montana my grandmother sewed my sister and I new dresses for the school year often, which makes us sound like we were some kind of farm girls, but really it was just the 60s and people didn't have as much stuff.  We also "got to" shop at JC Penney and pick out three new dresses for school, which I thought was the coolest. Since I am a lifelong shoe addict, picking out a new pair of shoes from Vaughn Ragsdale, a local department store, was my favorite day. And I still remember my black velvet flats with colored tear drops near the laces on the top. Shades of things to come....

This year I approached the Nordstrom sale with a smaller but specific list. I have been cleaning out my closet all spring and summer in anticipation of a closet refresh. My style always changes a bit each year and each season and I definitely have my favorite things that I love to wear...that would be a gray sweater and a pair of denim...but I also love reinventing myself each new season.

I like to think I attended the sale this year with more mindfulness in my shopping. I do have a lot of clothes already, but each season things often have a new twist. Mostly I wanted to look for new silhouettes, for well made pieces that are interesting and unique, and to buy what I actually need, not just want because they are on sale. This time of year I always feel like I have enough summer things, so I only buy pieces that will transition me into fall or fall/winter pieces that are going to make me super happy come September.

Here is what I chose from this year's Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. There may be a lot of black, no judging please, and happy shopping!


Derek Lam 10 Crosby Parka with Fox Fur Trim


The Statement Coat

I love having one piece that stands out and this coat more than does the trick. I have been on a bit of a army jacket bender the last six months, but I couldn't resist this Derek Lam 10 Crosby Parka with its pink fox fur collar. Look for this baby on a future blog post. You can remove the collar if you like, but what would be the point of that? Pink is the surprise guest of this fall's party, so embrace it!


rag & bone Josephine Leather Front Skinny Pants


Leather Leggings

I have been wearing faux leather leggings for years but have always wanted to invest in a really great pair of actual leather leggings that were both flattering and beautifully made. The rag & bone Josephine Leather Front Skinny Pants were perfect for what I was looking for. They have a grosgrain ribbon trimmed high waist and are a split of buttery soft leather at the front and a stretchy cotton blend on the back. I consider leather leggings to be a stylish closet essential, and a great pair is always worth investing in because you can wear them season after season. Check out this pair if you are in the market....so gorgeous!

Via Spiga Gallo Platform Loafer

Lug Sole Loafers

Platforms really give the loafer a fresh perspective.  A loafer is dressier than a sneaker but not as fussy as a pointed heel. I was totally into the beautiful burgundy color of the Paul Green Natasha Loafer, so I am hoping they get that back in stock. However, my first choice was the Via Spiga Gallo Platform Loafer, which is such a cool take on a menswear shoe and the patent leather and wide strap give it some serious chic style. And I know I will wear black a lot, especially with trousers or denim, but also with tights and a skirt or dress. Bring it, lousy weather....I am ready for you...in style.

Tibi Oversized Glen Plaid Blazer
Image courtesy of Tibi

Oversized Blazer

I am a big fan of Tibi, which have a very modern feel to their pieces. The Tibi Oversized Glen Plaid Blazer hints at the 90s in a modern way. I'll be wearing it with skinny trousers or over a midi dress, or maybe with a graphic tee and denim. Since the silhouette is oversized, keep the rest of the outfit slimmer, both to show off the jacket and be certain you don't look like David Byrne from The Talking Heads. I haven't seen this kind of piece for fall in awhile so it is fun to see the 2017 update and how to incorporate it into a modern wardrobe.

PAIGE Transcent Hoxton High Waist Undone Hem Skinny Jeans


New Denim Perspectives 

I am giving big love to the Frame Le Nouveau Split Hem Jeans this year. The style is fresh and cool and I can wear these now with summer slides or in the fall with booties. And I had to have the Paige Transcend Hoxton High Waist Undone Hem Skinny Jeans, which are super hot. They are incredibly soft but hold their skinny shape, and the frayed slanted hem is a new version of the step fray edge. They are going to look so good with my new boots....


Stuart Weitzman Notazzie Bootie


Block Heel Booties

Block heels are where it's at, baby. They are not only cool, they are comfortable, which means you can do your daily marathon routine with major style. The luxurious suede covers even the heel on these Stuart Weitzman Notazzie Booties, and they come in black as well, and.....there is a good chance I may have purchased the noir color. ;)


rag & bone/JEAN Dana Cold Shoulder Sweater


Sweater Weather

I love sweaters and live in them, but found that it was time for a refresh on my selection. I do get my money's worth after all. There were a lot of bell sleeve sweaters at the sale but I ended up going a different direction. The Helmut Lang Distressed Merino Wool Pullover is the perfect combo of sexy distressed and super soft. Gorgeous. And the rag & bone/JEAN Dana Cole Shoulder Sweater is just a little hipper than your average cold shoulder piece. The cut of the shoulder is further down onto the arm, giving the illusion of a sweater and matching long gloves or arm warmers. I know you may find this description odd, but trust me, this sweater is very cool. Well done, you.

For me this sale was about finding pieces from my list that I know I will wear again and again in different ways. And I love Marianne, the salesperson who is a rockstar at Nordstrom Flagship. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, like many throughout the year, do not dictate my style, but enhance it. It is a bit of a treasure hunt, really, and I hold the map.

Happy Shopping! xx



















Friday, July 14, 2017

Postcards From Paris: Street Style Report




I am back from a week in Paris where I was fortunate enough to spend time with my daughter in my favorite place in the world. It was magical, and I know that sounds so silly, but it is the only way to describe it. It is my fifth trip to the City of Light, and each time it becomes more familiar, more lovely, more magical to me. I can't wait to go back. 

The weather is much like Seattle, beginning my trip with crazy rain storms that changed into beautiful sunny evenings, and ending with 95 degree days that were steeped in humidity. Not exactly a place where air conditioning is common, I nevertheless told myself I was not complaining because I was in Paris. And what could be more lovely than that. 

During our time perusing the shops and walking the neighborhoods I took note of a few of the repeating trends in the hope that I could capture some of that Parisian chic upon my return. Here is my list of what I saw:

Director Theresa Wingert and my daughter Gracie wear the sneaker trend perfectly

Sneakers 
Five years ago you saw Converse on everyone you saw, then the white Adidas took over and had their big moment. I still saw plenty of those, but more designers and companies have gotten into the sneaker game now. The popularity of athlesuire continues and with that come many cool sneaker choices. White sneakers still seem to rule over all. I am a big fan of sneakers and dresses in the summertime, which ups your style game but makes the look approachable. 

Shrunken Jackets
Moto jackets, denim jackets and more, the look was cropped and fitted. The fitted jacket feels very fresh looking to me, especially when many tops, sweaters and dresses are oversized. The close fit is sophisticated, even when it comes to denim pieces. 



Wide Leg Pants
This made me super happy since I had bought these Topshop Embroidered Leg Trousers at Nordstrom for my trip and love them! I actually traveled in them since they were both comfortable and chic. Wide leg pants were everywhere, both in cropped and full length styles. Also, striped wide leg pants were huge, and I have become somewhat obsessed. I did purchase these Alice + Olivia Paulette Striped Wide-Leg Pants before I left, so I am high fiving myself for having a bit of fashion foresight. :) 

Stripes
Stripes, along with the scarf, are considered quintessential Parisian. They dominated the street style scene. Stripes were everywhere, on off the shoulder tops, blouses, t-shirts, dresses and pants. The blue and white striped top with a pair of army green skinny pants or wide leg denim showed the perfect casual chic. 




Bohemian
I think Bohemian is tricky. It can look like a costume if you aren't careful. The fringe, smocking, tassels and embroidery details are hallmarks of the boho look, but it is good to remember that one main piece with these details best tell your story. I found this great off the shoulder blouse at Intermix on sale, but I also love this one. Boho is also the perfect summer attire, and this is where we get into that territory of how the French know how to do things so much better than you and I. It is the art of being thrown together with the utmost care. The store Bimba Y Lola in Paris had cool girl boho pieces that were amazing, but I ended up with the below featured shoes...

High V Opening Shoes
The high V opening is definitely the hallmark of a super chic shoe. This style, also called a "glove fit", is showing up in pumps, boots and flats. The Bimba Y Lola Ballerina flat from this shop has this very look, which is why I bought them. And a pointy toe....always gorgeous. 




Wicker Handbags
Style icon Jane Birkin's wicker basket bag is the inspiration for the Lindroth Design Blue Small Birkin Basket, which I found on www.shopbazaar.com.  I love the details of the stitched leather handle, and I saw versions of this bag in many of the boutiques and small shops we went into in Paris. You have to be ok with being casual about your belongings, because the handbag top fits loose, but that is part of its charm. It is not all buttoned up and structured but loose and free, just like summer.

Fringe and Unfinished Edges
From high end stores to small boutiques and fast fashion chains, unfinished and fringed edges rule. This sophisticated way of being a little bit undone is captivating because it breaks the rules. Cut off hems and torn fabric makes for interesting and unique, and I love it.

Dior at Musée Des Arts Décoratifs 

One of the highlights of the trip to Paris was visiting two fashion exhibits: Balenciaga at Musée Bourdelle, an absolutely gem of a museum built around the artist's studio and gardens. While we were there the 70th Anniversary of Dior Exhibition at the Musée Des Arts Decoratifis opened. Gracie and I attended the opening day of Dior and it was one of the most beautiful exhibits either of us have ever seen. It was especially exciting to walk the exhibit behind Anna Wintour, who was being toured by a small party and mingled among we mere mortals. My daughter even spoke to her, and she was far from The Devil. She was lovely to her.

The sales or soldes are regulated by the French government, and we happened to be in Paris during these fabulous sales. I spotted a pair of Fendi Pink Bug Flats in my size in the uber sale section at The Bon Marche and scooped them up. There is nothing more fun than finding an item you have coveted on sale in your size. It's the little things... ;)



Paris window shopping

Until we meet again, Paris. xx








Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Path To Health & Wellness: FASTer Way To Fat Loss



This is one of those posts that I have thought awhile about sharing, but because of its personal nature I have hesitated. This week my friend Jennifer Lovin, who must have been reading my mind, texted me, encouraging me to share. She said I had done the work so it was time to show the results. Since she is the person that inspired me to get on this path to health and wellness, it seemed like the perfect time to share.

Since April I have been participating in a online fitness program, FASTer Way To Fat Loss. Yes, an online fitness and exercise program. Since then, I have lost 12 pounds, 5 inches in my waist and gained muscle tone, strength and more confidence than I have had in a long time. I sleep great, I feel strong, and I am wearing things that I have not fit me in a long time. My closet has become a new world to me.

I am a fashion writer and I love stylish things. I have been following trends and writing about fashion for the past five years, but have been a lifetime lover of style. But, I have struggled with both health problems (IBS--yay) and the inability to figure out what to eat and how to exercise to get back to being me again. I learned to disguise my issues through how I dressed, but the basic problems never went away. I felt trapped. In a world of beautiful clothes, there were many things I couldn't wear and more importantly I often didn't feel well. It was like looking in from the outside. At 55 I am already at somewhat of a disadvantage in the world of youth and fashion. Or at least that is what I thought. No longer.

Being the busy mother to two teenagers and working part time gave me plenty of reasons to use the excuse that walking the dog was a form of exercise. I bought a FitBit. I rejoined the gym. I am a talented home cook and we have always eaten mostly whole foods and I cook healthy family dinners probably five days a week, but still I struggled.  It was time to think differently, to try something new and to be open to seeing health and nutrition in a new light. I decided I wasn't going to take mid life lying down, I wasn't going to accept that "that's what happens when you get older". Nope. It was time to take control.



Back in April when my family and I were in Hawaii, I wasn't feeling great or confident or myself. There is nothing like swimwear to make you face reality. Once I had read Jennifer's post, I texted her and after we talked and I was in. And I haven't looked back. The FASTer Way To Fat Loss six week program uses intermittent fasting and carb cycling to works with your body, coordinating workouts that go with each day's "theme" so to speak. There are low carb days, typically the most difficult for me because it is more restrictive, regular calorie days, low calorie days and all of it is combined with workouts. Each program is tailored to you and your needs, tracking your food on the MyFitnessPal app. At first, I was NOT thrilled about tracking food and now I can't imagine not doing it, it is second nature. Knowledge is power, my friend, and it is really a great tool.

The program, by Amanda Tress, uses private Facebook groups to group clients going through the same program at the same time. Through Facebook, Amanda provides weekly exercise plans with corresponding dietary guidelines. The private members only as a significant motivator and you are expected to check-in daily to maintain accountability.  The support and intimacy of the group, including Amanda and her couches checking in daily, solidifies the program and its strength both for individuals and as a collective group. The groups include women for all over the country, from fitness buffs, to new moms, to people like me.



The benefits for me, now in my second round of this program (I did back to back sessions to solidify my knowledge) is that my IBS has all but disappeared, I feel healthy and strong and I am me again. It isn't just the weight loss, although I am not going to lie, that has been incredible for me, but also the way I now understand nutrition and how to eat well all the time. And I love my bubbly and rose and believe me, I have not given them up. This program works seamlessly into a real life, and that is why it works. As Amanda says, "Progress, not perfection", and that is truly the premise behind this whole thing.

There is nothing better than being your best self, and knowing that you made the decision to make things better and did the work to get there.

Have a great week, my friends, and feel free to message me with any questions. Cheers to health and happiness.
xx