Tuesday, December 28, 2010

espresso yourself

My inbox is getting bombarded with sales, sales, sales, and in addition, what is new for spring!  Yikes.  I know I should embrace this, but not there quite yet.  I am going skiing in two days, so my mind is very far away from strappy sandals.  I am thinking strappy sandals = frostbite at this point.
So, in keeping with the warm and cozy theme, I want to mention a new addition to our house that I am loving--and its not a puppy.  (sorry kids!)  Its our new Nespresso Citiz espresso machine & Aeroccino Plus automatic milk frother that the UPS man, um, I mean Santa brought.
My sister has a cool coffee/espresso maker that is similar and we have thought about getting one for several years.   A demo at Williams Sonoma sealed the deal.  The sleek design meant it would fit in my small 1920's kitchen, and the push button milk steamer/frother makes putting together a nonfat latte in about two minutes at home.  I love the convenient capsules, which are about fifty cents a piece--meaning I can kiss my $4+ a day coffee house habit goodbye.  Although I love my barista down the street, who knows my drink already and gets it going when he spots me, its sadly, time to break up.  An occasional social visit is all I am up for, I mean, we can still be friends, right?  In the meantime, with the money I am saving drinking my latte at home--well, before you know it I will be able to purchase those strappy sandals after all, guilt free.

Monday, December 27, 2010

ipad love

Today is the third day of owning my iPad and I am already feeling the love. Yesterday I joined the masses of people returning unwanted gifts and checking out sales in search of a functional yet fab case for it. It is so slim and lightweight I feared I would drop it and bounce it off the hardwoods. Plus, I want to stick it in my handbag and go. I did spent a bit of time online and read a great article on the coolest iPad accessories in New York Magazine--I recommend checking it out for fun ideas.
At the Mac store I bought the Michael Kors black patent case--it was perfect with its gold interior, full zip, and built in stand on the back.  Plus it matches my Yves Saint Laurent patent Downtown handbag and fits inside it as well.  I also picked up the connector for my camera since I take a lot of photographs with my little portable.  I hear that everyone is getting in on the iPad game--including Louis Vuitton--so look for new low & high end cases, bags & accessories coming out soon.
For spring/summer however, (and my birthday) I have my eye on the Gucci iPad case--who knew there would be a whole new world of accessorizing waiting for me.  Happy surfing.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

all i want for christmas

I love Christmas.  Christmas Eve especially.  I know everyone gets overwhelmed this time of year with all the holiday traditions, requirements etc, but I still love it.  One of my favorite Christmas' ever was just a couple years ago when it snowed in Seattle on Christmas Day--it was so beautiful and made me feel like a kid again back in Montana.
My memories of Christmas growing up are strong ones.  I remember the food, the stockings, the trips to get a tree, the anticipation that something wonderful was going to happen, and thanks to my Mom and Dad, it always did.  It wasn't until years later, when I was in college, that my Mom confessed that for years Christmas was the most difficult time of the year for her.  And no wonder. When she wasn't baking four hundred different things for our house but all our neighbors on the block, she helped out at local charities, cooked giant meals, and was able, with not a lot of money to make four kids and her husband have a magical Christmas each year.  Being a mother myself with two, I am in awe of what she did.
This year has been a challenging one not only for me, but for friends that I care about.  Despite my best efforts for being in the Christmas spirit, yesterday I had had it.  The Christmas carols on the loud speaker in the store were overwhelmingly sad to me, the stores stuffed with too much stuff.  I left and went back to my car and put my head on the steering wheel.  I though of my friend Elizabeth, back in Texas, having just lost her Dad a couple months ago, a friend whose Mom is gravely ill in the hospital, and my friend who told me that he was never going to fall in love again, it was too difficult, too painful.  My Christmas spirit took a nose dive.
After an incredibly bad nights sleep, I decided it was time to think again, about the meaning of Christmas.  And of love, of doing things that are hard, of making the most of what you are given, and of finding again the things that matter, that make you happy.  Things don't always turn out as we have planned, and we don't always get exactly what we want, maybe not the first time anyway.  Or the second.  And I am not talking about that yucky green sweater wrapped under the tree for you.  Take that sweater and return it.  Take that leap of faith, don't waste time wishing you had said something, say it.  Love.
I can tell you that my Mom and Dad still have that loving & giving Christmas spirit, years after the pressures of parenting have gone away.  My Dad is in charge now, of putting out the nativity set and setting Santa out on the porch swing, while my Mom watches from her wheelchair.  I have to say the best gift I have ever received was their love--it helped make me into the happy and confident woman I am today.  And the memories of that wonderful time of the year when I was growing up have stayed with me always.
I may be a little tired of the Christmas carols, (and our petrified tree does get ripped down on the 26th!) but I am certain that what I want for Christmas, is already mine.  Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

you've got mail

I usually open up my email and am bombarded with shopping websites emails that can be overwhelming to say the least.  I recently spent about three days unsubscribing to many sites, but continued to keep some of my favorites that I use for research, updates, and well, shopping.  One of my favorites has got to be Shopbop, which has a fresh approach to fashion, an eye for new designers, great sales, and an amazing ability to get your package to you quicker than anyone else.  On Sunday, the site sent out a look book on MINKPINK, which is a line that states it is "a look of the moment made affordable".   While I have a complete aversion to people that do not dress their age, I also am not opposed to pushing the envelope a bit.  Something about the line had a bit of an 80's feel to it, but with a modern twist.  I ordered the Basket Case Sweatshirt, together with the Total Eclipse Long Skirt .The skirt is a full length ombre velveteen skirt, and I am loving the super long, and I mean ankle length, skirt.  The sweatshirt is funky, fun, with a very cool construction.  Getting in touch with my inner hippy chick, maybe?  Anyway, if you are looking for a new look for yourself, or a great gift for a fashionable friend I would highly recommend checking out this line.  Now, back to my inbox....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

party girl

Holiday party time is in full swing (come on mailbox, speak to me) and its time to ditch the Hunter rain boots, dust off your sparkles, and get your party girl self together.  This usually means a host of appointments to make your hair a fabulous main of sleekness or curls, nails gleaming and sporting that beautiful glow you know you weren't rocking on Monday morning.  We all have that crimson lipped goddess hiding inside of us, so do a little out of the box thinking about what to wear to that upcoming bash.
I am going to have to go with feathers this season, as in the BCBGMAXAZRIA luxe feather skirt that I purchased in NYC.  Its the perfect party skirt, and you can punch up the look of all black with red or purple tights. And get out the HIGH heels, lady. If you fear sporting the look of Big Bird, go with something a little more subtle, like the gorgeous Club Monaco Ostrich Feather Clutch, or an even more wallet friendly version of that, try Urban Outfitters Silence and Noise Feather Velvet Clutch at a hard to pass up $38.00.  I really love shopping at Cusp, the more urban chic spin off of luxury retailer Neiman Marcus.  They have a bit more edgy & contemporary look to their merchandise, including a sweet pair of Gorjana "feather" earrings I found there in gold metal.  A little hip, without looking like Cher.
Have a festive & fun holiday--and remember, you are fabulous.  

Monday, December 6, 2010

fuzzy wuzzy

I have an admitted obsession with all things furry.  That includes my collection of vintage coats, the grey sweater pile, a few handbags, scarves, and my Coton du Tulear dog, Henri.  Dog not included, fuzzy = cozy, sexy, and beautiful to me and I feel like I am drawn to it immediately upon entering a store.  It got to be a bit of a joke on my recent trip to NYC, when every time I looked up from my latest furry find, Kacy's sister, Betsy, was looking at me, and laughing.  Guilty as charged.
Last week my friends and I attended a Nordstrom Holiday Shopping Night, and I spotted a Dolce Vita "Leigh" Faux Fur Coat hanging on the end of a rack with a tag showing signs that it had been a return. I picked it up and carried it around with me for about 30 minutes, and was accosted by someone every other minute wanting to know a) where I had found the coat or b) was I purchasing the coat or c) if I wasn't purchasing the coat, I was crazy, but let them know.  I am not sure if that was a marketing ploy but it worked, and I have been wearing it ever since.  I know I have talked about the fur vests that are certainly hot this season, and owning several, I just wanted to add that if Santa Claus is reading this, I covet the Joie Jaleigh Rabbit Fur Vest, and it is on sale now.  Size Medium, please, and there will be a couple extra cookies for you.  I have been a good girl.  So far.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

i heart new york

I have been back from NYC for a week now, and it was such a great trip that I have thought about it every day since my return. I love that city so much, I know if I were at a different time in my life I would love to live there. Since I have only been there during a vacation, I see it differently perhaps than I would if I lived there doing the day to day, but I still have the feeling that it is my kind of place.
Kacy and I arrived very late on Wednesday night/Thursday morning and she was off to visit a friend who lives in the city, so I was on my own for most of the day. The minute my feet hit the sidewalk outside our hotel on Central Park South I felt so happy its hard to describe. The energy and feel of that city just grabs me---I love the crazy mix of people everywhere, the noise, and sounds, shops and characters everywhere.
5th Avenue was hopping with a Veteran's Day Parade and people starting to get a bit of holiday shopping going. As luck would have it, both Bergdorfs and Saks were having a sale. You had to dig like a treasure hunter at Bergdorf and I only managed to come up with one grey Joie top that would be great for every day, Saks was a total score though..I found a fabulous black skirt edged in black feathers, a beautiful snake Rebecca Minkoff handbag, a great pair of Seven jeans, and I was able to tackle my questions from my previous blog. As in, are leather shorts for the 20-30's set? Nope. Scored a beautiful pleated Elizabeth and James pair that hit just above the knee, and are a gorgeous update to a skirt. Paired with tights and high boots, they are fabulous. And they were 40% off. Second question from last blog: Do over the knee socks look like you are trying too hard? Not at all. I found a couple of pair at H&M, one with button detail at the knee and a cute argyle pair.
Zara had an awesome faux mink cap sleeve long vest that was beautiful--good thing I loved it because it proved to be a bit of trouble at the airport a few days later! Topshop was not what I hoped for--although Kate Moss' collection was lovely --especially the cropped motorcycle jacket. I ended up with a pair of knitted leg warmers (yes, you heard right!!!) that I love over my leggings or skinny jeans.
Back at Henri Bendel we found that clothing had been nixed from their store and the focus was on accessories, handbags, makeup and gifts. We found a young woman who was a rep for the New York based company, orYANY, that made these incredible double faced sequin handbags. The price point was great, the bags were chic and funcitonal and we picked up some gifts and each got a great bag for ourselves that are both unique and lovely. Check the holiday collection out online at www.oryany.com.
A few days later we girls headed for the Meatpacking District and Soho and poked in and out of all the great shops. We had a great brunch at The Standard--and then headed out to the crowded streets. Kacy picked up some great earrings from some street vendors, and at Intermix I found a pair of Michael Kors open toe lace up booties in a great taupe color. We HAD to check out the Kardashian sister's newest Dash store in Soho, and to be honest, I thought they had some pretty and reasonably priced things, but there inventory was wiped out. A trip through All Saints was not successful. Time for a glass of wine...or two. Kacy scored a couple of great dresses at a vintage store, and that was the only thing I didn't get time to do. Next trip.
Because the weather was so nice, I got to check out what the New Yorkers were wearing while not bundled up under winter coats. Everywhere I looked, women were wearing jeans tucked into boots of all kinds, and a sweater underneath a fur vest, both real and faux. Lots of rabbit fur vests, but vest, skinnier jeans and boots were everywhere. Boots are big with skirts too, fitted motorcycle jackets and shorts with tights. Ankle boots and over the knee boots ruled the streets.
I am lucky. I stayed in a lovely place with a wonderful friend and her great family--the weather was beautiful, the shops full, and I had time to just be myself for a few days. I got to see a live taping of the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Show, watch the big tree get trucked into The Rockefeller Center, had drinks at The Plaza. I laughed ALOT, shopped alot, had more than a few glasses of wine ;) and loved every minute of it. Thank you, Kacy, for all the great fun. You are the best. New York--hope to see you again soon.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

new york, new york

Today I am flying off to The Big Apple with my friend, Kacy. The forecast for NYC is partly cloudy with 100% chance of shopping, eating, cocktails and fun. I absolutely LOVE New York. Love the feeling of the city, the energy when you get out on the street. Ms. Kacy used to live in New York, and true to form, as she is known around here as the "Mayor of Queen Anne", it is not surprising that that her dance card is already full of friends to meet, things to do, family. She is the perfect travel companion and I am looking forward to a much needed getaway weekend.
On my list, some major shopping in the West Village and Soho, including Barbara Bui, Scoop, Intermix, and maybe a peek at the Kardashian sister's newest Dash on Spring Street. New York magazine had a great section on vintage shops in NYC, so we are going to explore that for sure. And of course, 5th Avenue--Saks, Bergdorf, and a quick dash into American Girl for my own little almost ten year old.
When not shopping (which will be most of the time for me!) we plan on wandering, eating at Il Mulino and maybe "21" with Kacy's parents, plus a taping of the Jimmy Fallon show. I know, I am lucky to go on this trip.
Plan on blogging from the Big Apple about a couple of fashion dilemmas--including--are leather shorts for the 20-30 crowd? Do over the knee leg warmers look chic or like you are trying too hard? And how much stuff can I fit into my bag for the trip home?
Stay tuned--and thank you, David. For everything.

Friday, October 22, 2010

fancy pants

My confidence took a hit this week. For a minute there I wasn't even sure if I should even be blogging about fashion at all to anyone, since I couldn't seem to get it together. Couldn't make up my mind. Panic ensued. And I don't panic when it comes to the fun of getting dressed up--I usually love it.
We are going to a Children's Hospital Auction on Saturday night and its always fun to get a chance to glam up a bit and go out with my sweetie. Unfortunately, several factors turned me into a total maniac about what I am wearing to this event, something that doesn't normally happen to me. Usually, I have a thought about what I want to wear and then work it out in my head until the last minute. Its a bit like trying a new recipe for company, I like the thrill of figuring it out all and making it work in the eleventh hour. Helps the creative process to throw a little last minute in there.
But I was also feeling like I should "shop in my closet". Not buy anything new, and mix up my things for a new look. I would love to proudly blog that that is what I did, but its not true. I tried on every dress, top, bottom I own..... pulled out shoes, bags, accessories. Its a funny time of year with the weather, and many of my things are too summery. It is not a black tie event. And even though I believe that sparkle, sequins and statements are great for any time of the day or year, it isn't really holiday dressing time either. Wrong color, wrong size....we have all been there. Arrrg!
So, here is my confession--I did buy something new, but it is a something that I can wear in my regular life too. Purchased the J Brand (which I love love love) waxed denim skinny jeans in venom (black).   The salesgirl told me they looked "sick" they were so great. Um, ok? Well, I did love them. They fit like a glove, are both a dressy jean and a soft leatherlish looking pant that is just different. I love different. I then added my own sparkly top, Prada booties, and black chandelier earrings. So I half shopped my closet. The jeans can be worn with a cozy sweater & boots to dress them down too, so its not going to be a purchase that hangs in my closet and is only good for a party. How is my justification working? All I know is I like standing out in a crowd, so fancy pants instead of the usual party dress will hopefully fit the bill for party time, and be a great addition to my wardrobe as well.
If you don't like flying by the seat of your pants, like me, :) then I recommend giving your outfit a test run before party day. Because there is nothing more beautiful than confidence.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

making a statement

The term "statement jewelry" has been out and about in the fashion world for a few years now. While some people may picture a giant Flinstone style necklace when they hear this, others may not know what the heck it means. To me, a statement piece is something that stands out--that makes the outfit, that gets you noticed. The statement jewelry of the past couple of years has definitely been about proportions--rings with large stones, big chunky necklaces, wide cuffs or tons of pieces worn together. A little goes a long way--in other words--pick your statement piece, don't wear the whole book.
I think all jewelry is statement jewelry because the kind of jewelry you are attracted to and choose to wear says something about who you are, much like your clothing, shoes, the car you drive. My friend Caroline, is tall and thin and beautiful and has always had a great eye for wearing jewelry and accessories. Her ability to wear a giant chunky necklace without looking like she has been swallowed up by it is enviable for sure (not to mention the rest of the package) :) Very inspiring.
I recently helped my friend Juliet Roger, who is a talented jewelry designer here in Seattle, inventory her pieces and we got to chatting about statement jewelry. She recommended stepping out of your comfort zone, trying something bold and beautiful and you might surprise yourself. As much as I quite like standing out in a crowd, I admit I sometimes worry having on a piece of jewelry that would wear me, instead of me wearing it. My jewelry "uniform" in the past has large silver hoops, (to compliment that grey sweater I always grab?.....hmmm) but its time to step it up. I have got lots of great pieces that I am going to get out of the box and I recommend you do the same. Leave those pearl post earrings home ladies (or in Kacy's case, the bottom of Patterson Lake), and put on something bigger or brighter or cooler or more sparkly than you normally wear, and don't wait for date night --I mean wear it today, on a Wednesday, even if you are off of to work or Safeway or to coffee. See you out there, you gorgeous girls!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

cheap thrills

I am, without a doubt, a Barneys girl. Or maybe I dream of being a Barneys Girl. Even when I can only afford to look and think and leave empty handed, I still love the big B. I used to think it was museum like and scary in there, but once I found a lovely sales girl and learned the ins and outs of steals off the sale rack (like my Vince leather jacket--$69.00--yes, you heard right) and online deals (grey James skinny jeans- $49!!)--I decided its a favorite spot. You can get a current look in Co-Op in Barneys, the section with less zeros on the price tags. Check it out--its worth a look.
Today I went to the emporium of the cheap thrill, H&M. My sister in law had stopped by earlier in the week with a pretty grey sweater belted with a black ribbon from there--and it reminded me that I hadn't visited in a long time. Jackpot!!! There was a brand new "pleather" limited release motorcycle jacket with shearling that was, what, was I reading that correctly, $29.95! Super cute! Not cheap looking! Sold! I also bought a, crazy as it sounds, leather top--not tight, not sketchy looking or low cut, but cool and hip and fun. Loved it. It looked as good on as it did on the scary mannequin, and I walked out of there happy.
Some things you must spend some money on--I for one am not a fan of the cheap handbag, but mixing your lows and your highs is always a good thing--if you find something fab in the land of the good deals make sure you love it for what it is before you buy and not just the price--then pair it with something out of your own closet that you love already and you'll have a new look. And your wallet & your closet will thank you, you clever girl.

Monday, September 13, 2010

five easy pieces

I have had time to dig though all the "must haves for fall" articles, the coveted Vogue "September Issue", and a few of my favorite websites and complied my five favorites for fall. Some of these are wishes, and some are waiting patiently in my closet, for that first crisp, cool day of fall. Which has arrived. I heart fall. Here's why.....
I am going to say flat out that a leather jacket is a must for the fall...there is lots of leather everywhere in fact--and a leather skirt of both stylish length and quality is hopefully in my future, but it isn't in the top five. A great leather jacket doesn't have to be super over the top expensive, although you do get what you pay for for the most part. Be a smart shopper and get a great fit and cut that isn't over the top trendy and you'll have it forever. I do like the motorcycle jacket --just try not to be too MIchael Jackson (RIP). The second is a pair of slim cut, skinny jeans, or jeggings--(Jeans that fit like leggings) and yes, everyone can wear these. You have to buy the right size and wear them properly (that means cover your booty, people--this isn't the 80's!!) They go great with my third must, a great pair of boots! Over the knee, wedge, bootie, motorcycle--there are a ton of choices--make sure that you replace worn heels and polish up your old favorites at your local shoe guy (like Johnny's in Ballard), but look for a style that reflects you and is fun--I am a flat boot person but wedges are comfy too. You need to rock boots this fall. Fourth, a leopard piece, preferably a belt or shoes/boots. A little goes a long way, but even a skinny leopard belt around a cozy sweater adds some fun style. Fifth, I love the faux fur vests and coats out there--there is so great faux fur out there that feels and look real, without all the guilt--or if you have no guilt when it comes to fashion (lucky you!) than Neiman Marcus' hip spin off website, Cusp, has a fab leopard print, rabbit fur motorcycle style jacket that is out of this world. If you are me.
Now go forth and shop!

Monday, August 9, 2010

a vested interest

Whoa! Has it really been a month since I have written? Ok, quickly, the reunion was FABULOUS! Loved it. It was so incredible to see these faces and places that have been in my memory, and it was like I had never left them. The best part about it was seeing the people from my life long ago and having the feeling like we were picking up a conversation from the week before--and another feeling, no, knowing, that they were as happy to see me as I was to to see them. All great stuff. I lived on the memory of it for long after it ended. Until we meet again my friends........
Ok, now I can get back to chatting about fashion. You can tune out now, Todd. I don't want you suffer from another overload. :) Anyway, I have been traveling a lot so I have been working on the fall fashion in bits and pieces, trying to figure out how to update what I have with what is new out there. I have consistently been attracted to the same thing over and over--vests. There was a kind of sleeveless sweater out last year that I did not like for me at all, but these are different. I bought the Michael Stars cashmere sweater vest with its long front and cropped back--a great layering piece that will work now with a white t-shirt or tank and in the fall with a long skinny top underneath. A big fan of the Sanctuary shorts and pants this spring, I fell in love with the faux mink fur vest with front leather trim--it will definitely be fun with jeans tucked into tall boots. Finally, I had to have Juicy Couture's newest faux (again) fur toggle front hoodie vest. Juicy comes out with the best fur coats every fall--this great outerwear is so hip, and this year they have taken the vest and made it fabulous--fun fake fur, tweed and lots more to keep you cozy and cool this fall. Fall is around the corner, ladies. Hoorah!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

hello old friends

I am two weeks away from my high school reunion. And lets just say it is not my first one. I am looking forward to going back to Billings, Montana, where I was born and lived until I was 23. Then, I did what you do when you are 23, out of college and a bit fearless, I packed my small car up with my belongings and left for Seattle, sight unseen, no job, never even having visited. I did have the sense to have a roommate set up and the rest of it I just took as it came, and here I am many years later, happily married with two little people, having survived navigating my 20's and 30's life in a big city. And I learned that I am a city girl, through and through. Although I think that Seattle is like a bunch of little towns that make up a big city--our neighborhood, with its tree lined streets and great neighbors, is very similar to the very street I grew up on.
Ok, back to high school. I had a great time in high school, lots of great memories and fun. I ran around with a group of guys and girls all through that time and we were very tight--we continued to see each other each Christmas at my best friend Michelle's house for a few years into college. Then the wind blew us in all directions and its been really a Christmas card and/or reunion type of relationship with most of them since. My friend Michelle and I were the best of friends back then, and she could not have been more different than me, which made it work all the better, I believe. She is thin with dark straight hair, played the violin, an instrument she named Myrtle, has a beautiful singing voice, took French. I had a wild mop of permed crazy blonde hair, too much makeup (yes, Mom, you were right!), worked at a clothing store at the mall, was a bit less, well, refined. But I loved my friend fiercely, we laughed a lot, nursed each other through our crushes and love affairs, passed notes in between classes, did all the fun things you do in high school. Once she even bought two little soft dolls, cut their hair in a style similar to each of us and sewed their hands together. I know it sounds cheesy now, but it wasn't to me, and I still have them in a box in the basement.
Over time I lost track of Michelle, life and distance got in the way. I found her on Facebook after I joined to get in touch with our upcoming reunion plans and am looking so forward to seeing her again. I know there are people in our lives that come and go, and those who remain our friends no matter what, even if we disappear from each other's lives for awhile. My Mom told me that you don't need to change friends if you understand that friends can change. And I consider that a good thing. Facebook can be a total time suck, a waste of space and time as people yammer on about sitting in airports or what they just ate. But it also has been a great way to reconnect with old friends, and it was a great tool for planning this next reunion.
I decided to dig up my yearbook and a few photos from high school and reunions past this week and wow, do I have a long and consistent history of bad hair. I know I am not alone, and the photos were totally hilarious. At my first reunion, they made everyone who wasn't married yet, stand up in front of everyone else at the sit down dinner. Now, who thought THAT was a good idea? I had brought a boyfriend that trip, and yes, I was one of those standing, humiliated. Cut to the next reunion, where I had my husband with me (not the old boyfriend, thankfully) but no children. We were in the midst of infertility treatments and so I had gained a lot of weight from all of the drugs you must use, plus a hairdresser had talked me into chopping off my hair to my chin, not a good look for someone already feeling not so beautiful. The good news was that it was on that trip out to Montana where my husband I and decided to adopt a child from Korea, and nine months later, we brought our beautiful daughter, Gracie, home from Seoul.
Now my daughter is almost ten, my son, Oliver is seven, and my husband and I have 15 plus years of wedded bliss behind us. I am looking forward to being in Montana again, showing my children the house where I grew up, seeing relatives and old friends who still hold a place in my heart. A walk down memory lane will be so much more fun knowing the journey made me the happy woman I am today. Bad perm not included. See you in Big Sky Country.

Friday, June 18, 2010

the cats meow

My friend Caroline and I have a good laugh every year around this time when the fall look books, magazine forecasts and runway shows all announce "animal prints are in for fall"! Every year. I guess my point is, has they ever been out? The July VOGUE has just previewed fall with lots of chic beige and camel with leopard accessories. Not new, but totally modern and fresh looking.
Animal prints have been in the fashion world for a very long time, if you count back to caveman times, and I am not counting that at all. From being a symbol of royalty, wealth and status in days gone by to a chic addition to your wardrobe, I have always been in love with all the different beautiful animal prints--zebra, giraffe, and my favorite, leopard. A little goes a long way, I am not one for head to toe leopard land, and let me also add that I am speaking of animal PRINTS, not actually animal skins. That is another blog. Lets just stick to the joy of jazzing up your wardrobe!
A couple of years ago I was tempted to buy a pari of Tory Burch leopard knee high boots but never did quite make the purchase. It was too much leopard, even for me. I may change my mind again but at that time I chose a slightly edgier, but less in your face pair of leopard ankle wedge boot, that peeks out of your jeans and winks but doesn't scream at you. I also have a faux leopard coat, a vintage box handbag in a zebra print, giraffe round toe pumps, and several animal print clutches. Choose one piece, a lovely bag, a scarf, belt, or some great shoes--and use it as the accent to your everyday wardrobe--like your fav jeans or a neutral coat. I love animal prints with denim, black or camel and I also love them with a pop of red or bright yellow accent to accompany them, like a bag or scarf. Just make sure its one carefully thought out piece--I still cringe at the thought of my leopard pants I loved 15 years ago and wore quite a bit--yiiiiiikes.
So now that you know animal prints are back (ha ha) for fall, you can have fun this summer hunting around for the perfect piece to add to your fall wardrobe. Check out eBay for some great vintage finds if you like (just make sure they come from a smoke free home) or use ShopStyle.com to guide you through the jungle of websites to find a little something on the wild side.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

mentioning unmentionables

If you are a male friend or relative of mine who is kind enough to check in on my blog and be supportive, you might want to skip this one. It is about underwear. And may fall under the category of TMI for you. For the rest of you, I just have to share a find I had a couple of months ago that is going to cause me to make the following statement--I have found the best underwear in the world. It not a new line, but it is new to me. There are so many brands of undergarments out these days that you may be confused in the lingerie department to the point where you will pine for the cotton "3 for $10" packs of days gone by. Take heart, ladies, because it is so worth it to find something that you don't have to think about, and neither does the person walking behind you. I am talking about the Commando underwear line, a whisper thin seamless undergarment that is both comfy and invisible. There are styles for everyone, from boy shorts, girl shorts, thongs, in stay put fabrics, flat lace and a zillion colors. Being a Cosabella and Hanky Panky fan for years, I can honestly say I am a total convert. Pick up a pair and give them a try. I promise you will thank me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

clip clop

I'm in love. Its true. After months of deliberating about my latest shoe obsession, the clog, I have committed to a pair. I watched many designers trot out this "love it or hate it" shoe this spring--Chanel had a sky high version I coveted but at $1795 they were a little out of my range, Michael Kors camel version of the clog mule was fabulous as well, but I knew I wanted a lower heel for everyday wear and still a funky personality to make it work. One of favorite stops in Fremont, Show Pony, carries the Swedish Sven clog, and it was there that I made my first, but not my last, clog purchase. You custom design your own pair (how fun is that?) and choose from three shoe heights, several styles, and a whole rainbow of colors--from blue patent to sunflower yellow leather. I went for the medium height t-strap in a fun silver metallic--something that will go with shorts, a sundress, or cropped denim. Lest you think clogs are meant for chefs, the Dansko clog being a staple shoe among the culinary set, let me tell you this--these shoes might be comfortable but they are anything but frumpy. (Even the Dansko clog can be ordered in a funky "python" patent design).
This fabulous 70's shoe is going to evolve into a must have for fall in my opinion, and scouting around websites to check out what to buy next, I found a AMAZING and super fun Hasbeen lace up boot in a range of crayola colors (and black) -- a ankle Jodhpur boot, and a knee high version. There are a million choices, and I not talking about garden clogs or Crocs, people. I am going for the lace up boot in a crazy look at me color--and you can find your perfect clog at Show Pony, online at Hasbeen, or take a field trip to the Clog Factory on 1st Ave in Pioneer Square. Sandals now, boots in a couple of months--channel your inner flower child and add these awesome shoes to your closet. You may not be able to sneak up on anyone, but you'll make a statement when you get there! Happy shopping!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

color your world

I am a bit of a nail polish junkie. I once became obsessed with owning the Chanel Nail Colour Blue Satin when it came out in limited edition and hunted it down at a Nordstrom not near my home, paid for it in advance and drove half an hour to pick it up. A little over the top? Maybe. But its a classic deep blue that no one can duplicate and it is gorgeous--I always get a ton of compliments. For my birthday I received a delicious Chanel Imperial, a beautiful chocolate color from a friend who knows me well. I love it--and think of all the time she saved me. ;)
A great manicure and pedicure is something that I consider to be not just lovely, but plain old good grooming. Whether your a do it yourself girl or have your favorite neighborhood place, its something that is a must, in my book, especially come summer. I think nails look best kept short, and I like it to be quick, no massages or anything, I'm in and I'm out. I know some people like to bask in the luxury of time at the salon-- I want instant gratification and then I'm not using up any one's precious time, including my own. I am sure this has something to do with the inability to not be able to "do nothing". Anyway, its such a great way to express yourself, perk up your outfit, and just feel pulled together.
How can one not love OPI and their fun names for their polishes--I think that would be a great job--getting to come up with all those awesome color names. I currently a few OPI favorites, including "Chick Flick Cherry", "I'm Not Really A Waitress", "Lincoln Park After Dark:, "International Date Line", and my obsession for over a year now, "You Don't Know Jacques!" And although I love both Chanel and Butter colors, OPI is my favorite for many reasons--they go on and stay on great and they constantly introduce a new collection that keeps on trend for the season and what is going on in fashion. The "Shrek" series, for instance, sounds sort of out there, but you can go to the OPI website at http://www.opi.com and try on any of their colors on a pretend hand and check it out for yourself. While this isn't quite the same as looking at your own hand, it gives you an idea before you buy. The Alice In Wonderland series, inspired by Tim Burton's latest movie, is so beautiful you might be tempted to step out of your peach polish comfort zone and go for a "Mad As A Hatter" sparkling lavender.
If $12-$24 for nail polish is also not in your comfort zone there is always the drugstore classic, Sally Hansen. Their Instant Dry Fast Dry Nail Polish is exactly what it says, it dries within seconds and becomes mess up proof in half the time of regular polish. And you can go all pink and subtle or Juniper Jade, if you must, your choice.
Get your paws and tootsies ready for summer with a splash of color--and if you must go classic, remember, French manicures are lovely, French pedicures.....not so much!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

40 winks

A couple of years ago my friend Caroline showed up at school pickup with the most gorgeous set of lashes I had ever seen. She had lash extensions put on, individual lashes attached to each real lash, and had the most perfect set of peepers--glam and lush and natural all at the same time. These are not those stiff false lashes from days gone by. Caroline had had some lash loss after having her babies, and these extensions really made her eyes look amazing. While I loved them, they seemed like one more appointment in a long line of them I already had to keep myself a "natural beauty". I resisted the temptation, which for me, is major. Then, my friend Kari got them and WOW--they really made her already pretty eyes really fabulous. Finally, I could resist no longer. I decided to get a set put on for my upcoming trip to Paris, where I figured, I would love to be 24/7 glam and not have to worry about eye makeup at all for the trip. I made an appointment at Dina S. Good Salon in Belltown, known in our fair city as the best place in the business. An hour and a half later and $150.00 lighter in the wallet, I too was a lash lady. I couldn't stop looking at them! Woohoo!
On the third day of our time in Paris I figured my husband would have awoke from his jet lag fog and noticed. Did he think I just wasn't washing off my makeup? That my suddenly enhanced eyes were not mentioned at all the whole trip was a little odd, but he is a guy after all. I am still not sure of his opinion, all I know is a year later, when I wake up for the gym at 6 am I no longer look like I am dead, it takes me half the time it used to to get ready in the morning, I don't have to wear mascara, ever, and I love the way they look. And every two to three weeks, I pop back over to the little brownstone in Belltown, and while I get my extensions "filled" (they are actually lighter than mascara, and naturally shed a few over time), I have the most fabulous chats with Dina, the owner, who is charming and funny and knows a little bit (and alot) about everything. And she doesn't care if you take a 45 minute nap either, although I love our chats best.
Anyway, I have had so many compliments, from everyone, strangers in the grocery store, people at school--everyone except my Mom. She told me they were "too long"--is that even possible? Sorry, Mom, I am pretty sure you think I look like a drag queen, but I love them. xo
Here are some tips about getting lash extensions: Find a properly trained person or you could seriously damage your lashes--Dina and her staff know what they are doing--I am sure there are others out there--but do your homework. Don't go too long between fills or you will have to start all over. Two weeks works for me and its not a big deal time wise. Don't "pet" them--believe me, you won't even realize you are doing it--but it wrecks them. Tears also can cause them to suffer if you rub your eyes during your meltdown. Getting your 40 winks won't wreck them, so don't be paranoid about sleeping!
Now that I have probably weeded out all the people who think its too much effort with that last paragraph, let me just say that for all you girls that welcome a little effort for a lot of fab--this is my number one favorite beauty find--and I am in for the long haul--until they come up with the next great thing!
Details: Dina S. Good Salon, 2604 - 3rd Avenue, Seattle, 98121, 206-462-2268.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

the pleasure of your company

I have been back for a few days from my weekend gettaway with my girlfriends and have been thinking a lot about friends. With the new "Sex and The City 2" movie about to be released (that's next Thursday, people, so get your cosmo makings together!), the topic of friendship seems everywhere. My own young daughter has been dealing with the drama and growing pains of friendship in her gradeschool world--it has been so hard and it seems to start early. Since she was very little, I have told her to be herself, that there will be people in this world that you may not get along with, or even like all that much, but it more important to be kind and loving than beautiful. Don't ever be the mean girl, try your best, and walk away if you have to. I hope it helps--I feel her pain as if it were my own. I also need to listen to my own advice from time to time.
Back to Sex and The City...I love those characters and I think everyone seems to find a little bit of themselves in one or more of them. Of course everyone seems to think they are "Carrie", but truth be told we can't all be her, now can we? ;) Miranda might be a bit boring for some, Charlotte can be prissy, and no one would ever admit they were anything like Samantha, but maybe a little combo of all four is a good thing.
I have talked with my Mom a lot this year about friendships, how mine have changed, grown, disappointed, filled my life with laughter, and been an amazing and necessary part of my existence. She told me about the people that came and went in her life for different reasons, some hers, some theirs. I was told today that friendship is a little bit like clothing, and I agree. Some of it fits perfectly and you don't even have to try, some of it doesn't over time, and its good to know when to be open to someone new or revisit someone you have known forever and appreciate them. I know people have a love/hate thing about Facebook--I joined because my reunion was being planned through it, but over time I have reconnected with several old friends, even my childhood best friend, Kathy, who I adored then and still do, even though we haven't seen each other for years. I got to meet up with a sorority sister, Laurie, on my trip to Palm Springs because she saw my post on FB, and even though its been 15 years since I had seen her it felt like last week. Thats what I'm talking about.
I think the biggest compliment I have ever received has been being told I am a good friend. I think the luckiest day I ever had was the day I married my best friend. I hope that the people in my life know that how much I love their humor (I am talking to you, Kari), and their big hearts (Ms. Kacy--) and come next week, I will be joining the crowds of girlfriends off to the movies, and will be raising my own cosmo glass--to friendship. cheers~!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

hello sunshine

Packing is a fine art. I am a notorious overpacker. I like to think of this as being somewhat of an overachiever, but maybe its really more of being an optimist, or a boy scout. I mean, I am prepared for any fashion emergency, right? I have made many trips this past year to visit my parents, and I almost always hear "Don't bring too much, Lisa", when I announce my impending arrival. Yes, I know this is a deserved reputation. I have actually now almost always underpacked and it is an irritating experience. More irritating than injuring yourself lugging a heavy suitcase or crossing your fingers when heaving the bag onto the weight machine at the airport check in. I am going back to what I am good at.
I have read countless articles on how to pack for a trip, written by glamazons that zip off to Capri or Paris, jabbering about making sure to pack that "new Pucci bikini in all colors" (um, ok...I do have a Pucci scarf....) and yet I have retained almost none that I have read. I do know you are suppose to pack with a color theme in mind, say, black and grey with some white, but its hard to do. My friend Lindsay went to Paris and brought one pair of lovely black boots and that is it for the whole time she was there, plus a tiny suitcase. I admired her and yet I knew I would never be that girl. I like choices. On my trip to Paris last year I did have maybe three pairs of shoes, which I thought was excellent, but also brought an extra almost completely empty suitcase for shopping. Well, I was prepared at least.
Packing your suitcase is a very personal thing. I found this out after my husband and I started out in our marriage sharing a suitcase for trips. This always ended badly because I would change my mind and decided to hunt for the top that was inevitably in the bottom of the suitcase. My normally mild mannered husband was not mild mannered after several of those scenarios and we moved to separate suitcases and a more blissful start to our vacations.
Today I packed for a weekend in Palm Springs, which could not be more different weather wise right now than Seattle. I chose a theme of yellow, turquoise and grey. With some white. And, well, I am close anyway. I did follow the instructions for using accessories to help an outfit change from day to night. I tried everything on, edited out a few items and most importantly, brought a change of clothes and bikini in my carry on bag. Having had my lovingly packed suitcase go AWOL on me a couple girls trips ago, I know now to have an emergency kit with me, and by that I mean clean underwear tucked in with the lipgloss and wallet. I am ready to go--with room to spare. Sunshine, here I come.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Love Letter for My Mother

My Mom is an amazing woman. I know most people think this about their mother (or they should), but I know it is a fact with my mom. She is one of those people that truly is selfless, a rare and beautiful bird in this jungle. She has been married to my father, another amazing person, for almost 51 years and theirs is a love story of faith, determination, acceptance, fulfillment, and most of all the deepest kind of love and respect for each other that we all dream of in our own lifetimes.
My parents raised four kids, we all went to college and onto life and into our own marriages, the least amount of years being mine, all fifteen years of it and happily counting. They showed us you hang in there, you care, you don't always get your way, and you always say I love you, and mean it.
My mom is my best friend, but it wasn't always that way. I was a typical crazy, irresponsible teenager and I still remember her telling me there was nothing I could do that would make her not love me. Those words mattered, and I have said them to my own daughter as well. I remember being embarrassed, in typical teenage fashion, by her unfashionable white socks and mothering ways, and now I look back on that time and know how lucky I was, and am. I had one of those moms who was actually home when you came home from school every day, she baked cookies weekly, and set the table and cooked meals on a shoestring. She also listened, and cared. We didn't have a ton of money, but I never knew it or felt its pain, my parents kept that to themselves and let us be children, and my mom went without often. Once, when we had an argument on a Friday evening, I stomped off with my friends to the high school football game, and later my sister found me, with a hand written note from my mom, saying she was sorry. I couldn't believe my eyes, and it changed me. I will never forget that she showed me what it was like to love, always.
My mom was diagnosed last March with ALS. It is commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. It has been a tough year for my family, for my parents. Sometimes its felt like the longest goodbye ever, and it has made us feel angry, sad, sleepless, helpless, worried. It has also made our close family, closer. As my sister said, she has learned you don't get to choose what happens to you in this life, but you can choose what you do with it, and we have all chosen to spend more time together, to find joy and peace and even laughter in the right now. My mother has chosen, as always, to put her family first, to love her husband every minute, to show each of us how to have a life well lived. She never stops giving either. A quilter for many years, she continues to sell her miniature quilts on the Alzheimer's Association website to honor her father and mother in law. From her wheelchair, she chooses to keep giving. I chose this Mother's Day to tell you, Mom, I love you, I am proud to be your daughter, I know I will always have you with me. Love, your daughter

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

pool party

My annual girls weekend getaway is coming up next week and with it the inevitable problem of, yes, you guessed it, getting in a swimsuit. I saw a movie once with Annette Bening where she said the two most terrifying words for a woman in the English language were, "pool party". There are six of us that go on the yearly trip to catch up, get some sun, and get away--they are my girls and I love them. What would life be, after all, without our BFFs. Doesn't matter if you are seven or fifty-seven, you need them. Anyway, we come in all shapes and sizes, but the other five are for sure the following: in fabulous shape, tall, gorgeous, funny, fun, loving and look great in swimwear. I am the sixth one, the oldest, and the most likely to have a panic attack in the room prior to hitting the pool (yes, that actually happened two years ago...thank god my sister in law answered the phone back in Seattle). Well, since then I have been busy making peace with my imperfections and working to look the best I can, and....finding a suit that hides and enhances. I am not 25 but I am not 105 either. I just want to make sure I know when the ship sails for the bikini-- that I have boarded. Yet, surveying the racks today in the swimwear department at Nordstrom I divided the suits into three categories: 1. Meant for a teenager, 2. You worked hard all year--buy it and flaunt it sister! and 3. Throwing in the towel--otherwise known as the "tankini". Hmmmmmm.
I think I mentioned before that swimwear departments need a counselor or a adult beverage available for purchase, or both. :) I think if they got better lighting than everyone would be happy, including the salespeople, who would sell more suits! Anyway, I definitely think finding a great salesperson is key. I forgot a suit when we were in San Diego last September and ended up getting dropped off at one of those beach town swim shops crammed with a million suits. My husband said, "How long will you be?" as he prepared to hang out in the car and I answered, "What? OMG, you can't wait. This isn't a quick errand. See ya!" Anyway, despite the fact that the person helping me was super young didn't matter...she knew every suit and its fit in the whole place and was a great help. Plus I was honest (and realistic) and ended up with a great suit.
I am looking forward to next week and my favorite ladies and having a lot of fun. I plan on having my spray tan, drink, suit and attitude all in the proper place.

Friday, April 30, 2010

dressing the part

Is it bad to want to wear a Rolling Stone t-shirt to a country concert? We have tickets to Brooks and Dunn tomorrow night, and while I am mostly a rock kind of a girl, I love these guys. Last night my husband worried that he didn't have a western shirt to wear to the show, and I admit I semi-mocked him by saying, "Its not a costume party!". Or is it? If it were a Stones concert would I want to wear a bunch of black eyeliner and a rock concert t-shirt? Is that just as odd? Does it make me a rocker (um, no), or do I just fit in with the crowd. Which sometimes I don't feel like doing either. Its a little like being told what to do, and I am not one for that.
I grew up in Montana, I own a western style belt, cowboy boots that are broken in (read: beer has been spilled on them), and I have a cowboy shirt etc. It just seems super silly to dress like that but I guess that is what people do. I just don't want to. We all do it, dress a part depending on what we are doing or where we are going, even if we don't realize it. Have you ever dressed a little more conservatively for a night out with some mellower folks or grabbed a crazier shirt for a fun crowd of people? I bet you have. How different is that from dressing "appropriately". Like for a teacher conference or client meeting. My husband swears if he has on a suit or at least dress pants etc he gets treated with much more respect in a store or restaurant than if he has on his jeans. And no one wants to be the person who forgot its cocktail attire at a party so I guess standing out and fitting in both have their moments.
I think wearing what you love gives you confidence, and if that is a rock t-shirt to a country concert than more power to you (or in this case, me). I went downtown today, feeling guilty for not helping my husband out with his clothing dilemma, after all, men have attire issues as well, and bought him a western shirt. Then I went by the Levi's store to see if I could talk myself into something that didn't seem like such a costume. I came out with a pair of new Levi's, but they are blue/black plaid skinnies. I wonder if they will go with my cowboy boots.......

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

spring in your step

I have loved shoes since I was a little girl, but frankly, I don't know any woman that doesn't. I know they are out there, they just are not in my world. And plenty of men I know are shoe lovers, but none to the intensity of we women. My first pair of "fancy" shoes were purchased for me by my mother for my First Communion. They were white patent leather bucks with a chunky heel and a gold chain across the top of the shoe. I thought they were the most fabulous things I had ever seen and I put them on with my shorts when we got home and ran from house to house in my neighborhood knocking on doors and showing everyone their beauty. (I would love it if a kid did that to me, now that I am an adult!) I also had a pair of pink Ked tennis shoes that I named "The Pinkies". I don't know why I gave my shoes a name, but I wore them until they fell apart and my big toe popped out the top. There was also a pair of saddle shoes I loved in first grade which I called clodhoppers (what is with the naming of the shoes?). Ah, yes, my glamorous beginnings of shoe obsession.
I have been watching the spring styles come in and am happy to say that last years purchases are still very relevant. The gladiator sandal is still around with a slight twist--and is fabulous fun in both a flat and rocking high heels. The beautiful cage shoe is one of my favorites--do not be afraid of this--it is such a fun trend that can transform your outfit. I love the denim shoe trend and just purchased a pair of denim ankle collar flats that will be a summer favorite. Leather ruffles, zippers, chains, flowers--there doesn't seem to be a plain shoe in sight. And make sure you have your wedges in both a cork or raffia, and a nude--they look great with denim or dresses and also make your legs look super long. Plus, they require no Ibuprofen for a days (or nights) wear! Yes!
My favorite shoes have to be my steel grey platform peep toes by Christian Louboutin, they are sky high and super comfortable at the same time. I covet the beautiful shoes made by Mr. Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Chanel and Manolo Blahnik, and take good care of each pair I own, but I also think there is nothing like a trip to DSW for the cheap thrill. I think summer shoes are something that you shouldn't spend a ton of money on unless its a classic, like a ballet flat, and at DSW you can get spring fever without guilt. Just think carefully so you don't go home with some crazy shoe you'll never wear just because it was on sale. I almost did that today.
Take your winter boots to Johnny's Shoes in Ballard for a end of the season polish and store them away for now. You will be glad they are all cleaned up when you pull them out next fall. With all that room you have since you have cleaned your closet for the new season (right?) you now can put some spring in your step! Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

spring cleaning

I dream of a walk in closet. You know the one, with the fabulous tufted sofa in it you can lounge on with a glass of wine while you contemplate which dress to wear to that great party. The clothes are perfectly lined up, by color of course, in neat rows, not a wire hanger in sight. Shoes in boxes with their photos attached so you don't forget where your friends are, drawers with neatly folded lingerie. Yes, we all can have dreams. I had a nearly perfect closet once, minus the fab sofa and walk in part, but awesome none the less. My husband actually designed it from EasyClosets.com and we had custom doors made the length of the wall with glass knobs. It was wonderful when it was done, and then we moved almost immediately afterwards.
Ok, fast forward until today. At a party on Friday I was discussing with another woman how I was expertly avoiding this giant task of cleaning my tiny 1920's closet out and storing all my winter clothes. Its a huge project I do twice a year (spring and fall) and it is great because I do purge, take things to consignment, and make a little cash and a little room. Its to be avoided because it makes a huge mess and takes days and days. I avoid it for awhile. Like right now.
We have family coming this weekend, however, and I must get it together. Anyway, at this party I was told of the fabulous black velvet slim hangers they sell at Costco in boxes of 50 and how they don't wreck your clothes, they help fit lots more clothes in your closet and the velvet means nothing falls off the hanger. I zoomed out yesterday, avoided buying a Costco hotdog and eighteen or so "bargains" I didn't need, and have been at it ever since. Hoorah! The closet looks so organized and I can see what I own! I have a pile for Goodwill and a pile for Show Pony, a great store in Fremont that takes your well cared for consignment pieces.
Now, if I could only fit a sofa in there...........

Monday, April 19, 2010

work it out

I am fairly new, well, by about five years I guess, in the workout wardrobe area. It is something that can quickly take over a closet, and drawers, as one adds workout gear by season into the mix, together with spinning shoes, running gear, gym bags, headgear, iPod attachments, yoga mats, hand weights--wow, why am I not more goddess like with all this stuff in my life! I started with one pair of Champion black workout pants purchased from Target and over time have turned into a complete Lululemon addict. I justify this by the fact that I do, in fact, work out frequently (and don't wear it all day long most of the time......see previous blog) and the Target pants from long ago are long gone.
Its true, you don't have to spend a ton to get healthy--just get outside and get moving--although the most important thing you do is to get the right footgear. I am no expert in this area, but after hitting the gym in completely ancient shoes I developed major knee problems, which disappeared when I replace them with a new pair. Case and point for me!
My husband embarked on a new healthy path just about a year ago and has lost 40 lbs and counting. He is dedicated and his success has made me very proud. I am also secretly (or maybe not so secretly since I am blogging abut this online) frustrated and maybe a bit envious of his results since I have been hard at this for a few years now and I think if the only way I am gong to lose 40 lbs is to lose a limb. Well, fortunately I don't have that amount haunting me anyhow, and I am happy for a healthy spouse and I think we both are a good example for our children. Just 10. That's all I am asking for. 10 little pounds.

Ok, back to a cheerier topic--workout gear and all the great choices. As I mentioned before, Lululemon is my very favorite both for pants, jackets, and tops. I heart them. The quality is amazing--if you care for them correctly they will look like brand new forever. The jacket styles are flattering to all body types, the colors and styles of pants & tops are fun and hip and comfortable. Prices can be a little steep but there are constantly pieces going on sale and I heard a rumor that there is an outlet store up North. This Canadian company gets my vote for best all around gear. Lucy is another great place for workout gear and they have a great helpful staff that can get you set up. If you want to stay more budget minded pop into the above two to check the sale racks, and then continue your bargain hunt at Macy's which has Puma & Nike, or even Fred Meyer carries Addidas and more. And the Nike store downtown is definitely a fun visit that will get you motivated.

Motivation. For me, it is a certain high school reunion around the corner, the thought of a swimsuit, and the happiness I feel when I feel strong. Fitting in your jeans doesn't hurt either. I have a group of girlfriends who are very dedicated to exercise and good health and they completely inspire me to keep at it--thank you girls. My sister ran the LA Marathon last year--I was amazed by her strength. Its spring and its Monday, get started on something that will make you a better you--and leave the baggy sweats for garage cleaning day.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

pour l'amour de Paris

Don't be fooled by the title of my blog, my French is terrible. I am just feeling nostalgic since it was a year ago today that my husband and I embarked on a ten day trip to Paris. I took French lessons for awhile last year at Alliance Francaise de Seattle in anticipation of the trip, and completely tortured my classmates with my amazingly bad French. Our kind and patient instructor was encouraging, but alas, after one person told me that my attempts reminded her of being back in high school French class, I knew it was not meant to be. I was able to read it better than I could speak it, the people of Paris appreciated a person making the effort, and the trip was truly amazing.
One of the things I did was keep notes on my iPhone of all the fashion trends that I saw as we walked the streets, sat at cafes, and, of course, shopped. I decided to revisit the notes and see what has arrived here in Seattle in the past year, or, perhaps, been here already. The weather last April was similar to Seattle in the spring, there were some rainy colder days, and some glorious sunny days as well. That being said, in the footwear department there were still lots of boots on the feet of Parisians, mostly black and lots of them sky high, or motorcycle. Ballet flats were also everywhere, which is no surprise, and Converse tennis shoes were EVERYWHERE!! All colors, on all ages--young to old--sold on the streets and in high end stores. Everywhere you looked people were sporting them. Skinny jeans were on men and women, or a very slim cut darker jean. Leggings with dresses, shorts with tights underneath, huge black handbags were carried by many a city girl as well. Lots of hats, dresses with tiered ruffles and shorter coats with a pouf hemline and the sash tied with a one bow loop. And lots and lots of purple, in all hues.
And of course, scarves, scarves, scarves. After a trip to Hermes where I purchased my first (very small) scarf--I asked for their book on how to tie a scarf many ways. I had read in a Paris travel book that they don't offer these little treasures but will give one to you if you ask when you purchase something. It was three people deep to even get to the scarves but I did manage to find a lovely one and also received a small Hermes box that contained the coveted scarf tying secrets--on a deck of cards. And yes, it takes more than a deck of cards to emulate the style of our friends from France, but it felt like a treasure nonetheless.
My conclusion is that you just have to look at a jCrew catalog to know that many of these trends have made their way to us over the past year. And I think we have always been a Converse town, but the choices are much more extensive--sparkly silver Converse anyone? As for my love of Paris--I am continuing to follow its fascinating and fabulous street fashion via the Internet for now, but I think I just may need to make another trip soon--in the name of research...au revoir friends! lisa

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

who needs romeo when we have juliet....

I met Juliet Roger when my husband and I bought her house. Little did I know that from this real estate transaction I would gain not only a great home, but a collection of beautiful jewelry and a lovely friend. Although I think the title, "jewelry designer" gets tossed around just a bit too often, Juliet is the real deal. Her designs have many personalities--simple and elegant, edgy and fun, totally on trend and ahead of it as well. Using precious and semi-precious gems--this is one bling I cannot seem to get enough of! I get the most compliments on it of any jewelry I wear and I have given her pieces as gifts countless times. Its a birthday tradition between my girlfriends! Her jewelry has been featured in InStyle, Seattle Bride, Lucky, Real Simple and other mags that are in the know. It is also sold at Via C at Nordstrom and several boutiques around Seattle, but a trip to her Seattle studio is one of my favorite stops. And you know what they say about jewelry and handbags.....they always fit.
Stop by Juliet's studio from 12 to 5 pm on Friday, April 16, 2010, to celebrate her 10 year anniversary, check out her new spring line, get in on some special prices on pieces normally never on sale (they don't really need to be--they are so cool they fly out the door). Details: Juliet's Studio, 150 Prospect Street, Seattle, 98109, 206-282-3300. Happy shopping girls.

jacket required

Another rainy day here in the Seattle area had a few of us talking this morning about spring coats, or lack thereof. Its a time of year where a heavier jacket or even raincoat of a darker color look just a little off. Not being a fan of the fleece wear that is around the city, I decided to embark on a search for a few more fashionable options.
The double breasted trench is on the must have lists again and I think everyone needs one. You can replace the belt that comes with the coat with a wide belt from your closet--it gives it that extra pop that makes it your own. Try a patent one with a square buckle in a fun color if your coat is classic black, gray or tan. Also, look for a shorter version, meaning above the knee so you don't look like Professor Clouseou or (gasp) frumpy. Burberry, known for their classic trench, has a zillion great styles that are fabulous and chic--knotted epaulette shoulders, satin, tiered layers, and a very fun short version. Trenches come in great colors too--get a yellow one or go for a leopard version, just get one in your closet.
The shopping website ShopStyle is one of my favorites when I am looking for a certain thing and want to check out my options. This helpful and fun site shows you whatever you are looking for and then connects you to the webiste where you can purchase. It includes sale versions of said coveted item as well. Love it!
Motorcycle jackets were big in the fall and are continuing to dominate the spring look. I have found a white leather one that I deemed not too 'Michael Jackson" and it is like butter, but is faux leather. I have a cropped black leather one I throw over everything, dresses and tshirts alike. The military jacket and the boyfriend blazer are also two of my favorites right now. I have been wearing a black and white fringed scarf I bought at H&M nonstop with all of my jackets and it adds warmth and style. Its all in the details.
Last but not least, the jean jacket and sleeveless jean vest are everywhere, although I am not currently wild about the later, I will keep you posted. I need to think about it and so far I am thinking....no. My collarless jean jacket by paper denim & cloth I purchased five years ago has stood the test of time & still looks fitted and a little edgy, which is maybe a good reason to not go cropped on the jean jacket.
Military, trench, boyfriend blazer, leather, motorcycle jacket--with all those great options--some for style, some for style and warmth--walk away from the fleece ladies and have some fun! xo lisa

Monday, April 12, 2010

I heart denim

I recently did a reality check clean out of all my denim, which I was embarrassed to say, is quite a collection! Two piles were made--the too tight will ruin my day pile, and the they fit right now and love pile. The pile deemed to the sidelines for now had pairs I love and have not given up hope on so they went on the bottom shelf. I know this is not just a pipe dream because I have successfully fit back into pairs before and six days a week at the gym better show something pretty soon for gods sake. Anyway, someone told me that a woman she was having dinner with recently said she was so "over denim" and she was never wearing it again. I thought that was hilarious! I mean, really? I do agree that sometimes people need to know when to wear jeans and when to maybe throw on a little dress or something fun instead, but this is really not the right time to be "over" denim. The denim trend is everywhere--and its being embraced by all sorts of designers, from one end of the spectrum to the other. Manolo Blahnik has a slingback, a ballet flat, and a suede thong sandal--all in denim for spring. Chanel has several beautiful denim bags, plus there are denim jumpsuits, dresses, shorts, leggings, I even saw a True Religion denim bikini at Nordstrom--(which means Target probably has one too--they seem to always follow up). I just purchased the JBrand denim legging with zippers at the ankle and love them. Great color and stretch. I know it has that kind of 80's feel to it, but it is on trend with an oversized white shirt or nautical stripe dolman tshirt.
Jeans can also be tricky, and there are a million different companies making them, so its a bit of a job to find what works for you, but be open minded and take the time to try on all kinds. Some brands cut in at the waist, some of them stretch quite a bit as they are worn through the day, some are made for sticks and some for curvier chicks. Go to a place where they have a big selection--I like Mercer in UVillage because they are very knowledgeable on how each brand fits and will patiently bring you tons of styles and brands until you find the right fit. Try not to get hung up on size. I have quite a range of sizes depending on the make. For me, Rock and Republic are fab but I need to buy bigger, Joes Jeans and JBrand fit me true to size, and I have to go up again with with True Religion. Who cares, as long as they fit great.
So, get a dark denim for dressier looks, skinny jeans (yes, everyone can wear them--just wear them right!), boyfriend jeans (remember a more fitted top with that looser fit), and something cropped for spring. Don't be over denim, be all over it!

Friday, April 9, 2010

the art of the deal

Last night I went to the opening party of a new boutique here in the city. It had some fun things and the owner of the shop also owns a mens and women's store next door. It would have been more fun if I had actually shopped, but I was prohibited by the hesitation of a "membership" where you coughed up $500.00 to be privy to deep discounts on regular merchandise, 50% to 70% off. And the 500 bucks is really like a grand of spending money. What's not to like, right? Its not that the lovely Alice & Olivia tops and Joes Jeans weren't tempting me, because they were. I just couldn't quite pony it up and I am not sure why. This trend in shopping memberships is popping up everywhere. You can buy a yearly card to receive things like 15% off regular merchandise for a year for anywhere from $30 dollars on up. Its exclusive, right? Or not. I guess my hesitation lies in the merchandise is not unique or plentiful enough for me, and that is just a personal thing. I have done it in the past and ended up doing that dreaded thing we all do--buying because its on sale. If I make myself ask, "Would I buy it at full price I love it so much", most of the time I'd have to say no. Plus I have ended up buying the same things over and over (see "uniform" in previous blog) just because it was such a deal. And since my friends and I all go to this shop, we all end up with the same stuff. That does not appeal either. Granted, I have used my past "membership" to buy some really great wardrobe pieces that I may not have spent the money on otherwise.
My email box fills each morning with greetings from the likes of ideeli, Gilt Groupe, Haute Look, Daily Candy and other fun, free shopping websites where there are deep discounts on designer items, furnishings, etc. You have to be quick to jump on things, like as in the minute it starts if you see a line you love. I have an iPhone app from Gilt Groupe that I can order right from my phone after I am alerted that the starting gun has gone off (oh yeah!) Ordering things from time to time, like my new Torn lizard print tee that arrived yesterday, make me feel like I am mixing it up, adding new & unique pieces, and still getting a sweet deal.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Welcome To The Neighborhood!

Welcome to my blog, west fulton street. I am ready to move the writing in my head to an actual blog, and look forward to talking about things that I love--clothes, watching street fashion, people in my world showing their sense of style, and a little of my opinion on the art of getting dressed.
I live in Seattle, where I love the fact that we have actual seasons. Its an opportunity for freshening up your closet with the changing weather and being a layering kind of girl, adding and subtracting things with the change of season (or my mood). At one time I played with the idea of becoming a closet organizer, an idea that faded as I continued to trash my own closet looking for that one favorite tee or missing scarf. After I was hit on the head by a falling boot box while dealing with my pint size 1920's closet for the millionth time--well, I gave that idea the boot itself. (Sorry, Kari. But, look, now I am doing this! :)
the uniform
Admit it. You have one. And it says something about you, whether you have it on daily or its your go-to. Is it workout clothes and a baseball hat, (whether you are on your way to Pilates or you are trying to motivate to do something--and I am sorry but it is my least favorite--get dressed people!!!), a Michael Stars t-shirt in a different color every day, or a gray sweater & jeans (ok, that might be me--but not daily). Its that comfort zone kind of dressing that is good because it makes you feel good, and its bad because you don't ever change it up. Someone asked my Mom once, that if she could have her hair be any color in the world, why on earth would she choose gray? Since being chastised for eyeing yet one more gray Vince sweater, that I didn't buy, by the way, I am vowing to make it fun more often. Be a little less gray.
shop the closet?
Last week I thought if I got one more email or pick up one more magazine with a "must have list" for spring I was going to scream, when I realized, I think I have most of the must haves floating about, I just didn't realize it. If you have been paying attention the last few years, you probably already have flats (even the now pointed toe one is back again). And wedges have been prominent for the past few years, and as my wise friend Kelly says, "Everything looks better with a wedge." And she is right. Spring scarf? Check. Shorts? If you purchased a winter pair in a seasonless fabric like I did from Anthropologie, then you can move them right into spring paired with a feminine top & tights or no tights. And again the flats or wedge.
That being said, I admit I love to shop. I love vintage jewelry & handbags, new shoes, a beautifully cut coat. It changes me. It makes me feel different to look different and I love that.
Well, that is all for today. I just wanted to start my blog. Mission accomplished for today. Hope to see you around the neighborhood. I'll be the one in that just a bit too big leopard coat. xo