Saturday, May 21, 2011

beach bunny

A couple of years ago my friends and I went on a girls weekend to Vegas.  I know, I know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas....but this blog is about beachwear.  :)  The first day we arrived we threw our things in the rooms and got into our swimsuits to head to the hotel pool.  Being Pacific Northwest girls, we didn't want to waste any time taking advantage of the sun.  The six of us hopped into the elevator, and Kelly, the tiniest of the group, was sporting possibly the biggest beach bag I have ever seen.  It was bigger than she was--- the rest of us could hardly get into the elevator around it--and no one could stop laughing.  I mean, I get it, this small lady is the mother of three kids so when she packs for the pool she's bringing towels, gear, sunscreen, toys, snacks, magazines, and everything else you can think of for a family of five.  Its a little hard to get out of that mindset and realize you only have to think about what YOU need for what is hopefully relaxing fun.  Hence the name, "girls weekend".
That funny incident came to mind when I packed for the last couple of trips to the sun.  Whether you have a family trip or an adult weekend, a car trip or a plane ride will effect the size and shape of your bag.  I am definitely a fan of mixing the high and the low, and when it comes to a beach bag--starting at Target can be great way to go.  The Calypso St. Bart for Target bag is a sassy way to say hello to the sun, and pretty enough to carry on the plane.  Should you feel like stepping it up a bit, Marc by Marc Jacobs Preppy Straw Rose Tote (could the name be any longer?) is fabulous.  I also love the ethnic print and style of the bluma project orange print beach bag for a bit of hippie chick cool.
A few years ago, everyone had on trucker hats at the pool, (remember Ed Hardy--eek) followed by cowboy hats, and now every man and woman I saw seemed to be sporting a straw fedora (including me).  I purchased one when I was in Palm Springs and crushed it accidently on the way home, so had to commit to wearing its replacement on the plane when I took my next trip.  Its one of those vacation purchases that will actually work well back in my real world summer wardrobe (hoorah!).
Swimwear coverups are just as important as your actual swimsuit--throwing on a pair of shorts and tshirt over your suit is a thing of the past, ladies.  DVF makes some of the most glamourous coverups out there--sophisticated enough to take you from your pool chair to cocktails without a thought.
While I love Target, once again, for cute and affordable covers, I am not a fan of their swimsuits.  I have found time and time again that a bit of investment in a great suit means you can wear it for many seasons, and the cheaper suits just seem to stretch, pill, and become worse with time than my actual figure!  NG.  Who do I love the best for swimwear? JCrew.  We all have our body issues, but they have styles and sizes for every beach bunny.
Finally, what to put inside that beach bag of yours?  I am finally going to read The Help by Kathryn Stockett, which my friend Kacy lent me quite awhile ago and Chef's Walk Seattle by Tom Douglas on Kindle.  That and my Clarins sunscreen, a pair of Ray Bans and I am ready.  All I need now is a plane ticket....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

bohemian rhapsody

Summer is around the corner--the temps are heading towards the 70's--and the 70's are also making their way into my summertime closet.  Maxi dresses, wedge sandals, flare jeans, and peasant blouses are all such a lovely change from the grey Vince cashmere sweater I have been wrapped in constantly since last fall.
Recently I discovered a new jewelry designer while checking out the latest boho on Cusp, Neiman Marcus' sister website that is geared towards the more hipster crowd, and I am in love!
The Josefina de Alba jewelry designers are sisters Karina and Marcela Padilla, who have combined sterling silver and Kuichol Indian artistic beading to create stunning necklaces, earrings, bracelets and headbands.  I ordered the Beaded Fringe "Fabulous" Earrings and was dually impressed by the beauty of the colors--and how gracefully they moved with my long hair--lovely and free spirited simplicity.  Check out their website to view their entire collection.
A few other accessories that have a cool summer vibe, Juicy Couture's Kissing Birds Ring, a chunky ring with a sweetly unique design, (I think it would make a great gift for someone special), Serafina's Mini Feather Earrings, which are a gorgeous and funky, and finally, the stunning Nakamol Beaded Cuff, which will turn a simple outfit into a head turner.
Accessorizing with a bohemian piece is a great way to try out the trend of the moment without a wardrobe overhaul--whether it is feathers, beading, or a bit of fringe.  Peace, love and hippie chicks.

Monday, May 9, 2011

the long and the short of it

I love that shorts have gone from a summer wardrobe staple to a year round fashionable alternative to wearing pants or a skirt.  Last fall when my friend Kacy and I went off to NYC, at the top of my shopping list was a pair of leather shorts.  Don't be frightened by this, I don't mean leather stripper girl hot pants--and I found a great pair of Elizabeth and James motorcycle leather shorts that I have worn an absolute ton.  I paired them with opaque tights and knee high flat boots, and am happy that now that the weather is warmer I can still wear them, but with bare legs, a floral top and shoes with a bit of an edge, like a black Roman sandal, wedge sandal or embellished flats.
Shorts can be tricky.  I think the super short styles are best left to a younger woman or for the beach, but frankly it kind of depends on where you live & of course your body type. A rear view peek before you leave the house can give you a reality check, should you need it.  As always, fit and proportion matter.
Remember "walking shorts" as they were called in the 80's?  How about "pedal pushers"? Bermudas?  If you do, then choose carefully before you put a pair of shorts that hit behind the knee--because I have to be honest here--longer doesn't always mean more flattering--and you could end up looking frumpy.  If you are more comfortable in longer styles, make sure your top is flattering, a flowing blouse or tee--and cute flats.  I am not a fan of those tight denim knee length shorts--I think they look good on no one.  I will make an exception with the Hudson Jeans Viceroy Stretch Shorts--(in white), these have an incredibly flattering fit and looks awesome dressed up with a wedge.  Or you can always roll the legs a couple of times for a more casual look with your favorite flip flops.  And watch the pleats, sister.  My leather shorts have pleats but they don't make me look like I am ten feet wide, they just make the fabric (or in this case, leather) lay right.
My favorite look in shorts this season--a white short with a floral top, cuffed paperbag styles, leather shorts with a sequin tee and a classic camel colored short with a funky sweater.  The deal breaker on taking shorts from basic casual wear to chic outfit?  The shoes. Come on, show us your gams girl!

Friday, May 6, 2011

breakfast at tiffany's

Today is my 16th wedding anniversary.  For many years, my husband would give me a card each year and inside would be an illustration of a little wrapped gift with the words "little blue box" written underneath it.  It was a little promise of a gift just around the corner, and I was ok with it.  Until I wasn't.  I finally had to put my foot down and tell him I didn't want any more fancy illustrations--and I was fine without the little blue box ever coming...just stop saying it might be.
Let me make something clear about my spouse, he is a lovely and generous man.  And the thing is, I think he always meant each year, after the bonus came or we finished the remodel, or he got a minute or whatever, that he would bust a move to Tiffany's, find me a treasure, and he could check the box, so to speak. And on Valentine's Day one year it did actually happen, so I am not complaining, merely story telling.  Again, this kind and thoughtful guy loves me and I know this and I certainly don't need a blue box to prove it but after awhile it was annoying, then it turned into funny, and now its a thing to tease about, and I really stopped ever thinking about it.  After all, I know how lucky I am to have his love, and that is not something that fits inside a damn box.
So this morning when an actual real live little blue Tiffany's box showed up at the breakfast table it was a bit of a surprise, and a sweet one at that.  I am not going to tell you what was inside, but lets just say it was amazing and wonderful and fit me perfectly, just like him.  Happy Anniversary.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

my mother, myself

Yes, that is me in the photo.  I was a first grader at a Catholic grade school and had just had my first "driving accident".  I got a little too fancy with my bike riding and ended up hitting a crack in the sidewalk that sent me over the top of the handlebars --where I promptly did a face plant onto the cement.  That resulted in a bloody nose and two black eyes.  I still remember doing almost all of it, including my favorite little yellow & white checkered summer blouse I was wearing that was covered in blood, and the fact that I was only worried about if I was going to have to go to bed early.  I also remember my Mom reassuring me as she cleaned my wounds and my trashed top in the bathroom that, "Little girls who have black eyes get to stay up as late as they want!"  Well, that worked for me.  Phew. I am certain that the memories of that day are correct, trust me, my memory is a great one. I am the person in the room that will remember what you were wearing when you told me something at a party that in 10 years you won't even recall you attended.  It is a bit of a blessing and a curse, really.
That little snapshot of a moment in my young life started me thinking about Mother's Day and about mothering.  At that point, my parents had four kids under the age of nine.  Yikes.  I am crazy busy with just two of my own little people.
We all know that being a Mom (and a Dad) is hard work.  It is not for the faint of heart.  My daughter bounces back and forth between wanting to being a little girl and growing into her own person.  My son is still a Mama's boy in the best sense of the word.  Right now they need me, for shoelace tying and homework, but I know that not too far down the road they will want to spend more time with their friends than with me, that I will be needed less for shoelaces and more for growing pains.  I remember when they were very tiny, my friends and I used to say that just when we had one of their "stages" figured out, they started a new one.  I think that may be a recurring theme of parenting.
I am certain I probably scared the hell out of my Mom that May evening when I bounced off the sidewalk in dramatic style, but my Mom's kindness, love and reassurance always made it all ok, no matter what.  I remember what her hugs felt like when I was small, how soft her skin was, how her presence always made everything good again.
I worry every day of my life that I will do the right thing for my children, that I will be the best mother I can be.  Some days I may fail to reach my own high benchmark, other days I look at their sleeping faces and know that they are safe, happy, mine.  Happy Mother's Day to you, Mom.  You are in my heart always.  love, your daughter