Saturday, December 1, 2012

high five

Today I had coffee with a friend who I completely love, but our schedules always conflict, and we hardly ever get to see each other. It made me so happy to see her, and it couldn't have been a more perfect way to start off what is traditional the craziest month of the year.  You know those people you have in your life that you just pick up where you left off, even though its been forever since you have seen each other?  And no one is keeping score, you just are happy to reconnect.  (like you, Zig--xo)
Anyway, I love this friend so much, even when she kicks my you know what for being flaky or not being the person I could be. We met several years ago during decor set up for our school auction and although I had seen her around school, our children were different ages so we never talked.  It took another year and another meeting at a school auction decor setup to finally kick off our friendship.  Ever since then I feel like every time we are together I cannot stop laughing.
Friendship is a funny thing.  Sometimes friends disappoint.  They can let you down, leave you out, not be the person you thought they were.  And it can be painful, like the loss of a love.  Some friends come into our lives through common bonds, like children, work, or neighborhoods.  Or school auctions.  The most enduring friendships I have had don't mind the years or miles, different paths or busy schedules.  They are like a love that simmers, sometimes neglected, never forgotten, but to be counted on, always.
One of the best compliments I ever received was from one of my oldest & dearest friends who told me once that she knew I was one person she could call in the middle of the night and I would be there.  And I would.
My Mom told me once during a period when one of my friendships went through a painful transition, that you don't need to change friends if you understand that friends change. After I heard that, I stopped grieving the friendship I no longer had, knowing that this person would always be part of my life, just in a different way.
My friend, she is one great lady.  A mother, wife, businesswoman, graphic designer, plumber (just kidding), and all around beautiful person, she gives, celebrates, encourages, and makes the world a better place.  During our auction days we used to high five each other after we successfully completed our projects and its been a little joke between us ever since.
This season I think that the gift of friendship makes me just about the luckiest girl in the world.  I have got good people around me. Some I see every day, some hardly ever. All of them mean more to me than anything you could find on a Cyber Monday.
And high five to you, my friend.  You know who you are.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

psychedelic furs

I think one of the things I love most about the fall are the textures.  Tweeds, velvet, leather, wool, cashmere and fur make keeping cozy so much more fashionable. From boots to scarfs, sweater & coats, tis the season for glam details that take things up a notch.
One of my personal favorites is fur.  Whether you go for faux or real is up to you, but nothing caught my attention more this fall than the colored furs that are everywhere.  When my uniform of gray, brown or black needs a boost I always go for a cool scarf--my favorite being my multicolored fur similar to this one that boasts a happy mix of brights & neutrals.  Want to be even more fabulous? Add a fur chubby, like this Tasha Tarno one that is spot on.
Denim have gone from being a closet staple to a whole other level of amazing colors & fabrics.  We used to have to choose just a style or wash, but now there is so much more fun to be had. Wax denim has been it for a long time, now it comes in colors, and you can add metallic, patternedvelvet to the mix.  If you have a good amount of lycra in the fabric, be sure they fit you snug, otherwise they will be a baggy mess an hour into the day.  Trust me on this.  And the style is very fitted these days, so paying attention to proportions on your top half is important.  Balance fitted with a looser fit on top, like this great chunky cable sweater from Free People.  Short boots were everywhere in New York, but super tall boots are also easy to wear with more fitted denim. Get some pants with personality--even if you don't like to stand out you can make a subtle statement with all of the choices out there.
I read this article not too long ago that claimed that women over forty should not wear leather next to their faces....I take serious issue with this.  They actually claimed that having leather next to a face that may be.... "similar" was a fashion error.  Really?  This rule seems ridiculously close to some other outdated thoughts, like cutting your hair short after a certain age or not wearing red lipstick.  I like to think of aging and fashion should be following these simple rules--dress for your body type, and don't be a slave to trend overload.  That looks good on no one.
Back to leather.  Yes, please.  I love the leather details this year, like sleeves-this Elie Tahari coat is so beautifully elegant.  And this ELEVENPARIS cardigan is the coolest sweater ever.  Mixed textures soften the look of leather, so find a soft sweater or tweed coat with leather details & you will have a match made in heaven.
I think my favorite look is not having a look, but telling a story about yourself each time you get dressed. Paul Auster says in The Brooklyn Follies, “The truth of the story lies in the details.”  I couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I am continuing my obsession with bracelets that started this summer into fall, and I cannot get enough of the super stacked, piled on look.  Its one of those instances where more is well, better. The look of a chunky mens watch mixed with chain link, leather & metal, bangles, cuffs & tied silk is an instant glam look, especially when worn on both arms.  Mix your metals, show delicate & chunky together, you can go a little or alot. I like to find a common thread that makes the look come together, but you don't have to.  I also like wearing them off balance, the arm with my watch I may pile more onto, then only have three or five skinny bracelets on the opposite arm.  The look has glam, rock & roll, and a richness, and it is a great way to express yourself.  A side note, I steer clear of string, neon, or anything that my 11 year old daughter might wear.  Not that it doesn't look great on her....
My favorite bangles are made by Juliet Roger, a Seattle based jewelry designer that is an absolute favorite of mine.  She had me with the colorful semi-precious stone bangle, I have more than I care to admit, ahem, but her newest designs have me ready for more.  Her Sponge Coral & Leather Bracelets and leather & pearl bracelets make a great combination and a sneak peek at her newest braided silk bracelets that have these beautiful stones woven round the delicate rope braid-- LOVE.
And what girl doesn't love a good cuff?  Its now a wardrobe essential, in every season.  This Aurelie Bidermann plated cuff is a big fat WOW but if its a little too much commitment for you, I'd recommend the House of Harlow Etched Stack Cuff--Nicole Richie's jewelry line is always unique and well done. Another fav--the Ted Rossi Python & Gold Metal Cuff picks up on the big fall red trend & I am digging its cool metal grommets. And of course you can find the leather studded stackable bracelets just about everywhere, mix the black and brown and wear them in uneven numbers.
Dig out all your arm candy from your jewel box and figure out how to mix and unmatch your way into a great fall look that tells the world a little about you.  Instaglam!

Monday, August 27, 2012

dancing shoes

The ballerina flat is the epitome of French elegance and timeless style.  There is a story that the ballet shoes originally worn by the dancers at the French ballet had heels, but after Marie Antoinette walked to the guillotine in them, well, the ballet shoe lost its heel.  Since then, they have been been a stylish addition to any woman's wardrobe--who can forget Audrey Hepburn in the movie Funny Face, gliding about in her capri pants and perfect little flats?  The Repetto shoe was created in 1947 as an actual ballet dancing shoe, but the company has since then grown to become an ideal of this chic little shoe off of the stage as well. They have expanded to include loafers & other flats of all kinds.
While the original ballet flat is understated elegance, it now can be seen in as many styles and colors as you could imagine--the rounded, pointed or capped toes, suede, leather, animal hair, patent, studded, striped. This fall the ballerina is still a must have for every closet--whether you are in a cropped pair of pants or skirt, there isn't any thing as simply chic.
I was given a pair of Chanel black calfskin ballet flats before our first trip to Paris, and I wore them so often that I resoled them last spring and they made a second trip there--they are one of my most favorite pairs.
My friend Monica took me to some of her favorite shopping spots in Paris last spring and the first thing I did is purchase a pair of blue suede ballerinas.  Everywhere you looked, the women were wearing them. I covet the Lanvin flat almost as much as the Chanel, and this pair of chic red Lanvin ballerinas would probably make the best Christmas present ever, if Santa is reading this.  I'd say I have been good.  Most the time.  Size 39 please.
DVF (that's Diane von Furstenburg for those of you who haven't shopped in the past 30 years) is known for her beautiful dresses, but her handbags & shoes are just as lovely.  In Sun Valley this past week I found the most incredible pair of espadrille/ballet flat shoe, the Botswana that has a leopard calf hair front, and a gold edge combined with a solid back that can be folded down to alter the ballerina into a slip on.  I might have bought them there if one of the salespeople had bothered with me at all.  So I went home and ordered them online. :)  Hello?
You don't need to be a demure lady to wear these shoes, this studded pair by Alexander McQueen -- in a skull embellished leather are perfect for your rock & roll girls, although I have to say that I actually wore out my Rock & Republic Lanie Ballet Flat in black and reordered it in red suede--this shoe proves you don't need a heel to have an edge.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

london calling

Last April when we were in London for basically about 24 hours, I looked about for a Union Jack bag that was fun and modern to bring back with me, but came up empty handed.  I wanted a clutch or smaller bag but never came across anything, and frankly, didn't have much time to look for what I had in mind.  My fashionable friend Caroline showed up at a dinner some months later with a sequin Union Jack bag she had bought on a trip to South Africa, a little number from Accessorize, an inexpensive little shop specializing in the cheap & current.  With the Summer Olympics a few days away, I came back to my obsession, and found a few interesting little numbers, in case you also were feeling London calling.
Designer Sarah Burton pays homage to the late Alexander McQueen's heritage with the iconic Union Jack Box Clutch. With its signature gilded skull clasp, it is THE timeless bag.  Its been made in different materials but I love it as the red, white and blue.  It is the perfect addition to any collection. 
Heading in the other direction, I found a fun bag on the Target website, a chain mail clutch that is fun and current, not Alexander McQueen, but a great little find.  Charlotte Olympia's London 2012 Pandora Perspective Clutch has three interchangeable zip pouches, including a London skyline, Union Jack, and a crown. Beautiful!
My absolute favorite, AM being a bit out of my price range, is the Brit Manhattan Clutch, a long chain bag or clutch--it is beautiful and cool.  Love. And I cannot not mention the talented Lulu Guinness and her Union Jack Snakeskin Lips Clutch, her bags are always beautiful and original.  Its comes in the Old Glory too, if you are feeling patriotic. 
Stateside, it is a little trickier to find a good UJ bag, but online you can find your little bit of Brit in many a price range.  Get your Olympic Spirit together fashionably, the Union Jack is in the spotlight now, but remains as always, a classic. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

fashion forward

Autumn is my favorite time of year.  As a Seattle resident, I have made peace with the reality that summer is almost always late to the party, but stays into the fall, making it a lovely end to what is usually the shortest season ever.  So by the time July arrives, I am might be flip flopping about in my sundresses, but my mind is on the fall fashion.  Don't hate me because I have a short attention span.  I know the realities, plus I am easily bored.   Anyway, Monica tells me Paris is still waiting for summer and she actually saw women in boots last we aren't the only ones waiting for something....this being said it is Paris, so I am sure its hard to mind too much.
I did the presale for Nordstrom's upcoming sale last week.  They offered we Fashion Rewards Members the option of doing it online this year, which was a bonus for me since I was too busy to actually go in to a store.  Unfortunately, they didn't anticipate for some unknown reason, that everyone would love that option (helloooo?) and the website was a nightmare to use, slow, with many problems.  Later that day it was corrected, but I have to say that I should have gone in.  My purchases have not yet arrived, but I was happy to see some of my favorite fall trends in the catalog. Here is a little shopping list for you girls.  And remember a few rules I personally think are for your body, not your age.  If you have to talk yourself into it, its not meant for you.  Do not wear head to toe trends, have one, possibly two things in your outfit stand out, otherwise you are a neon sign for trying too hard.  And along the lines of trying new things--do it--if you really like something--be brave!  A friend you trust is always a good idea, as long as its not your friend that might secretly be a little competitive with you, you know the person I mean.  I always have an opinion and would love to tag along, so call me.  :)
Ok, back to the list.  Here are my favorites:
1. Leather & leather details.  Leather sleeves on trenches, leather cuffs & collars on blouses, mixed media leather pieces in denim.  And look for leather legs everywhere.
2. Speaking of denim, choices could not be more exciting this fall.  I am a huge fan of wax coated denim, and metallic denim is another trend I think is brilliant.  Elle MacPherson does it perfectly with metallics that are not too tight, a loose fitting sweater, and point toe heels.  Fantastic.  Colored denim is a must--they look great now and can transfer into fall paired with grey & black. I am super psyched for my Rich & Skinny Legacy Houndstooth pair for fall--patterns that are subtle work best for me & these are perfect. Also, looked for cropped styles in pants with a slimmer leg, including the slim boyfriend.  And please don't fear the skinny jean.  Learn to wear it properly because its here to stay in one form or another.
3.  Contrast collars and cuffs.  I love the embellishments, the contrasting collar  and the blouse with a peter pan or pointed collars.  You can create your own contrast top with a patterned blouse underneath a contrasting top--just make sure the tones are the same & mix up the patterns.
4.  Shoes.  Cap toes in shoes and boots.  Super sexy in heels, classic flat or hipster in an ankle boot, this detail makes feet more fun.  And the boots.  That might be a whole other blog, but I do love the booties, like this pair of Jeffrey Campbell Fifty-One Booties that cover the green trend as well.  There is also a western look to many of the booties, as well as cowboy boots.  And wedge sneakers.  While wishing for Isabel Marant in Paris, I bought my Ash pair instead--super cool--get a pair.
5.  The oxblood or burgandy color is back and the burgundy lip is a trend that I love.  I tried a gloss in a purplish hue as a paper step & loved it--now I am going to go full on burgundy lips for fall as a cool nighttime look.  Shades of green are reappearing for fall as well as the blue & black combos that are amazing--I have always been a fan of navy & black.
6.  Snakeskin, python and snakeskin prints.  I fell for the Sam Edelmen Petty Bootie and plan on pairing them with my straight leg cropped denim, skirts, as well as skinny jeans. Python is showing up in bags and accessories--its cool in a subtle way.
More later.  Get excited for fall, even as you plan your next BBQ.  Enjoy the moment and look forward to exciting things to come!

Friday, June 22, 2012

le stripe

The calendar says summertime is here but I am still thinking back to my time in Paris this past March and waiting for my friend Monica to give me the latest report from there with what is new on the streets this summer.  Its sounds like Paris is similar to us right now, as we in the Pacific Northwest are still in the days of summer sun one day, and clouds the next.  Can you say layers?
In the meantime, layers aside, I have to say I always love to introduce stripes into my wardrobe as the weather warms up.  There is something so classic, so cool, so optimistic about the stripe.  It can take on a nautical feel, a Parisian girl look, an update your closet needs as desperately as new white tees every year.
I know that the striped shirts are a must, but lets get to those in a minute.  I want to talk striped skirt here, and I know those words can invoke nearly as much fear as "swim suit", especially among those with a curvier figure.  Be brave and adventurous my friend, and go beyond the t-shirt with a fun skirt.  The 10 Crosby Derek Lam Striped Pencil Skirt is an incredibly cool way to do the 8 to 5 day, and I would pair the Raquel Allegra Pencil Tie Dye Skirt with a beautiful square cut blouse to offset the fit of the skirt.  And this one by Nanette Lepore is my favorite--its perfection, especially with the open back top.  For a more casual look, you can find beach maxi skirts, flirty minis, and casual circle skirts in vertical and horizontals.  This Free People Rugby Column Skirt is exactly what I am talking about.  It rocks.
This C&C California top has a 3/4 sleeve and a cool cutout at the shoulder and looked great paired with my red suede wedges and cropped denim at the first summer soiree I attended last week.  You could also dress it down with a pair of shorts for a daytime look.  Zadig and Voltaire do it right with their knits--this Striped Boxy T-Shirt is spot on with its modern cut.  And what kind of Parisian girl wannabe would I be without speaking of Petit Bateau and their fantastic t-shirt collection and its cult like following. They are the gold standard for fit & fabric...the Boatneck Milleraies Tee--need I say more...?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

to dye for

Tie dye has come a long way from the t-shirt in your kitchen using the Rit dye method of 1970's fame.  Today it can be called dip dyeing, tie dye, or ombre in its many patterns & forms.  Ombre is a French word meaning "to shade" and is used to describe something where a color or colors progress from light to dark.  The progression of color is quite beautiful, giving garments a uniqueness to them that is soft & summery, different than the color block trend, where you have a distinct beginning and end to each section of color on the garment. You can do dyeing methods like these yourself if you'd like, there are YouTube videos with great instructions, but I'd rather go shopping. ;)
Michael Stars, Joie Soft, and many others have great tshirts that I think are sexy yet comfortable, a perfect match with white jeans or shorts. Young, Fabulous & Broke has it down perfect, my three favorites so far are the  Leilani Sunset Ombre Maxi Dress -- perfect for day or night this summer- the Tegan Ombre Halter Maxi is a bit dressier for an evening event--the halter style is fantastic, and the Printed Maxi, with its more tie dye effect.  Its hard to, one more....the Jill Strapless Jumpsuit...LOVE!  (although ombre pants in general...on the fence...)  Skirts are definitely a favorite of mine as well, they are easy & comfortable--this Bailey 44 Gazelle skirt comes in two colors and would be perfect with a square off the shoulder tee.
Add an accessory like a scarf or earrings if you want a little something that pops without wearing the trend on a larger scale--it is such a cool way to say hello summer.  Even if its 50 and raining.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

here comes the sun

I have had the worst case of writers block ever.  I have been looking for inspiration everywhere, and usually I don't have to look far, an idea pops into my head in the middle of the night or other random times.  But for the past month I have been watching the spring/summer fashion roll out with, well, a whole bunch of nothing.  Not usually one to lack for words, I have been silent.
Today I decided to venture away from the glamour of the laundry pile and head downtown to tick off a to do list.  Recently, a new wave of grief over my mother's death has reared its ugly head unexpectedly, sending me down the black hole.  But I am climbing out, damn it.  My strength, after all, is inherited partly from my mother, and she would have told me to get a move on.  So off I went.
I drug out the bins with my summer wardrobe, time to pack away the super wintery sweaters and pull out some color.  I actually do have a few loves for summer and so here is my list for what I think will inspire me once again....
1.  Cap toe ballet flats.  A bit of spin off of the color blocking trend, these are great new twist on a classic shoe--you can go classic, like the Alberto Fermani pair or be a little funkier, like this pair Kate Spade cork & neon pair.
2.  Denim Maxi Skirt. Maxi skirts in general are hot this season.  I am a fan of this one from (oddly) CJ by Cookie Johnson at Neimans but also LOVE this tie dye one with the fun leopard waist band by XCVI Drape Cocoon Skirt from Zappos, which means if you like it today, you can wear it out tomorrow night.  :)
3.  Tshirts with a little cutout.  Big fan of the tulip back tee--I have a solid black one I have worn a ton from Stylemint and this Anthropologie has several in this style, including the Graduated Dip-Dyed Tee.
4.  Black lace on white.  This top from Nicole Miller is the perfect combo of classy & cool.
5.  Neon shoe detail.  A little neon goes a long way, and I think that neon and neutral combinations are fantastic.  This Juicy Couture wedge is the perfect summer shoe.
6.  Cropped denim.  J Brand Gigi is my absolutely favorite fit, whether you opt for classic blue denim or a colored pair, my Habitual Alice Skinny in Spanish Moss has been my go to colored jean this year.  Patterned denim also dominates, so if you like your legs to rock leopard, polka dots, or florals, you go girl.
7.  Cropped jackets.  Twill, leather, denim.  I love them layered over a floaty dress or a your favorite tshirt.  My favorite one is a soft pleather one in a nude/peach that I got at Target last year, so you can find them in every price point.
Have fun adding some newness to your summer wardrobe this season.  Finally, here comes the sun.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

printemps à paris

My recent week long trip to Paris to celebrate my birthday and visit my favorite city (NYC you are a close second) was a great time to check out what is happening with fashion on the streets.  My friend Monica, who is living there for a year, is quite a stylish girl herself, and lucky for me, knew the great areas to shop and shared some of what she saw going on over the fall and winter in Paris.  I made notes of what I saw and have compiled a list.  The Parisian women I saw were chic and cool without ever looking like they over thought their look or had "an outfit".  I think there is a tendency to try to match too much here, that seems to be one of the keys to that stylish Parisian look.  I believe the trick is wear the same color tones, not necessarily the same colors in your outfit, keep on trend by adding something fresh this season (not 10 trendy things at once!), and be confident.  Dress for your body type, not your age.  Emulate a look you see on someone else.  Don't be afraid to try something new.  And don't think you have to reinvent your whole wardrobe each season, you can add something new, like a neon tank, under your favorite sweater, for example.  I personally like the look of classics mixed with modern, like a beautiful little ballet flat paired with something like a more edgy layered tee.  Whatever your style is, here is a little inspiration, from Paris, and from my perspective of course.  
Before I left, I read the book, Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange.  Its a great little read and has fab illustrations and a shopping guide.  I did notice that the lovely Ms. Ines does have amazing taste and apparently deep pockets, some of her favorite shops were a bit out of our price range, but her style advice is spot on.  Love her.  Anyway, here is what I saw.
1. The Vanessa Bruno Tote with Sequin Trim.  Saw it everywhere in every color.  I am a little partial to this denim one myself.  
2.  Shorts were everywhere.  Everyone had tights on with them, mostly black and under 30 set wore shorter styles with tights too, sometimes in a bright color.
3.  Layered outerwear with rolled sleeves.  Lots of little blazers over a top, then a leather jacket over that.  Sleeves rolled.  4.  Skinny or straight legged jeans and pants.  Not a single bootcut or bell in sight.  Skinny looks were on everyone, men, women, and every age.  
5.  Colored denim.  Peach & apricot were prominent among the women, and red, bright blue, green, yellow were all over the place.
6.  Lace.  Lace skirts and tops paired with a more casual piece, like denim.  
7. The Peter Pan collar. Blouses, dresses, all sported this sweet style.  Remember if you are wearing something that is that feminine, to mix it with something a little tougher, like a studded belt or flat, otherwise you will look like you escaped from a girls school. 
8.  Ballet flats, short boots, or Converse.  Flat sandals were out in the stores but it wasn't quite warm enough.  
9.  Monica told me all winter people were rocking the Isabel Marant wedge sneakers in black suede.  We went on a mission in the Passy neighborhood of Paris, searching for spring colors in this coveted shoe, that sells out everywhere despite its close to $800 price tag.  We settled on a pair of Ash Wedge Sneakers, silver & tan for Monica, and white & silver for me. They are a knockoff of the IM's but are super cute, run between $200-$300 and come in a variety of styles. I caused the biggest scene when I wore them in downtown Seattle when I got back, where people chased me down to ask about them, took my photo and I even got a high five from the Nordstrom salon shoe guy.  :) I plan on getting a black suede pair in the fall-- I am sure this shoe style will be everywhere by then.  
10.  Menswear with a feminine twist, like a shirt dress.  Often a blazer was worn over the top of dresses with sleeves rolled.  And always a scarf, after all, its Paris.  Pair with short boots or a pair of flat oxfords.  Yes, there is a little hint of 80's rolling around.  Like...  
11.  Neon.  But just one piece, like a tank, scarf, or other accessory. 
12.  Saw tons of hats.  The straw fedora was around a lot on sunny days and I also some the cloche on cooler days.
13. Florals. Pants, blouses, Florals patterns mixed.  Very springy and fun.
14.  Suede.  I bought a pair of Claudie Pierlot red suede wedges right out of the window on the Left Bank on my birthday.  Yay!  Bags & shoes in bright colored suede were everywhere.  I also bought my Gerard Darel Santa Fe bag in a suede electric blue the first day there.  Love.
People watching is always fun, especially in a large city.  We spent a couple of days in London but I couldn't get a lot from the streets--didn't feel we were in the right places.....although for men I did see cropped pants , even suits, or cuffed denim, with striped bright socks.  The weather was unseasonably warm so leather jackets were around this city as well.  I'd love to spend more time there the next trip.
Hope I gave you a little inspiration to have some fun with your clothes this spring.  That's what its all about--bonjour!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

out to lunch

I love it when old haunts re-invent themselves instead of staying in the "holy cow did I used to like this place?" gray area where the charm has clearly worn off.  There is a difference between timeless beauty of an well loved city cafe or restaurant and the worn out, tired look of a place, you know what I mean?  Back in the eighties (I love saying that), we used to start our evenings on the deck at Ray's Boathouse, then head down to Pioneer Square to dance on some old wood bar, or, on more well-behaved evenings head to Cutter's for drinks, a bite, and a view of the Sound and West Seattle twinkling across the water.
Cutter's is a long time institution in Seattle, who's tag line was "Come for the crab, stay for the view" and has been in the same lovely spot overlooking Elliott Bay for the past 25 years.  After closing its doors for a two month, down to the studs remodel, it is back and ready to reopen tonight.  I spent about 10 years in the food business, I worked in and ran cooking schools all around the Puget Sound area and got to meet and work with some of the most talented chefs in the business.  It was a great business, but after we adopted our two children, I retired and worked at home.  Now a fashion blogger, I rarely get the opportunity to do anything in the food world and I certainly miss the people and the excitement of all that is culinary.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a lunch for friends and family at Cutters, where the new look and the new menu were rolled out, and I have to say I loved the look of the place.  And the tastes.

An open kitchen, restaurant and bar areas are a modern & classy cool, with upside crab pots as light fixtures in the bar, deep sea diving signs, and that same fabulous view.  The nautical touches wink to the seafood personality of the restaurant without being kitchy, the simplicity of the restaurant's new design let the location speak for it, and the menu doesn't disappoint.  They have added a raw bar with sushi and oysters, and Chef Simon Zatyrka is leading the kitchen team with an emphasis on sourcing locally and using purveyors from the Pike Place Market, which is a mere stone's throw away.  I am always happy when an in season approach is taken with food, and what better place than the Market to find the freshest seasonal best.
Well, its back to chatting about fashion for this girl, but I certainly enjoyed revisiting the culinary world.  Cutters, old friend, I am so happy to know you again.  You are the whole package.

Monday, April 9, 2012

five zero

I cannot believe I haven't blogged since February.  I have a million things in my head to write about.  I took a bit of time off out of necessity--I was working on a project that made it impossible for me to have the time to write.  After about six weeks, the project I was working on didn't develop in the way I had hoped, and it has been scrapped.  I learned a lot, about my capabilities and my shortcomings, about what it takes to work out of your house and run a family life--I have new respect for my working mother friends.  And I got reintroduced to my city, I walked the streets and discovered and rediscovered how great Seattle is. I also have a new appreciation for my daily life, I am a lucky girl.  And I missed writing a lot.
In the midst of this I celebrated a milestone birthday.  I remember my Mom telling me age was just a number, but this was kind of a scary one.  Like its an age someone else is, never me.  I have always hesitated to reveal my age on this blog, as if it would make my take on design and fashion less relevant, since I am probably considered by some to be well, old.  But in addition to working out regularly, eating healthy for the most part, as well as a zillion appointments to maintain things so to speak--I really do try.
On the inside, I feel the same as I always have, so catching a glimpse of myself in a photo or in the mirror sometimes can be an actual surprise.  As if, what the hell?  But I am not the same, I have stumbled over the years, made good & bad choices, lacked confidence, hesitated.
Now I know who I am, that gift you get when you live with yourself long enough to accept that the mistakes you have made give you a bit of a pantina that make you more beautiful.  Maybe being older means having more freedom to be yourself.  The way I see it, you can age any way you want to, its up to you to keep changing, growing, seeing things in a new way.
And so, I am now 50.  Sure, its a big deal to me.  And it really isn't.  I celebrated with friends, I drank champagne, I went to Paris.  But that's another blog.  Cheers.

Friday, February 10, 2012

what is beautiful

Today while taking a swift peek of the newspaper, I happened upon an article on the inside of the front page that totally mesmerized me.  It was a story about Andrej Pejic, a beautiful blue eyed blonde fashion model who has graced the runways of shows for designers John Galliano & Jean Paul Gaultier, been the face of a Marc Jacobs line, and whose loveliness has appeared on magazine covers & in print ads.   The reason this beautiful young model has garnered so much attention--Andrej Pejic is a man.
Born in Bosnia and spending some of his childhood in a Serbian refugee camp, his family went to Australia where he was discovered at age 17.  His traditionally feminine features, long blonde hair and statuesque figure make him the perfect model, but in an interview I saw online it struck me that although he has one of those faces you cannot take your eyes off of, his beauty seems to be in the way he is seems so, well, happy with who he is.  He told New York Magazine: “I know people want me to sort of defend myself, to sit here and be like, ‘I’m a boy, but I wear makeup sometimes.’ But, you know, to me, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t really have that sort of strong gender identity — I identify as what I am. The fact that people are using it for creative or marketing purposes, it’s just kind of like having a skill and using it to earn money.”  I am hoping that in the glare of the fashion world's obsession with this beautiful boy, he can hang on to his healthy sense of self, something he as credited his family & friends with.
All of this got me to thinking about what beauty is.  You could ask a hundred different people and you'd get a hundred different answers.   Sometimes I am so struck by something beauty in the unexpected, certainly adrodrogyny is beautiful in that way, if one does not fear what is different, but embrace it, that you can see its true beauty.  And finding beauty on a gray February day, in the midst of stress, work, and well, life, can sometimes be a challenge, to put it mildly. I mean, you can find a million things about how the world is going to hell in a hand basket, and trust me, I know there is a lot of ugliness out there. But why not give yourself a minute to find something of beauty in your own life, something in an unexpected way.  Choose to be happy about something small, laugh at something silly, really really look, be certain that it will turn out the way it is suppose to, even if it is not the way you first expected.  And listen to the oldest rule there is, love thyself.  Remember, you are beautiful.
Happy Valentines Day, my loves.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

just peachy

I have been seeing a lot of mint green (say it isn't so!!) and of yellow (love) peeking out of the grey cloud of winter--touted as a the "new spring neutrals" that can help transition a wardrobe from one season to the next.  However, I have to say I am all about peach.  Peach or coral are not normally my first choices when shopping for something, but the color just keeps popping up on my radar again and again and I can't seem to help myself.  Its got a femininity to it that is undeniable, definitely part of the appeal to me, but you don't have to be all girly girl to rock the color.  It is stunning when paired with a chocolate brown or grey, and looks very fresh in a jean with a color blocked outfit.  I also love it paired with black for a little unexpected edge.  And depending on your skin tone, you can find a shade from a subtle peach to a kick ass coral and go from there.
My Current/Elliott The Stiletto fuchsia jeans from last fall have been one of my most favorite pairs, so I was happy to see them in a beautiful Rosewood Color (ok, not quite peach, but close) as well as the Dusty Peach Leopard.  I don't know any girl that doesn't love J Brand denim--it is the brand that seems to fit almost every body type--so the ultimate spring denim for me has got to be the J Brand 811 Mid Rise Skinny Jean in coral.  I am apologizing in advance for how often you will see me in these.
Chloe's Marcie Horseshoe Hobo in coral just about gave me a heart attack it is so classic but cool, and it comes in a small cross body version that would be beautiful against a grey coat or a white top.  Yeah, this girl loves her handbags.
J Crew's Contrast Striped Tee is an affordable way to add some color blocking and some peaches to your shopping basket. I also love Vince, this papaya colored top with the serged side seams and swingy fit really take the tee up a notch.  And there is nothing plain jane about See by Chloe's Leather Zipper Bow Scrunch Ballet Flats.  Or add a patent leather skinny belt to give your outfit a little more of my new favorite color.  Even a little peach on your cheeks or a swipe of your favorite Chanel Glossimer (you have one, right?) either alone or over your lip color.
From peach, to papaya to coral, you can add a little cheeriness to your wardrobe even if you still are wrapped up in your favorite cold weather knits.  I love that a little color can not only change up my outfit, it can make me feel just a little bit more optimistic, even in the midst of winter.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

neon sign

I have a love hate relationship with neon.  Having experienced the popularity of neon once already in my fashion life, I am always a bit hesitant--the in your face colors can sometimes come across as harsh to me.  That being said, I am ready to bring in a little pop of color to my grey and black January wardrobe, and I knew that I had just the man to help me with this.  Marc Jacob.  Need I say more?  Ok, I will.  He is a genius in every sense of the word, his spot on creativity and genuine talents never cease to impress.  And his bags, well, they are some of my favorites in my handbag collection (yes, that is what it has turned into....).
A big fan of the cross body bag, I completely love the Marc by Marc Jacobs Party Balls Bag (ok, best name ever!) because of its triple threat--colorblocking style, deep purple cowhide body, and neon accents.  Its perfect right down to its little neon "party ball" turn lock closure.   If you are feeling like going all out, the Turnlock Python Shine Messenger Bag will definitely deliver the message in style, or Rebecca Minkoff's Neon Lizard Mini MAC Bag has three sassy brights to choose from--the "Electric Pink" looks a little valentine.
Last spring I took the fab neon "favorite tank" & t-shirts from JCrew and layered them underneath my neutrals and greys with a nice effect.  The neon pink instantly gave my winter skin a bit of a glow without actually having seen any sun.  JCrew has incorporated neon in everything from accessories, to tights (love) to classic gingham shirts to shoes, adding a fun element to their collections.  Not sure neon is your thing? How about dipping your toe into neon land with a little CC Skye Natalie Bracelet--its like giving someone a bit of a wink.
This time of year, adding a bit of the unexpected to your daily ensemble can be an instant mood lifter--I mean who can feel down when you having a blinding pop of color peeking out from underneath your coat?  Consider it spring training.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

skirting the issue

Ah, a new week, a new obsession.  While shopping for a gift last week, I became so distracted with how awesome the salesgirls skirt was I barely listened to the answer she was giving me to a question I had asked.  I abandoned my gift shopping temporarily, and went on a mission.  A skirt mission.
After years of the dress being featured, the spring runways were celebrating not only color, but skirts.  Color me happy. I have been especially enamored with the hi-low silhouette--it is such a cool way to have both a funky day look or some evening drama.  Jason Wu's High-Low Pleated Skirt features in the Spring 2012 Spring Runway is a perfect example.
The asymmetrical hemline has been shown to one side, such as in this not even close to being basic maxi from Nanette Lepore.  My favorite look is short in the front and long in the back, like this rockin little baby from Pencey.  I added this amazing grey skirt to my wardrobe because is perfect for right now with boots, and will be great with a sandal as the weather warms up.  I have a trip to Paris coming up in just a couple months (insert picture of me jumping up & down with happiness) and found a great little black number by WallpaperHer that is the perfect cheap thrill--$36.00--and it looked edgy with my grey suede boots and a cropped mohair sweater over a black tank.  D'une beaute parfaite!
Long skirts are all over the place, which makes me very happy, but if you prefer a shorter version of the uneven hemline, the Free People "Zen Garden" Vintage Print Skirt may be more your style.  I have been a fan of a longer skirt over a short one so the combo hemline is quite modern without the smallest hint of looking like Stevie Nicks.  The long and the short of it is this...a skirt is a wardrobe essential...and a great piece to transition your wardrobe from one season to the next.  Get your shop on girl.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

beautiful you

I am such a girl.  Love beauty products of all kinds and all that promises beautiful things. And much to the dismay of my (absolutely right) mother, it took me awhile to master the less is more rule when it came to things like makeup. Thankfully, I, along with the products available, have become better.
  In this high definition age, a beautiful complexion need not be a pipe dream.  Obviously, what you eat, how much sleep you get, stress levels & DNA can have a big effect on how your skin looks.  It is the largest organ on your body, so it pays to take care of it.  I had a skin cancer scare this fall on my face that in addition to scaring the hell out of me, also woke me up.  Now, even in winter, sunscreen is in my moisturizer & my foundation.  The memory of those horrid black stitches in the middle of my face & the relief I felt when the biopsies were negative is something I have not forgotten.
Putting your best face forward can be achieved by taking good care of yourself and its never too late to start.  My advice?  Ignore all the "achieve total happiness organize declutter become a new you" noise that is everywhere this January and get a five minute technique down for cleansing and moisturizing.  Achievable, beneficial, done.
Back to makeup. Not long ago, foundation was thicker and much more detectable.  Nowadays women want to achieve a "natural perfection" to their skin--in other words, not coat over every part of your skin, but give it a healthy glow without shine so that you look like you, not like you are ready for your part in an opera.
I recently received a sample from Chanel in the mail for their new foundation, Perfection Lumiere, and almost threw it out, then on a whim gave it a try.  Loved.  It is semi-sheer & semi-matte--a whipped soft texture that gave my skin a luminous glow.  More companies are creating products that not only make your skin look better but actually are good for it as well.  The combination of skin care & makeup is one of the reasons behind me trying the new product Revlon Age Defying with DNA Advantage Cream  Makeup, straight off the drugstore shelf. Being a Laura Mercier foundation user in the past, I was a bit unsure about helping myself & making a guess as to color, but ended up with a perfect match.  I have to say that I loved it as much as Chanel, and for a fraction of the cost.
You can find these new products in the department stores by other companies, such as Clinique, as well as L'Oreal & CoverGirl.  It makes putting your best face forward a little easier & gives a beautiful benefit to your skin. Happy New Year!