Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Little Something

A Little Something

Statement jewelry is my go to in most situations.  Lately, however, I have been feeling like something a little lighter is appropriate.  On days when the heft of a statement necklace feels suffocating I have been adding a barely-there thin gold chain, or a barely-there gold band ring, and small gold hoop earrings. 

The chain was a gift in my teenage years.  It is sweet with three barely visible hearts.  It has been sitting in the back of my jewelry box for years when it seemed too saccharine for the statement I was feeling.  On occasion these days it feels like a nice variation.  I have also found it can provide a glint to balance out larger pieces or articles of clothing. 

While large jewelry can make a statement, small chains and tiny charms can feel like a tiny flirt or a second skin.  Statement jewelry is fun.  Sometimes, however, a little something just feels right.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bar Cart: let the boozy good times roll

Bar Cart: let the boozy good times roll

This summer has been all about the Artisanal, or craft, cocktail.   You may love a small batch brew, or have a go to beverage already selected but when the sun is hot and fruit is in season and plentiful, mixing up an herb infused crafty cocktail just feels right.  Lets be real, you are not going to find a watermelon lavender martini appealing in December and that natural pink hue is going to clash with your fall/winter burgundy nails.  You might as well live it up (in moderation) crafty cocktail style while there is summer remaining.

As a long time lover of the Old Fashioned  ( I can appreciate fresh fruit in a muddled drink.  This crafty cocktail trend is one I am happy to embrace.  Some of my favorites were featured on (  Summer refreshments that are all natural, low in calories, delicious, and just the right amount of boozy?  Yes please.  However, there is not a shortage of recipes if you are willing to put together a little elbow grease and the fresh summer flavors.

After a few months of many delicious concoctions that require refrigerated ingredients tickling my fancy, my kitchen counter was inadvertently transformed into a makeshift bar for easy mixing.  Apparently, I am not alone in this as the blogosphere is currently trending with decorative bar carts.  It’s a logical follow up to the craft cocktail craze.  Once again, a trend I am happy to embrace.  Sometimes the actual bar is just too far away.  Best to have a cart, on wheels that can be moved in close proximity to where ever you need it. 

Voila, my bar cart:

Let the boozy good times roll
I happened to have all of these goodies on hand employed in different ways in my house.  The cart was designed to hold a record player on top and records on the bottom.  I don’t have a record player that is not attached to speakers so this cart was just waiting for a party.  I happened to have plexiglass on hand for another project that I cut to fit each level to provide a flat surface for glasses and drinks.  You can never have enough glassware and alcohol, the fancier the better for the cart.  Ideally I would have a coordinating ice bucket and bar mixing tools but all in good time.  Vintage flare and flowers seem to be a must based on the blogs so I grabbed a few of those from around the house.  Beautiful.  My kitchen counter is clear again!

If you are thinking you also need one of these party makers you are in luck, it is also flea market and yard sale season.  If you aren’t sure where to start here are some ideas for what you will need:

  1. Some kind of cart on wheels.  The more creative you can get with this the better.  If all else fails there is always Ikea and spray paint.  This blogger fashioned an inexpensive bar cart with an IKEA cart, spray paint, and a little magic ( 
  2. Alcohol.  Start with what you like.  Many summer cocktails will call for cordials or flavored liquors.  These are fun and can jazz up a cart but there are many cocktail options.  You can focus on drinks made with your liquor of choice.  If you aren’t sure go for vodka. 
  3. Glasses.  I like a variety because certain cocktails do taste better in different glasses.  The variety is extensive.  At a minimum maybe some tall ones, and some short ones.
  4. Tools. You need a shot glass or other measuring device.  You need a muddler (not shown on my cart because it didn’t match), something for stirring, something for shaking, and something for straining.  If you don’t have them in your kitchen you also may need a knife, and a zester.
  5. Something to hold ice.  Ideally a bucket but really possibilities’ are endless.
  6. Flair.  This could be flowers, stir sticks, a fun book, its flare, it could be anything.

Happy cocktailing!

Here are some other examples:

Ten best bar carts (obviously they haven’t seen mine)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday Mani: variation on a theme

Monday Manicure: Variation on a theme

My manicure this week is till short and sweet with a crescent moon at the cuticle however this week it is purple.  Not just any purple but electric purple.        

My favorite color, I feel purple goes with everything.  Is that because it is purple and purple goes with everything? Or is it because it is my favorite color and I cannot get enough?  What is your favorite color and does it go with everything?  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

In the mix

From Moda Operandi
In the mix

My mother recently reminisced that as a child I never liked to wear matching clothing sets.  She reminded me that I had a closet full of many cute coordinating shorts, shirts, and sweaters but rarely wore them together.  Apparently, as soon as I could reach for my own clothes in the morning I would have none of matching and preferred to choose the pants from one set, the top from another, and accessorizing with perhaps a sweater from a third.  This is a preference I have not outgrown.

Mary Katrantzou
Dressing is all about finding the mix.  Coordination is great, and a matching suit definitely has a place in life.  However, if I can mix a few unexpected patterns and make it work, I just feel good.  I am not alone.  This love of the mix is currently in celebration on runways all around.  With laser and digital printing capabilities, prints are having a moment and they are having it in triplicate, all at the same time. 

The mixed print trend is exciting but it can also be intimidating.  While I love the thrill of a successful mélange I often take pause before stepping out into the day.  Perhaps that is part of the fun. 

If mixing patterns makes you nervous start small.  Here are a few tips to help ensure a successful pattern mix:

-Keep patterns in the same color family for a cohesive look.  Picking coordinating colors from within the pattern or combining patterns that have similar a similar tone helps avoid distraction from one to the other.  Many designers are also using graduated colors for the same effect.
-Keeping patterns scale similar also creates a cohesive look and keeps the eye moving. 
-Utilizing prints of contrasting color and scale must be done strategically.  The eye will notice a break from one to the other.  This can work to your advantage or disadvantage so position carefully.
This Peter Pilotto for Target dress is a great example of mixing print scale with a purpose.  The small print on the side panels creates a slimming effect as a color block with similar placement would slim. 

-A tone on tone pattern is an easy way to introduce mixing patterns to your life.  Tone-on-tone can read as a texture to create visual interest but in a subtle way that does not compete with another pattern.
-Natural patterns (from nature) can be used as neutrals.  A leopard does not think it is making a statement it is merely blending in with its surroundings.  Leopard or other animal prints can be used as a statement alone.  When mixing a natural colored animal print with bright colors the animal print acts as a neutral.  Try mixing an animal print with a contrasting color and then a print in the same color family as the contrasting color if you are feeling sassy.  Similar to animal print, grass or foliage prints can be used to ground an outfit as well. 
Tone-on-tone pearl patterned sweater.
Peter Pilotto for Target dress.

This outfit is a little unexpected.  With a tone-on-tone pearl patterned sweater, vibrant fluorescent print with both stripes and flowers, a large ruffle that looks like it could go dancing, and gold accents there is a lot going on.  The texture, color, pattern combo however makes me feel alive! 

Have fun mixing it up!

Monday, June 2, 2014

This weeks manicure: short and sweet.

This weeks manicure

Are you loving all of the new mani trends?  I know I am.  Experimenting with colors, finishes, shapes, and patterns are all part of the fun. 

Granted, when being bold, you win some and you lose some. 


Win some. 
Lose some.  Is that candy corn?

I am very excited for my manicure creation this week.  It is, on one hand, a classic with its bright cherry red color but on the other hand, it is new with a natural crescent at the cuticle.  Rather, it is both a play on a classic and new, on both hands.  It looks exactly the same on both hands… but you know what I mean.  The length is short and sweet, perfect for no fuss when applying sun tan lotion or digging in the garden.  With this weeks manicure, jazz hands may be making an appearance in my near future.

This weeks manicure: short, sweet, a new classic, and fun. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ode to the gift with purchase; the importance of setting appropriate expectations

Gift with purchase, gift with purchase, I get so excited for a gift with purchase.

The gift with purchase is a marketing strategy to entice you to buy something you may not have thought about, or to buy more of something you may have purchased anyway.  This certainly works and is a win for all parties involved.  While you may or may not have planned to purchase t

hat item you, the consumer, gets more for your dollar.  The seller gets positive feelings, potentially additional brand loyalty, and a sale.  Everyone enjoys receiving gifts and giving gifts also feels really good.

Every so often, however, the stars align and at the moment you need it, there is a gift accompanying a purchase you were planning to make anyway.  This is a special level of awesome.  It is such a rare moment in ordinary life that you get something for nothing that it makes the heart jump.  I am excited just thinking about such a coincidence.  If I were producing a stage show about consumerism, it certainly would have a choreographed song and dance number dedicated to the gift with purchase.  It would go something like this:

Scene: Department store fragrance department. Glass cases filled with colorful boxes.  Large display boxes placed in the aisles. 

Woman dressed in a pencil skirt with a French twist in her hair approaches the counter with a business like air.  Behind the counter is a young man in all black with a colorful tie.

Woman: (to the young man, speaking with a flat tone) Hello sir. I need to purchase some mascara.

Young man: (in an energetic, dynamic, varying, and theatrically toned voice) Well ma’am today is a good day for you.  (rolls his head from the product up right, down to the counter, and left looks up at the woman as a large smile spreads across his face) Today, that mascara comes with a gift.

Woman: (somewhat surprised as her tone heightens and becomes more dynamic) You mean (pause) a gift with purchase?!? But why?

[cue music: dunt dunt dunt dunt. Dunt, dunt, dunt dunt...]

Young man: (slowly transitioning into song) That’s right. Today is your lucky day. As a thank you for being you, and consumering the way you do, we kindly give this gift to you. This gift- with- purrrchase.

[second young man dressed the same but with different brightly colored tie leans in and harmonizes]

1st and 2nd young man: Gift-with-purrrchase.
[Woman’s expression goes from surprised to happy.  several more young men dressed all in black with different brightly colored ties assemble in formation in the aisle. Marching in place, they sing in unison]

Young men’s chorus: We surely do appreciate, your willing to participate, in shopping at a heightened rate

One of the young men yells: our profit /earnings will not be late!

Young men’s chorus: Here’s-a – gift wiiitthhh puurrrchase!

[flurry of running as the young men run around the display and other assorted shoppers seem to come from all over]

Shoppers singing in unison: We surely do appreciate, you offering right out the gate, this gift! this gift! It must be fate! Gift- with-purrrchase.

[woman sitting on a large display is pushed by one of the young sales men from right to left with a spin at center stage followed by a young man, smiling with eyebrows raised runs across and does a splits in the air center stage towards the audience]

young men’s chorus in unison with shoppers: [in formation, sing to crescendo as arms raise] Gift-with- purrrchase!

I could go on but I feel it is often best to cut scene at the crescendo.

A similar scene played out for me in real life, minus the singing and dancing, and ultimately with a little more effort this week.  You may recall my previous post on scent.  After exhausting the free sample bottle of Versace Bright Crystal that intoxicated me from Nordstrom I set out to purchase a full bottle.  I opened my Macy’s weekly circular last Sunday to find they were offering an adorable Versace cross body clutch with the purchase of Versace Bright Crystal.  The tiny picture caught my attention and brightened my spirits.  That’s right, gift-with- puurrrchase!  

I headed to the mall, but supplies did not last until my arrival.  The woman at the Macy’s fragrance counter scoured the back room, and called another employee they had seen with the bag a day earlier to double check she had not missed the bags in the store room.  She didn’t seem to know much about the offer but she was willing to put in the effort to find it for me.  After learning their supply had been exhausted, she ordered the fragrance for me online.  I watched as an image of the bag appeared on her computer screen and she punched in some codes.  She assured me that both the scent elixir and the adorable bag would arrive at my home, sans shipping costs, in a few days.  I left with a smile, and another bag of assorted sample scents to try. 

When the package arrived a few days later I was confused to find there was no gift with my purchase as she had promised.  “Perhaps it is coming separately?”  I thought hopefully.  I called customer support and learned not only was it not coming separately but that they had no record the order was supposed to include a gift with purchase.  I may have seen it on the screen but the representative had not placed the order correctly and the customer service representative indicated while he empathized there was nothing he could do about it. 

If we were in the musical this would go something like this:

Young man: (his face fallen) Stop the music; stop the music.  (Singing slowly and in a lower tone) ma’am I must report, a disappointment of a sort, our gift supply has just run out. 

(The woman stares open mouthed in disbelief.  all chorus and shoppers stop and stare at the young man with disappointed and blank stares, not much motion not sure what to say; music plays: Whomp, whomp whomp, and then quietly violins)

In reality I shared a few choice words with the customer service representative.  Fully acknowledging it was not his fault but that I wanted to formally express the importance of appropriate training for their staff and the importance of setting appropriate expectations.  I may have lost my cool but broken promises are a hot button of mine.  It’s the principle of the thing.

The week was a rollercoaster of consumerism.  I started out blissful that I was getting something for nothing.  I waited in anticipation for days and ended up especially upset because, while I had a low effort shopping trip at the store I would have been willing to put in some additional effort and stop at one of the other Macy’s I passed that day to inquire about free gift supplies.  Now my excitement crushed, it seemed too late.  (Tiny violins play).

I composed myself and called a different (and closer to my home) Macy’s location and inquired about the Versace gift with purchase.  I was greeted with a sweet voice and an instruction to hold while the sales person on the other end checked supplies. Luckily they had two left in stock. “Hold that gift, Im on my way,” I instructed.  Brenda, my local fragrance professional came to the rescue!

Young men’s chorus in unison with shoppers: (frowns turning upside down, raising arms with jazz hands flailing as they sing, loudly in unison, along with whistles and tambourines’ jingling) Giiiffftttt wiiitttthhhh puuurrrrchassseee!

Racing through midtown traffic at 4pm on a Friday was easier said than done but I made it to the store in 20 minutes.  Brenda was courteous and informed.  She also had a gift set for relatively the same price as the perfume by itself, and most importantly the gift with purchase.  I made my larger than anticipated purchase, shared my story, and breathed a sigh of relief as I also had a feeling of victory!  My bliss had returned and I had obtained something for nothing but an extra trip to the store.  Yeah for my gift with purchase!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ode to the Trench Coat

Ode to the trench coat 

April showers bring May flowers and when singing in the rain the go to cover-up is the trench coat.  Developed by Burberry or Aquascutum, depending on who you ask, this wardrobe staple began its famous history in trenches across the pond draping the shoulders of British officers ( ).  With pockets for maps and other necessities, detachable linings, and a waterproof construction this jacket is too practical and versatile to be quashed with a treaty and peacetime.  The trench coat, in a variety of reinventions, has invaded every shore and enjoys more play in fashion, and day-to-day life than it ever did in battle (thankfully). 


Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's
Humphrey Bogart
The trench literally keeps you warm and dry while figuratively keeping you cool.  Humphrey Bogart wore one, so did Dick Tracey. Cool, calm, and business like.  The trench attended breakfast at Tiffany’s with Audrey Hepburn while Gerald Ford zipped a bullet proof lining into his tan, classic trench.  Many a superhero hides a costume under this garment, Gene Gray, Gambit, and the Punisher come to mind.  In black leather, the trench casts an ominous tone for villains, or a cool low-key persona hiding Neo in the shadows of the matrix.  The trench is somewhat mysterious yet practical, and always crisp.

Twiggy in mod blue trench
Over the years the trench has been reinvented in fashion in many different ways.  It was mod in the 1960s.  Helmet Newton paired it with heels for a sexy look in the 1970s.  Every decade remakes it, details perfected for the feeling of the day.  It has been short, long, pleated, classic and colorful.  It has had shoulder pads, bows, and all kinds of button shapes.  Double rows of buttons and pointed collars are characteristics but not required.  Vintage, new, or revisited in reference, the trench is a staple to stay. (Great slide show:

With a chill in the air, and the risk of a shower around every corner, this wardrobe and historical staple has seemed the perfect item to grab from my closet.  Over the years, I feel lucky to have accumulated a variety of trench like options.  They never fail to leave me feeling versatile, invincible, and a little provocative.  

BB Dakota
Forecaster International

Old Navy
 How do you reinvent yourself and the trench?