Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Victorian Blouse- What Your Wardrobe Needs for Fall

Fall my favorite season is finally here! One of the freshest fall looks that I'm keen on is the Victorian blouse. It popped up all over at the many fashion weeks and many retailers have some pretty versions in their fall lineups. There's something very sweet and even sexy about these tops, but to keep the look current you must pair them with something unexpected and less feminine like faded jeans or distressed khakis and the like. Add pencil skirts or dressy pants and you risking looking like someone's mother from the 80s.  Here's a few ideas of how to make these blouses look cool:

Gorgeous with a latter-day Gibson Girl hairdo and I think a dark jean is perfect. I'd add a brogue shoe with this.

Even cuter in a print! Love the addition of corduroy and the bob with bangs!

Mom jeans (yes they are a thing now) with mannish loafers, and a bun.

The bun seems to pair well with these blouses, just add in a rough element like destroyed jeans or tough boots, lest you go all Little House with these prairie versions.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Entertaining Inspiration -Friday Book Chat

Fall is just about here and with that are many chances to host gatherings, and impromptu get-togethers. One of my promises to myself when I turned 51 this year was to have more friends over and not waste time fretting about things being just so. Every time I make the leap and commit to having people here, I'm always so glad I did it. Gatherings at home are infinitely more fun and relaxing than going out as a group. Hosting is a gift you give to your friends and the more you do it the better you get at it and the more you relax!

My grandmother, who is 99 now, loved to host and had entertaining down after many years of doing it. Her organization allowed her to throw parties for any number, at any given moment. Drawers held napkins that were organized by color and sets and recipes were already in double and tripled versions for more guests.

I think keeping a little book where you can jot down notes of what worked or didn't, what was served, who came and how you decorated is a great thing to refer back to. You can even take photos and it can become sort of a scrapbook as well.

Another idea is an inspirational binder. I keep one with tear sheets from magazines of pretty tabletops, recipes I want to try, and seasonal menus and party suggestions. I always pull it out planning for Thanksgiving, Easter and and when I feeing in a rut and not creative. My binder always gets me in an entertaining mood.

Books especially inspire me and there are three super books that really got me jazzed about entertaining more that have recently come out.

First, this by the Kate Spade people...

All in Good Taste is packed with fun, fantastic ideas for enjoying your life and having friends over more. It includes pages to write yourself notes about menus, guests, playlists and such. Thanks to all the very cute ideas, I recently had a Chinese takeout dinner by the pool. (Top pic, kinda fuzzy and not perfect, but was I was having fun and forgot to take pictures.)

 This book touches on ideas for brunches, the perfect cheese plate, playlists, hostess gifts, and cute tips on how to put a quirky twist on any party. There's even how to serve takeout on fine china. The ideas and inspiration from this book are copious and I recommend this book if you're in a hosting slump. Love it.

Then I just got this..

Steven Stolman's Passion for Parties is a sweet book. Steven grew up in a family that knew how to celebrate. I just loved his funny family stories that are sprinkled throughout this book along with tried and true recipes, floral ideas and party themes. The stories of his youthful dinner parties, his own Bar Mitzvah and wedding are heartening and really inspire one to celebrate these milestones. 

Last, but not least, this gem by designer Lela Rose... If you aren't familiar with Lela check out her gorgeous clothing. She's all about pretty and her dresses are literally little works of art. They are special occasion and aspirational clothes for sure and her party book is along those lines....

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Wednesday Obsession - Your Jewelry as Decor

Any little thing I have been obsessing on and want to share with you, I plan on sharing each Wednesday now!

This week it's using your jewelry as decor, particularly with cool finds like this brass hand. These little object are whimsical, charming and hail from the 1970's. I think I first noticed sculptural hands as holders in the Elements of Style book. I love how Erin Gates styled her jewelry and dressing tables for herself and clients so beautifully in it. The closet and bedroom photos are my favorite from this book.

About a year ago, I spied a brass hand at an estate sale for around $12. This one was a 70's original with a bit of patina around the edges which made me love it even more. I love when I actually find something that's been on my radar.

Right now I'm throwing all my bracelets on it for a pretty look.  Here on my dresser it holds my costume and more colorful pieces.

Earlier in the year I had necklaces and a ring on it.
I like to change it up depending on what I'm wearing a lot of and the season.

Funny enough I had Erin's book next to it. I was obsessing that it earlier this year.

Here's the photo from Erin Gates' book and her Elements of Style blog that started me thinking about hands and other items to drape your jewelry around. I love this stone or antique hand she's using here.  and everything else! Not only does it make a cute dresser display, but it is so practical. You won't wear what you cannot see and I wear my bracelets so much more when I see them out. 

Below, another cool object used as a necklace holder, again by Erin Gates in her closet.

 Isn't that tray cute too? I think that quote is by Jenna Lyons. No idea where she got that. Ben's Garden has many similar ones.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Join Me at Trina Turk This Wednesday!

I'm thrilled to partner with Trina Turk again this Wednesday at their lovely Burlingame boutique.  If you have never had a chance to see her clothes in person, it's the perfect time to stop in, view the new collection and get 25% off the fall looks. Trina Turk is the place I consistently find unique or cool pieces to add to my wardrobe! It's also a great go-to if you have an upcoming special party or event.

I like to support Trina Turk as her company is headquartered in California with design and production here too.  The clothes are not only pretty, but have quality workmanship and lovely details that I look for when I shop.

 I'll be there 10:30-1:30 wearing my favorite pieces from the fall collection in my own way. I'd love to meet you there and help you find some of the best looks for fall.

Here's some of the beauties that caught my eye when I stopped by last week...

The accessories line is really hot right now with some gorgeous bags and collectable necklaces and rings. I'm kinda crazy about this bag and the colors and these cocktail rings!

 Trina's super comfy silky dresses are in this dark lovely floral for fall.

 Again more wonderful details.

More great bags!

A Trina twist on plaid!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Why Humboldt Should Be Your Next Roadtrip

The past week we took a small four day road trip up to Northern California. We are in Northern California you say? Well, I mean the very north, Northern California, Humboldt County.

This area of amazing natural beauty, often referred to as being behind the 'Redwood Curtain,' is a 6-7 hour drive north of the Bay Area and yet remote enough that most Californians have never been. 

Long ago in the era of the family road trip, the 'redwoods' were something one did with the family, preferably in a station wagon and most likely in the 1970's. Now the luxury of time and long family road trips seem almost a bygone era. People want to get to their destination via plane and fast. To all those who have never done a real road trip of multiple days, this is your spot! Do you want to see ancient redwood forests, fern canyons and foggy beaches with a few VW buses thrown in? Humboldt has all this and more!

Flights can be expensive costing as much as a trip to Hawaii and prior rail services that connected here have been sadly been retired. Car is the way to go and it's a pretty drive.

Leaving from the Bay Area, stop in one of the cutest town on the way up, Ukiah for a lunch.

Our favorite bakery Schats in quaint downtown Ukiah.

This Dutch bakery has at least 40 sandwiches on the menu and makes fantastic bread and sweets. I think The Verdict is the most popular sandwich on their amazing Sheepherder bread. (Did I mention they are across from the courthouse?)  Afterward pop into the wonderful Mendocino Book Company around the corner with it's expansive selection of books, cards and all kinds of lovely things I just can't find elsewhere.

Friday, August 12, 2016

I Heart Salzburg

Hi friends if you are following along here's the second installment of our trip to Europe. The first is Our Two Days in Munich.

After two jam packed days in the wonderland that is Munich, we hopped a train and in under two hours were in Salzburg. With just 12 days in Europe we debated which cities to visit. We knew we wanted to see some of Austria and thought perhaps we'd do Vienna, but Salzburg was a little smaller and the fact they had a 'Sound of Music' bike tour made us choose it as our Austrian stop.

My boys chilling on the train.

The trains in Europe are wonderful and there is usually no need to get tickets in advance or go first class. It's easy to get seats together unless you're traveling during a holiday time. After checking the schedule online, we bought the tickets in the Munich station and walked on the train ten minutes later. I so enjoyed seeing the small towns and villages and the countryside of course. We bought cappuccinos and read our books when we weren't fascinated with the view.

When we arrived at the station, we grabbed a cab at the taxi line and took a short drive into the Altstadt or Old Town of Salzburg where our charming hotel was located. The city is divided by the Salzach River with the Medival and Baroque building of Old Town on the left and the 19th century Neustadt or New Town on the Right bank.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Five Favorites From the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Another lifetime ago, I worked at Nordstrom. It began as a college job and was lucrative enough that I kept it a few years after graduating. Nordstrom was a wonderful company to begin working for and I have only good memories of how well I was paid and the Nordstrom family who believed in treating customers and employees very well. As a young person their values really stuck with me. We worked hard, but they also believed in excellent compensation and more holidays than any other retailer had. 

Back in those days one of the most exciting times was when the Anniversary Sale came. It was the brainchild of the Nordstroms to counteract what used to be the very dead mid-summer. They asked their best vendors to come up with special pre-fall items priced lower just for a few weeks, exclusively for them. They eventually did the same with the beauty companies. It worked wonderfully as people came from all over to get to this once a year exclusive sale. I remember customers even flying in from Texas just for the sale! The sale has been copied by many other retailers, but still no one does it like Nordys. I eventually moved on to a job in advertising, but never forgot what I learned working for the Nordstroms (yes we did get to meet the family and often), and I also never miss a chance to check out the Anniversary Sale either.

My past week was crazy as we had college orientation for my oldest, but I got over to Nordstrom at Stanford (my favorite location) today and did some investigative shopping just for you all! There's so much to choose from, but I thought I'd share a few things that might be a good addition to the wardrobe, and not so trendy. The thing is, this sale is a good place to get a nicer item you might not normally spring for. In the past I've bought a Burberry trench, good boots and many nice bags as well as stocked up on my favorite bras and beauty items.

Some of the goodies I saw today...
Love this big ALLSAINTS tote. It's very lightweight and has the prettiest leather and can be worn snapped closed or open. For me this is a great everyday bag as I like to carry purchases and bottles of water along with my usual stuff. I also like the size of the strap which will easily fit on a shoulder when winter comes and we are wearing coats and bulkier items. Some of the hobos just don't have enough clearance for a coat and that makes me nuts.
There are a zillion cute booties and shoes at this sale. I was looking for something I'd wear a lot and would be new to my closet. I immediately liked these Reyanne shoes by Sam Edelman with their studs on the heel. A good selection of colors, but I love this berry color as a nice pop with fall neutrals and jeans. I have so many black and taupe winter shoes and sometimes it's nice to have a little color. Best thing about these shoes are they are very comfortable! They feel well made. I test drove them!