Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Sparkle

Tory Burch at a party earlier this year.

   What are you wearing for New Year's Eve?  Are you going to a fancy party or just hitting the couch to watch the ball drop? The latter was what we did for many years when our kids were very small. Now, we have been lucky for the last few years to get together with fun friends whose kids are similar ages. The kids have a blast waiting for midnight and we adults dress up a bit and ring in the the year with good pals. With the kind of party we are attending we get sparkly, but still dress comfy. We're talking jeans and cute tops with a fun accessory or two. I'll try to  bring it and wear something that feels fun! I am right now contemplating wearing a ruffly black blouse, jeans and black motorcycle boots or a sequin sweater tank top in grey and some skinny dark pants from J Crew. Or maybe I'll go shopping...

Here's a few stylish ideas.

Love this if I was going to a fancy party. Michael Kors via

What about a cute sequin skirt and a soft long sleeve sweater?  I would love this with flats or boots. With heels you'll look like you're trying too hard. Classy vs. crassy if you know what I mean.  Less can be more.

Hey, even easier, this is a dress. Like the relaxed appeal.

I'm loving one-shouldered tops. This Rachel Zoe top is cute with jeans.  Add a fabulous earring or cuff bracelet.
Simple and elegant. Love this blouse especially. Hair up would look cute with this ruffled collar.

Pretty pale look from Club Monaco. Do you feel like a bit of time travel?  I'd be channeling some fabulous British drama like, " Passage to India", or something in this. Oops wrong party! Darn.

A more casual top with sparkles from I'd go for an authentic Northern California look and add some cute ripped jeans and keep the hair natural as shown. If you're entertaining at home, go barefoot if you dare and currently have a good pedicure status. :)

Speaking of pedis you might have fun wearing this... Rainbow Connection by OPI.

If your outfit is not sparkly try to find a fun bracelet or a glittery purse to go along. You shouldn't be all  glitter, just one or two pieces. If your outfit is already shimmering, maybe just one or none. This is one time adding a bright red or dark pink lip applied perfectly can look so right. Remember to keep the rest of your face clean and just do the lip for a modern look. Like this look below.

I love this $20 clutch from 

Sequin and bead clutches from Club Monaco
How about this pave link bracelet? J too.

Club Monaco

Tasha earrings from Nordstrom again.  If you're going to wear earrings as your main bling then go big or go home!

Loving this $58 jacket from the juniors department. Nordstrom .com Perfect topper to keep you glamourous but warm. At least here in Nor Cal. Sorry if you are in Chicago, this is probably not going to cut it.

Speaking of accessories, one that screams New Year's Eve is the fascinator!  If you don't already know, fascinators are all the rage now thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge, (Kate Middleton), who wears them to many of her formal events instead of a hat. A fascinator is a headband with feathers or often a small hat attached. They are the perfect sassy addition to a sparkly New Years' ensemble. My talented friend, Meilei creates them and I was so lucky to grab one myself for my New Year's Eve. Fascinators say you are ready to party and they are not for the faint of heart!

The Duchess in one of her fascinators.

Meilei modeling one of my favorites.
Love this one.

Meilei with some of her fun creations.

 If you have never worn one, then you have no idea how much fun you are missing! To contact Meilei, you can email her at

I'd love to hear how you all ring in the New Year. Leave me comment and tell me about it. 
Hope you have fun and look fabulous!


Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Holidays

Thank you everyone who stopped by this blog for a bit in the past year and who let me know you were reading. I am also so touched by the kind notes from the new friends who found me too.  It means so much and gives me encouragement to keep doing this.

Happy Holidays to you all!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Stuff

First of all, here's a peppermint hot cocoa for you. Love these mugs. You can never have too many mugs is my motto. 

Is your shopping, wrapping, and baking all done? Well, if so lucky you. I'm still a bit behind and typing furiously to get a quick post out. At this point I'm all about getting to the bliss. I'm willing to burn the midnight oil to get it all done. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's called Christmas break! I cannot wait to be done and relaxing with my family. I'm looking forward to that most of all. Hope you are going to be enjoying some of that soon too.

I am in love with these hand painted bowls and plates from Italy. So glad I got these to deliver Christmas goodies in. Homegoods again a few weeks ago. Wish I bought more.

Okay now here's the perfect cookie to gift- Biscotti. They last a long time in a jar and they are a hard cookie so they can't be over-baked. I love that they outlast all the sugar cookies and you can enjoy them with your tea or cappuccino into January. They are fast to make and the house smells delicious!

First toast your almonds.

Love my new happy measuring cups from Pier 1. They make me want to bake.

Love this brand and the licorice smell!

Turn dough into two logs, on parchment.

Slice the logs a bit diagonal to make longer biscotti.

Place them cut side down on wire rack and bake again.

Now here's a few last minute gift ideas if you still need one.

Pop a cute bottle topper on a your favorite wine and tie with a pretty postcard with a handwritten greeting. Got this box of Xmas postcards from Barnes & Noble and they're perfect for gifts. Love the owl bottle stopper from Pier 1.

How about an Ivy or Rosemary topiary? Trader Joes has both. This is a gift anyone would love in their kitchen after the holidays. Tie on a cute card or add a pot and it's adorable. I used a poinsettia card from the same box.

A lot of kids over? Why not have them decorate mugs? These we got from the Birthday Express on line, but you can also get them at Starbucks. It's fun, keeps them busy and we set up a hot cocoa bar for them too.
How cute are these mugs?

Our hot cocoa bar.. Kids loved the sprinkles and candy canes the best.

Our neighbor, Abby with a mug she decorated.
Hey, how about a Christmas cake? It's not something you traditionally think about. My son has a December birthday and has always loved getting one from our local Lunardi's. He has been getting them since he was two and he's ten now! Aren't they cute?

His  cake!

Hope you get to your holiday zen! (Isn't that an oxymoron?)

Kim :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a Grey Christmas..

A holiday table at my dream French Chateau. 

Suddenly, it seems the home decor world is loaded with natural burlaps and linens and books covered in plain brown wrappers.  Here in California, the neutral colors seems to compliment the natural light-flooded rooms and have beachy appeal. Just add trees and greenery and you have fresh Christmas look!

 I, for one, am ready to embrace a calmer palette for the holdays. I put away much of my tired old decor and kept only my favorites. Don't you almost feel criminal or something if you don't put out the whole shebang? It does feel cleaner and less cluttered. And there's nothing like Christmas to clutter your house up big time! Don't get me started on that..

Love the Tiffany Blue and burlap. Quite a contradiction. Photo  via Habitually Chic.

My tree for sure needed calm, and my cheesy synthetic tree skirt wasn't making the cut anymore, so I headed out to find some resolution. (Never mind it had been snagged about a million times by the cats in their fervent worship of the tree! )  I had burlap on the brain and headed to the fabric store. There I found pink and blue burlap. Really? If you're going for that look, then why would you want pink? Also if you are thinking pink, why then burlap? Well, I digress, but I huffed out of there and I'm still with said tree skirt. I'm keeping my eyes out for a neutral one like my neighbor Kims.

Her  tree skirt. Sorry I was so busy getting the cute Eiffel Tower in that I cut off the tree top. :(

The great part about burlap is it's a utilitarian fabric.  No sewing needed. Just cut and arrange! You can't hem this stuff! ( It would be hard.) Another great thing, it's CHEAP, if you didn't already suspect so. The downside- darn scratchy... Well, I hope you're not wearing it! In a pinch, linen will have the same look, much higher price. Linen is for investment pieces, like the ones sold at Restoration Hardware.

Linen walls and books covered in kraft paper.

via Lovely things. Suddenly kraft paper wrap looks luxurious.
You may have also noticed the emergence of all things grey, linen and burlap in Restoration Hardware and many other home shops. It has it's orgins in Belgium and the designer Axel Vervoordt. He has lead what is called the wabi-sabi movement in interior design and decoration.  To quote Belgian Pearls, a lovely blog on Belgian Design, " Wabi–sabi stands for finding beauty in imperfection, that it values simplicity, pureness and modesty. Back to basics."

Okay, I guess that is where the the humblest of fabrics, burlap, enters and distressed, unfinished woods too. You can see how the plain brown wrap on books, etc. also calms everything. Perhaps the attraction to this aesthetic is due the craziness of modern life and the need for less. It has something very clean about it. Kind of the opposite of holiday decor, which is why it's restraint may be a welcome change.

Great table and tree skirts.  Love the stockings trimmed in linen or burlap.

I got very excited when I saw some burlap wired ribbon all over the trees at my favorite local boutiques, Fioris.  It looks very California and cute. The stylish Kim ( yes the friend again, not me) also loved it and refreshed her formerly red ribboned door wreaths with new burlap bows. Didn't it turn out chic?

Kim's door with burlap. 

Check out Kim's burlap pillow on her bed too. I'm jealous.

Once I started looking around, well it seems I have been embracing some burlap too. I just didn't notice all the things in my house that are linen or burlapy.  Sorry, probably not a word, but I'm making it one. Check it out. I'm liking it and may add more. I figure in this frenetic season the more zen around me, the better. 

My favorite frame from a trip to Hawaii.

Another Pottery Barn frame. Love this photo of my Grandma and grandkids.

Burlap pillow cover from Pottery Barn bought last Christmas.

If you want a fresh, California Christmas look, think burlap, grey and white, and add twigs and branches!

Burlap candle holders with our address on our mantle.

Wannabee  burlap?

More frames in linen and burlap.

Here's the find of the week. Mini-trees from Trader Joes in darling burlap wrap. I think they were $5.99! What a cute  small gift! Bet they are going quick.

And now, I'm on way to the Goodwill truck this weekend with some shiny, red items!

My favorite linen pillow out for Christmas.

Kim :)