Friday, June 9, 2017

Good Finds- Summer Edition

Happy Friday! We are having some crazy weather here in California. It's raining in June! I'm loving it, but I feel for all the graduates today and the end of year picnics that were planned. I honestly can count on one hand all the times it rained in summer as a lifelong Californian. I remember one time my mom let us run outside in our bathing suits during a July rain. This is very unusual though for us and reminds me of the summer of 1973 when I spent time in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin with my favorite auntie and cousins. 

So after the last post about less shopping, here I am talking about shopping again! However these are ideas for summer events and gifts one might need to get. Everyone seems to be in the summer mood here already. Many friends have already taken off on vacations while others are hosting grad parties. or invited to them. There are a few good things I stumbled across in the last week or so I thought I'd share...

Cost Plus is hitting it out of the park nowadays with so much of their merchandise. I went for potato chips (I didn't need those either), and came home with two blouses, a scarf and some other goodies.
 I cannot resist a feminine cotton blouse for summer, and I find them much more flattering and cool than any t-shirt. I've been coveting the whole Chloe collection, but unless I come into some money, I won't be spending that kind of money on a summer blouse, so enter Cost Plus!

The racks of pretty cover-ups, caftans and blouses had me as soon as I walked into my local store.  I zeroed in on the white blouses and the quality was quite nice. I also found a scarf in aqua and a packable hat for travel. If you cannot get to your local one they have most of the styles online here too.

 Here I am with one of them on. (Look away from the cat beds and terrible carpet please.)

I really like the quality and look of this Lila top. There are also dresses, wraps and ponchos. Most of these are around the $30ish price range which seems fair and adds a bit of Bohemian vibe to the summer closet!

Are you going to any grad parties or summer gatherings? I love these special edition bottles of  Chandon for gifts. Super cute even just to have on your summer bar counter! I think it's only in stores, so grab some before they are out. I bought a few to bring to barbecues.

You can pair a bottle with one of these darling tea towels that are summer-themed...

I bought the popsicle one, but thought these posh pup version, below are adorable too.

Just some of the tea towels at Cost Plus below. Many have that Anthropologie vibe at half or less of the cost. Just saying.. 

I like their new woven placemats and napkins and table linens for summertime. 

If you are giving a gift card or money this season, I love these little raffia wallets from J Crew to tuck them into. I bought a pineapple and a flamingo one for some gift cards. There are also striped ones and colorful leather ones that hook on a bag. 


Are you a house guest at someone's home this summer? The Picnic is a lovely idea for a hostess gift. It's beautifully illustrated and full of great ideas for picnics and makeshift summer feasts. There are games, recipes and cool things to try plus the book is just so pretty and makes me dream about picnics, which is almost as good as the real thing. It would also make a sweet engagement present.

Love this book!!

We are fortunate to be invited to two weddings this year and the wedding gift can be tricky. However, my new favorite store Hudson Grace in Palo Alto at Town & Country Shopping Center is just the place to go for this. They sell the most basic and beautiful housewares and also a few luxuries. I bought one of their perfect white round bowls, which I am using for salads and everything. I'm obsessed with it.

 I like to keep it on the counter with citrus or other fruits.

I also am in love with their Tart Kumquat dish soap which smells divine.

Hudson Grace was started by two friends. He was in design at Gap and she for Williams-Sonoma. Their collection is the practical yet beautiful pieces you want in your home- gorgeous white dishes and serveware, luxe linen napkins, big wooden bowls, beeswax candles and rustic serving planks. It's just what you would imagine a California home to have -unfussy modern things. It's a great store to choose a wedding gift. I'd love to collect these well designed pieces like this and purge the rest of the jumble I own someday.


There are other Hudson Grace stores in Montecito, Marin, San Francisco and Brentwood. You can read more about the founders, Monelle Totah and Gary McNatton and their own homes and style here.

Happy weekend to you all!


Friday, June 2, 2017

Classic Style- Hand It Down, Dress It Up, Wear it Out

I often think there are too many choices in life today  Life hasn't been made better, but just messier. We struggle to for quality, but the quantity of life, and an abundance of things, like clothes, often prevent us from living the life we want. Classic Style by Kate Schelter is a guide to life as well as style and aims to set us straight in a world filled with too much spending, shopping and indecision. The author's reverence for simplicity in our closets and regard for what is old, beat, handed down, thrifted, found and treasured is something I personally love.

Kate Schelter is an artist and has had spins as a Vogue photographer, celebrity stylist, and a brand consultant. This book is her little guide to life and it had me at the sub-title: 'Hand it down, Dress it up, Wear it out.' That is all I believe in a nutshell about clothes, style and spending!

Kate shows us the current culture's obsession with new, shopping as a hobby and continuous consumption does not translate into style, but rather a messy life and wasted money. A beautiful life isn't something you get with a credit card, but curated over time. Kate helps us appreciate the greatest hits from our pasts- like Vans, Vaurnets and Top-siders and as well as family heirlooms. In this view, classics never look old, and when they do wear, they get even cooler. 

Classic Style will have you shopping your closet for past favorites, and coveting hand-me-downs again. Kate is practical as well as chic and reminds one that style cannot be had with the latest, newest and most expensive looks. Chic comes from your personal mix of old and new and sometimes McGyvered clothes. It's all part of what creates real style, something that will not only make you look and feel good, but bring a calm to your life. Cultivate a look, a uniform and stick to it with daily injections of quirkiness and fun via little additions and tweaks.

Kate advocates for less and making firm decisions. Closets overflowing are a distraction from life's more important and wonderful things you could be doing. You should love what you have and wear it all, but have less. Quality items are worth spending on. Treasure those things you have kept and wear them often, wear them out. 

An original watercolor by Kate from her site.

Some of my own closet treasures are hand-me-downs. My grandfather's lime green golf sweater, my mother's 1960's leopard corduroy tote and my father's Coast Guard tunic are all items I wore and treasured over the years. I have a cameo necklace from a grandmother that is an Avon piece from the 1970s. It's not worth anything, but sentimental value, yet it's beautiful and people always remark on it.. My mother's wedding and anniversary rings are stacked on my right finger and keep her in my heart always. My tiny diamond earrings, a five year anniversary present from my husband when we were young, are precious to me and will always be my preferred, over my larger and more expensive ones. These kind of the things give you a look all your own and tell your story too.

What you add to that mix should be things you find along the way- from your travels, from vintage stores, from happenstance and serendipity. Reading this will retrain your shopping brain.  Reuse, modify, shop your own closet and second-hand stores. The most lovely finds are the items no one else has and already exist. Expensive and new does not equal stylish. 

The best message of this book? Frugality is cool and you already have all that you need.