Monthly Archives: March 2012

Guilty Pleasures

Do you have them?  A guilty pleasure, or two…. or five?  They might be the thing that you do that you don’t talk about with colleagues, or banter about at a cocktail party, but most people have them.

A few years ago I was at a professional conference speaking with a woman who I greatly admire and who is very successful professionally and personally.   And somewhere in the conversation she revealed that the Real Housewives series is a guilty pleasure.  I was awe and dumb struck at the same time.  And so of course I then shared my own feelings for the show – her guilty pleasure was mutual.

These are some of my guilty pleasures, and some are not mine (hello, Twilight).  But, it is fun to think about all the things, big or small, that we enjoy wasting time with.

Do you really feel guilty about your “guilty pleasures” or do you just chalk it up to having fun?

Source: Twilight, Star, Housewives, Cheesecake, Oreo, Kardashians, Pinterest

Balloon Bounty

When I was younger I associated balloons with two things: terrible school dance decor in the forms of arches, and bouquets of shiny mylar balloons that friends would get on their birthday.  Needless to say, neither were real high points in style or design.

But, like kids in high school, even balloons grow up.  And in this case, not always so with the kids from high school, they grow up to be pretty cool.

By Amy Atlas

By Catherine Cindy Leo via Style Me Pretty

by Martha Stewart

via Oh Happy Day


So, balloons can be big, or bold, bright or white, round or shaped, on the floor, on the wall, on the ceiling or carried by hand.  They add such a dynamic aesthetic, a playful attitude and a fairly inexpensive way to reach a wow.

What do you think?  Do you have enough hot air to decorate with helium?

Vacation Days

What is your vacation style?  Do you like to relax on a lounge chair, book in one hand, cocktail in the other or are you a go-getter, exploring new locales with sunblock applied and sneakers tied tight?

I try to do a little of both.  We just went to Huntington Beach with friends and we did the most awesome hike at Crystal Cove State Park.  The day started out a bit overcast and cool but by the time we reached the top of the ridge the sun was out and I have a burnt nose to prove it!

Trail Map

The great thing about this hike is that if you’re more of a cocktail and lounge kind of a gal at the end of the hike you can justly reward yourself with a sweet sip, a salty bite and this view at the Beachcomber at Crystal Cove.

Crystal Cove State Park

Vacation should be the best of both worlds, don’t you think?

Spring 2012 Must Have Pieces – Runway to Real Way

Last fall, after scouring the runways, I identified the must have pieces for spring 2012.  Several months later it is time to shop… And we will shop, but with purpose and with key trends in mind and clever ways to take them from the runway to real life.

Gym Class Hero Runway: If this is the trend for you keep it streamlined and focus on details: an unexpected hoodie, zipper details, jersey and nylon fabrics, and racerback tops.

Gym Class Hero Real Way:Shop: Jacket, Dress, Vest, Sandals, Bag, Wedge, Skirt, Shorts, Tank, Bracelets, Buds, Bag

Trail Blazer Runway:It is completely over sized, has masculine structuring and detailing, and reminds me of the look when a dad offers his suit jacket to his daughter to keep her warm.

Trail Blazer Real Way:Shop: Dress, Blue, Black, White, Espadrille, Tunic, Short, Sunglasses, Belt, Hat

Jumpsuit Fever Runway: Highly reminiscent of the 1970′s, but with a twist from an earlier era of the 1920′s,  the standard jumpsuit looks more polished in flowing silks, deep deco necklines, slim waists and wide legs.

Jumpsuit Fever Real Way:Shop: Black, Floral, Cobalt, Headband, Belt, Earrings

1920’s Nightgown Runway: This look features perfect knife pleating, sheer panels, soft whispers of color, flowing chiffon, delicate beading.  The look is delicate, refined and secretly an alluring throw back to the 1920′s bedroom dressing.

1920’s Nightgown Real Way:Shop: Blouse, Dress, T-Strap, Dress, Cardigan, Short, Slip, Earring

Modern Marilyn Runway: The halter, the open back, bare arms, plunging neckline are made modern by new silhouettes and fresh detailing at the waist.

Modern Marilyn Runway Real Way: Shop: Blouse, Dress, Dress, Jacket, Denim, Espadrille, Earrings, Skirt, Clutch
Lady Who Lunches Runway: The Spring 2012 look has taken the ladylike suit, all prim and proper and made it pop.  In these styles it doesn’t feel costume  and it is not primed for next season’s Mad Men, it feels fresh.  The slim silhouettes, the modern details, the bold colors, all fabulous.  And for the lady who lunches, this look is all business.Lady Who Lunches Real Way:Shop: Jacket, Glove, Blouse, Dress, Short, Earring, Captoe, Skirt
Simply Bold Runway: It’s not going to be easy to wear, and rarely will you have an occasion for a large shimmering tent of a ballgown skirt, but it should make you consider the concept of a simple top paired with a dramatic bottom for spring, or all year long.Simply Bold Real Way:Shop: Tie Tee, Heathered Tee, Sweater, Print Skirt, Geometric Skirt, Glitter Skirt

Which piece trends are you most excited to translate from the runway to real way?  Tell me in the comments!

Kale is the New Snack

I am a kale enthusiast.  I throw it into pasta, and add to rice dishes, but my favorite way to eat it is as a chip. When baked to a crisp this leafy green takes on a rich and nutty flavor – and no, you won’t be able to eat just one.

This is the simplest recipe ever posted on the blog and very possibly one of the most delicious.

1. Buy a big bunch of leafy green tale – I like Scots Kale, but any type would work just fine.

2. Strip the leaf away from the rib.  Kale has a similar structure to romaine lettuce, you just to rip the leaf down the center and discard the ribs at the end.  Yes, you can use the ribs for other recipes, but right now this is all about the leaf.

3. Put the strips of leaves in a colander and rinse thoroughly and then shake to dry thoroughly.  LIGHTLY drizzle olive oil over the colander and use a soft hand and a spatula or wooden spoon to mix the kale in the bowl giving each piece a hint of the olive oil.

4. Set the oven to 350 degrees.  Pour the olive oil kissed leaves onto an unprepared cookie sheet, be careful to not overlap the leaves too much so they get the direct heat and crisp.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper – or rosemary and thyme – or parmigiana – or truffle salt – or cayenne pepper – whatever your taste buds fancy.

5. Bake for 17 – 20 minutes.

6. Snack away.  Munch.  Crunch.  Enjoy!

Why Kale Chips? According to WebMD, kale is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet.  It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.  Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.  Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds and the fiber rich vegetable also binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when cooked.

Glam at Home on Your Own

By all definitions, our house is great – really.  I know it is.  However, when I’m click, click, clicking through the Internet I can’t help but feel a little lust for some pretty fabulous spaces.  That’s okay, right?

Lately I am having a bit of a modern glam kick.  I am happily drawn to glossy finishes, bright colors, flashes of metallic touches.  And then I, and seemingly half the people I follow on Pinterest, found this groovy glam bath.

It is my newest favorite, and this is how to make it your own!

First, how glamorous is this bathroom?  I am like swoon in love with it.  The mosaic ikat tile is by New Ravenna.  What is fantastic about this set up is that there is a really great mix of clean and simple lines in the sink and faucet, glitz and glamour in the mirror and sconces, and playful practicality in the vase, sponge and glasswear.

What do you think?  Wouldn’t this bathroom make your morning routine so much happier?

A Berry Good Weekend

Last weekend I went on an impromptu trip to Florida to see my parents.  We cooked, hung out, and relaxed.  It was wonderful.

One of the perks of the weekend was enjoying true spring weather and seeing the sun – we haven’t had a ton of sun in DC this winter.  Another plus was being able to gorge on fresh Florida spring fruits like strawberries and blueberries.  Not flavorless like they are here, and not super tart they were perfectly sweet.

And so, my berry snacks have inspired me for this weekend.

Shop: Dress, Flats, Fruit, Denim, Lip, Smoothie

There is something so lovely about the freshness of a new season and the first crop of sweet fruit.  I hope you have a beautiful weekend with lots of sweetness and joy.

Trendspotting: Must Have Details at NYFW Fall 2012

In the last round up of the trends for Fall 2012 I have zoned in all of the little details that make a big statement.  I am especially excited about these trends because generally it is easier to find affordable applications of detail trends and they are often easier to wear.

On to the runway!

Bold Lace:This trend was manifested cooly in evening gowns and playful suits, fabulous tops and even pants.  Here dramatic black lace – always black, never white – is paired with bold colors like cobalt, neon green, and hot pink.

Bold Lace: NYFW Fall 2012


Caught in the Net:What happens when your favorite old fisherman partners up with the fashion world’s hottest designers?  This.  Designers sent models down the runway in sportswear looks and tops and sweaters with teeny and tight netting and voluminous wide nets.  The look features mixed materials of knits and leather and always with a fierce sensibility and in modern black and dark hues.  Either way, I’m caught, hook, line and sinker.

Caught in the Net: NYFW Fall 2012


Flight of Fancy:Several designers made an avian statement on the runway by featuring lighter than air skirts that were molting slim black feathers.  What I like about this trend is the very modern way it has been interpreted.  These are not your grandma’s frocks, or the feathers of Dynasty.  The playful colors, fabrics and accessories but this trend in a flock of its own.

Flight of Fancy: NYFW Fall 2012


From Nature:In the past two seasons we’ve seen a lot of prints that ethnic and tribally inspired.  I loved seeing this new trend of fabric prints that looked borrowed from National Geographic.  Prints were reminiscent of live and wild coral, spewing lava, violent and raging wildfires, but were never so literal that the fashion became anything but art.

From Nature: NYFW Fall 2012


Pop Tart:Some of fashion’s most youthfully relevant designers turned out big and playful prints that were a joy to look at and a seemingly a lot of fun to wear.  In bold black and white and in knits, both structured and relaxed, this trend is an easy to own and wear idea for fall.

Pop Tart: NYFW Fall 2012


Shining Shoulders:Long live the grandeur of the 80’s in these cocktail dresses and evening gowns.  Designers played with a lot of sequins, mesh and beading on the Fall 2012 runways, but no trend was more of a standout than the application on the shoulders.

Shining Shoulders: NYFW Fall 2012



Now that all of the best fall trends have been reviewed – the colors, the pieces and the details which trend are you most excited for?  Tell me in the comments!

Trendspotting: Must Have Pieces at NYFW Fall 2012

Hello friends, I am back and ready to continue trend tracking the fall runways from NYFW.  So far we’ve covered color (I’m sure by now you’re loving the orange, teal and berry) and now we move on to the must have pieces that showed up again and again (or at least 3 times) on the runways.

Bear Arms:This isn’t a subtle look, in fact it’s rather fierce and aggressive.  Several designers showed outerwear looks that at their base were streamlined and sophisticated but a look to the right or the left revealed sleeves in furs and pelts.

Bear Arms: NYFW Fall 2012

Over the Top Toppers:Another outerwear look, which might be easier to pull off, is the idea of resplendent and sometimes over the top coats.  In velvets and satin, featuring ornate beading, textures or embroidery these coats aren’t ideal for the next blizzard but they make a beautiful statement.

Over the Top Toppers: NYFW Fall 2012

On Top:Several designers showed models in hats.  Some were a part of the sartorial statement (Jason Wu), others were a outlandish statement all their own.  The use of hats on the runway is a nice way to see fashion imitating life, see Kate Middleton.

On Top: NYFW Fall 2012

Urban Prairie Girl:There is the city girl, you know her in leather and black.  And now there is the urban prairie girl; she’s wearing layers, leather, sheepskin, hats, scarves, neutral tones.  Frankly, she looks like an extra from The Road.

Urban Prairie Girl: NYFW Fall 2012

Military Precision:As a throwback to the 40’s there were quite a few looks that were expertly tailored and reminiscent of the 1940’s military aesthetic.  In slim silhouettes, natty tweeds, and even the bomber jacket were on the runway.

Military Precision: NYFW Fall 2012

She’s a Groovy Kind of Girl:I loved this look, and it was great to see the 1970’s style on the fall runways after it had been stocking spring shelves for years.  Kicky mini dresses and dramatic maxi dresses were the base for corduroys, suede, floral prints, and knit textures.

Groovy Kind of Girl: NYFW Fall 2012

What pieces are you excited for for Fall?  Are there styles that you’re falling for already?