War ‘n’ Peace

So in my internet rambles I’ve started to see a new theme trend popping up.

As we all know, skulls are kind of over and done with (unless you’re really cool and ironic like me) and aren’t we glad because they were ev-er-y-where on everything from scarves to shoes to earrings.

But the new motif I’m just starting to see around is the peace symbol. The symbol, which reached it’s heyday in the 60’s/70’s is now coming back into vogue with our reclamation and reinterpretation of the fashions of those times.

If you use Polyvore, you know you can search through hundreds of pages of clothes and accessories. I found 15 pages of skull-related items and less than a page of items with peace symbols.

Here are just a few of the pieces at the head of the pack:

1. Donald J. Pilner Jibon – $225 (he has boots and flats with this too – Neiman Marcus)

2. Isabella Fiore Peace Embroidered Flat – $375

3. King Baby Studio Peace Dog Tag – $725

4. Isabella Fiore Peace Out Shoulder Bag – $595

5. Mickael Kors Danbury – $164

6. The Sak Peace Bag Shopper – $315

7. Koolaburra Peace Sign Boot – $425

We’re rehashing the past. I didn’t jump on the bandwagon for skulls, and I know I won’t be getting in line for these. But it’s interesting that we went from a sort of grisly image which followed a period of war and strife world-wide and now there is a big push for ending the war, mimicked with a resurgence of the peace symbol.

Ya heard it here!

P.S. A big shout out to Elaine, Sky High, Edwin Star (huh!), and Mr. Tolstoy for being fashion trendsetters.

Opening doors and divergent paths

I received a quote today…

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.
— Flora Whittemore

and it made me stop and think about all of the choices in our lives, big and small, and how they define us and bring us to where we are. It’s hard to imagine forward about how so many choices will change the course of your life. And how many ways these choices become interconnected to create the person you are.

From the relationships we keep, create or end to the people and places that move through our lives, each of them leaves a mark upon us.

There are three large defining moments in my life that I look back to and see how my life could have been totally different. The first was my choice of college. I had applied to a large number of schools (I was doing a project as well as applying) and had a number of options. I had a scholarship to the college I ultimately went to, which also happened to be one a number of people I knew went to. I often think how I would have met totally new people, lived in a radically different city or even how this difference would have changed my career, if I’d gone to another school. I don’t regret where I am now but I do wish that I would have branched out and gone for less safe choice.

A few years out of school I was very very unhappy. I was unhappy with my life, my job, my living situation, etc. I remember being on my 22nd birthday; I was in another country with my family and I was crying my heart out in the middle of a public park with my Dad trying to console me. I don’t get that upset very often, but I felt lost and had no idea how to fix my life. For me the lack of a plan and options was the worst part.

To distract myself I did a lot of volunteer work at a zoo. I mean ALOT – 500 hours in less than 2 years. I love animals and it was good to be out of the house and outside of myself. This time cemented my belief and support for always getting involved and doing volunteer work. But it also got me a job opportunity.

At the same time I had been applying for jobs in my field. The same week I got a job offer from the zoo I got an offer in marketing that was a big jump from where I was. That may have been one of the hardest decisions I had to make. Do I take the lower paying job at the zoo or the higher paying job in business. I ended up taking a holistic look at where I was and took the job in business. It enabled me to move to the next phase in my adult life.

Sounds like sort of a dispassionate decision, but less than a year in working at this job I was on a business trip and all of the right doors and details and stars aligned to create the moment where my husband and I met. If one of the details had changed in any way, we never would have met.

I know this to be true.

The other big change in the time continuum was deciding where to live. I knew I didn’t want to stay in Florida and after I got married we debated several places. In visiting all of the colleges when I was applying so long ago, I had visited central North Carolina. A brief visit of two days. But I fell in love with it. And now many a year later, I got a job offer and we moved. I had not visited since that first visit and my husband had never been at all. But we moved. Made the big risk. Opened the second door to the right and stepped through.

I know this is a little abstract for this blog, but this philosophy is what I’m about – take a risk, try something daring, be willing to make a mistake and possibly regret it.

Luck and love (and great shoes) can’t find you if you aren’t out there.

P.S. Photos courtesy of Aradan, Asseenintv, Bleachpuppy, El Contador, and Grabow on Flickr

Modern Geisha

It’s so interesting to me how a designer can be inspired by a single story or element and expand that image into an entire collection.

Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s latest collection is drawing heavily on the image of a modern geisha. Geisha and Asian styling is iconic with the bold use of color, pattern pairing and overwhelming sensuality and femininity.

The obi belt has become very popular and I’ve seen iterations for the past several years – from belts to dresses to crochet. I love Alessandro’s streamlined interpretations and saturated colors.

This is my favorite outfit. It looks eminently wearable with the square neckline and subtle tones. Note the belt tie in both images – it shows up later.

While the geisha shoes were a combination of practicality (keeping long kimonos out of the mud) and somewhat restraining (male imposed, to be sure), they do have a structural graphic beauty.

The runway shoes are just as staggering but with modern materials and colors. Note the thicker pink strap; reminiscent of the strap on traditional shoes and mimicked by the obi tie done on the skirts. Clever, no?

The aqua strap on this sandal ties it back to the rest of the collection but in a much more practical style.

All those straps – very pretty and not at all “gladiator-y” but is it still a restraining throwback?

Favorite Fall Colors

I love Fall. I love that it’s still dark when I wake up (sort of) and it’s getting dark when I’m driving home from work. The cool weather, crunchy leaves, bonfires in the backyard and romping around with the dogs.

Coming from Florida I never really had a Fall until we moved two years ago. we get the seasons now and it’s still so novel to me. And I love the colors – dark greens, mossy browns, deep red, bright pumpkin…

Pedro Garcia (whom I’m having a bit of a love affair with lately) seems to be ready for fall if these heels are any indication. These are pointier than mine but still have the trademark frayed edges and I love that deep moss color.

Pumpkins! I can’t wait to roast em up, puree them and make a pie!

And aren’t these gorgeous??? I love that the colors are called “Fossil” and “Flame”. So pretty!

I never really wore orange a lot but I am getting more and more into it. It is a strong but really versatile color.

Not really for kicking around in the leaves but I bet they look great with a pair of jeans and a JCrew cable-knit cashmere sweater (and cute patterned headband, of course!).

P.S. Photos courtesy of Katmystiry and Catalepsy on Flickr

A Shoe List – Pink!

I used to have a lot more pink in my life, like my room growing up. But now I like to use it in accessories to add that pop of color. And I love almost every version of pink from baby pink to bright fuchsia – think the pink that Isaac Mizrahi uses at Target. That may be my favorite shade of pink. It’s that girl-y, Barbie, candy pink that goes great with so many colors including white, black and green.

Are you ready for the shoe count? Here we go:

  1. Pink slingbacks with dimensional black flowers – very retro-secretary
  2. Steve Madden fuzzy pom-pom igloo boots – yeah, these are a “bit” much, even for me
  3. Vintage pink and white “plastic-y” bow slingbacks
  4. Vintage three-strap chunky heels
  5. Vintage pink and white loafers
  6. Light pink heeled sandals with butterflies on the back of the heel – excessive? You betcha!
  7. Bright pink mary jane platforms
  8. Candy pink satin Prada heels with croc toe caps
  9. Ashley Dearborn Roy G. Biv kitten sandals
  10. Viktor and Rolf for H and M platform sandal heels
  11. Delman pink stripe silk oxfords
  12. Pink Target Isaac Mizrahi driving mocs
  13. Chinese Laundry hot pink glitter open toe kitten sandals
  14. Charles David fuchsia ponyhair heels
  15. Nine West coral slides
  16. Pink/white/taupe crochet heeled sandals
  17. Kate Spade rose print fabric kitten mules
  18. Jimmy Choo Candy Pink high heeled sandals with gold glitter heels – my fa-vorites!!!

Yeah, I guess I like pink, just a bit.

Please pass the marshmallows

So, I know I’m going to be totally regretting this in February when we’ve had a lot of c-c-c-cold days and an ice storm or two, but I am really wanting the cooler weather to get here ALREADY!

Today it was 93 degrees. It’s the end of September and it is 93 degrees. Can’t it just be in the 60’s or 70’s for a while?

All I want is a large mug of warm hot chocolate. Not cocoa, real hot chocolate. The kind that is not much more than melted chocolate and crème.

Okay, hot chocolate, a pile of books, my sofa, a blanket and my snuggly puppy –

And if I have to go out, a pair of these to tuck my jeans into.

If you’ve only had Cocoa (milk + ground cocoa + sugar + vanilla + ground cinnamon), then you don’t know real Hot Chocolate. The kind they serve at the famous Angelina’s in Paris. And having Hot Chocolate in Angelina’s should be on the list of things you do before you die, because it is To. Die. For.

In case you want to try and recreate the experience at home (and you should. Often), here’s a recipe:

Angelina’s Hot Chocolate
The Angelina Cafe in Paris, open since 1903, serves a thick hot chocolate version in demitasse cups with a tiny dollop of mascarpone and whipped cream. They are famous for making hot chocolate from melted chocolate bars. Serve it in small cups or in 17th-century style chocolate pots and demitasse cups such as those sold in gourmet shops.

Be careful when you make it. I made a batch of French Hot Chocolate once for me and my husband. We drank it all because we didn’t want to waste any of it. I never have anything with caffeine in it and started getting a racing heart beat and nearly passed out. It was a major caffeine overload. So pace yourself!

6 ounces fine-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup water, room temperature

3 tablespoons hot water

3 cups hot milk, divided

Sugar to taste

Real whipped cream, if desired

In a double boiler over low heat, combine chocolate and 1/4 cup water until melted, stirring occasionally; stir until smooth.
Remove top of double boiler pan from. Whisk in 3 tablespoons hot water. Pour into pitcher or divide among individual 4 mugs. Either stir 3/4 cup hot milk into each mug or serve milk in a separate pitcher.

Pass sugar and whipped cream in separate bowls; add to taste.
Makes 4 servings.

Get out your coats! Hell may be freezing over!

For a very very long time I have been a Payless-hater. I really looked down on their shoes as cheap (in the bad way, not the Target way) tacky, plastic and cardboard crap. To put it mildly. But I have to give them some credit. They are trying to update their image and product line and are taking cues from Target’s capsule designer collections by pairing with the likes of Patricia Fields (stylist for Sex and the City, etc.), Abaeté, and Lela Rose.

And they aren’t doing a bad job, either.

I really like the Abaeté line’s Cabri Zip boots. And from some pictures I’ve seen, their Spring items, which will hit in February, look pretty cute.

But to keep my tailored menswear trend going – and to give me extra mileage for all of the cute cute socks I’ve bought, (I think I need some flat boots too, but that’s a whole other story!), I was intrigued by they Lela Rose line at Payless. Now if you know me, you will know that this is like George Bush saying, “Hey, maybe that Al Gore does have a point about that global warming stuff.” Shocking, unexpected and out-of-character. But, I try to be open-minded, ya know.

So anyhoo, Lela Rose. Capitol Hill Barbie brought these to my attention as I don’t usually frequent the Payless stores or website. And I think they are pretty cute. Here are some of the runway shots –

One thing I did notice is that the runway versions are much more refined and look to be of a better quality than what they are selling to the masses. The red peep-toe for example is 1000% nicer than what I saw online. If the stores were selling that runway shoe with that heel, I would bolt right down there. But the heel on the actual product is much chunkier. So, a little deceptive advertising there, but what do you expect?

What I ended up buying were the three heels below. The black and brown versions of the Finsbury pump and the black Birchin t-strap.

I’m sure the material is very very faux, but at least I won’t have to worry about them getting ruined or anything. And for $25 and $30 respectively, they are a good bargain. Shipping was free – or you can ship to any store for free and go pick them up. The good thing is that if you hate them, you can return them right there. The bad thing is that you have to go into an actual store.

; )

One thing I was surprised at is that not all the stores are getting them. Just as malls, some big box stores and department stores do, the “higher end” area Payless stores are getting the line while the rest of the schlubs are not. I can’t believe Payless has the nerve to segregate product based on area household incomes. And where I live isn’t a run-down area, but the store near me was not getting the line. It kind of ticked me off. How dare Payless look down on my area!

I can’t believe I’ve been dissed by Payless. What is my world coming to?

My heart’s a-flutter

I know I don’t need these. I know they are totally impractical, over-the-top, too girly to be believed but I want them.

Gentry de Paris Corset Boots

I know they are so over the top, but dammit, I want them. And just as much, I want this too:

Yes, I know I have no where now or in my foreseeable future to ever wear this. And yes it’s a fluffy pink ostrich feather boa (a boa!) and no one in their right mind would really wear this out. But I-want-it.


Darn money!

Alice Temperly at Target

A new Go International collection at Target is always cause for excitement, and somehow this one crept up on me. I don’t know how because I love the styles and the mainly black and white color scheme of the Alice Temperly line.

And you know this has to be big news because even Selfridges, the big UK high-end department store, was doing a special event around this launch on Tuesday the 18th.

A lot of the dresses and shirts have high collars, which I don’t really like (I’m a v-neck gal myself) so I’ll probably skip most of those. And the accessories are not thrilling me too much. I think they would go better paired with some of the Gothic Lolita options out there.

I do like this sweater. It’s girly but the stripey sleeves have a Beetlejuice-quality about them. I like that its subtle, but there.

This petal dress is pretty and girly. I love the salmon pink color of the shirt and accents. I haven’t seen the shirt yet, so I’m not sure how it will fit. But I bet I could find something similar if I needed too.

I really like this sweater coat the best. It sort of smoking jacket/cozy blankie and I think it will help to extend some of my lighter tops into the fall. Plus it will look kewl with my new short skirts and opaque tights.

I’m not sure about the sash/tie belt so I was thinking of getting this (also Beetlejuice-y) striped belt to wear with it. I think a nice patent dark red belt would be good too.

Overall, a very pretty collection. Not overwhelming amount of options that I am going to jump on but I like the details. I can’t wait to see them in person to assess the quality.