Spreading the Love – TiLT

Photo of our first snow by hepcatmedia

Just a few of the things that are floating my boat, in this week filled with things to be thankful for:

The first snow of the year, showing up early this past week. Does this mean we’ll have an especially cold winter? I don’t know but the Floridian in me is still entranced by a snowfall.

I love Amy Mebberson’s retro pin-up takes on Disney princess. I love this combination. She’s an amazing artist. You really have to check out the whole set!

The uber-hawt 2009 Vogue Paris Le Calendrier. Gorgeous but NSFW. Let’s all thank fashionologie for scanning these in for us.

My kitten in his silly penguin t-shirt. Don’t yell at me! I’m not dressing up my cats. He’s wearing this for medicinal purposes (so he won’t mess with an allergy related spot). But he does look hilarious.

Wil Wheaton’s conversations with his iTunes on Twitter. Totally worth following him just for conversations like these:
Me: When I say ‘classical’ I don’t mean play Classical Gas. iTunes: But isn’t it NICE?! Me: Oh, so I’m Brad, now? iTunes: ASSHOLE! Me: Sigh.

The hime gyaru “Princess Girl” trend. I know the look, a cross between Marie Antoinette and Paris Hilton, is crazy and excessive but I kind of love it. I especially love this video with a whole group of hime gyaru girls. These girls are committed! And I think I need one of those pink fluffy coats. Or maybe that Tiffany blue one.

Putting out seed and water for the birds and seeing the bluejays and cardinals flitter in and out in colorful streaks.

And especially our veggie/vegan, cruelty-free, amazingly delicious Thanksgiving feast. For the first time in my life I won’t get completely ill afterwards. I’m not talking “oof I ate too much” ill, I mean all the butter and animal grease and sugar in this meal literally made me “hurl my guts up – Happy F**king Thanksgiving – blah” ill. I didn’t eat turkey much before because it always made me sick and now I’m really not eating it. And I’m truly thankful. And feeling happier and more connected than I ever have.

Designer Focus – Elizabeth Olsen of olsen Haus

The other day I was flipping through a new magazine and came upon an article featuring these really cool shoes. They were graphic and eccentric with a sexy, sometimes 80s vibe to them. I love the delicate shapes and unique use of color and mixed materials.

I hadn’t heard of the designer before, Elizabeth Olsen, so I decided to check out her label olsen Haus. The site featured her online look book for Fall 08 – Spring 09 and I was smitten by a whole slew of her pieces.

Check them out:

Pretty neat, huh?
I really liked her “mixed media” techniques and the metallic paint splatter styles. The shoes appeal to my classic shape but unique materials style.
What’s even better????
They’re completely vegan!
Surprising I know. But it shouldn’t be, right?
It’s great that we’re seeing more and more stylish cruelty-free options. I know this is something I struggle with as we’ve been changing our lifestyle. Either the shoes/accessories are too “casual” or they are kind of pricey. I applaud designers and companies like Stella McCartney and Te Casan with the Natalie Portman collection to bring a more designer look to this arena. But the prices have been exorbitant.
I still like pretty shoes and want pretty shoes. I’ll probably still buy shoes that are not 100% vegan. But as the vegan options grow, I’m seeing more great styles I like. Like these.

And I feel Elizabeth is living her beliefs in an authentic way. She is committed to seeing and being a change in the world. How can I not want to support that?

So yes, these shoes support our beliefs (I like putting my money towards companies I am aligned with) but, heck!. these are just hot shoes.
olsen Haus shoes, these styles and more, can be purchased online and stores around the world.

Living the Fairy Tale

This may be my favorite quote of all time. I love it so much and believe in it so completely that I painted it on a wall in my house so that I could see it every day and remember to really feel it.

Just like most little girls, I grew up on Disney’s take on fairy tales. And as I got older, I still love all of the versions of the classic stories. I collected them and kept new versions like touchstones. As I matured so did the versions of the stories, from sexy to dark and mysterious. I added the Arthur legends to my mental library as well. The tales that tore at me were tales of tortured souls, struggles, ripping apart and tempestuous comings back together. And my visions of a passionate relationship were influenced and tangled up with the feelings these stories engendered.

And this isn’t just me, there have been books and studies on how girls have grown up with these myths and then gone on to adult life with these unrealistic expectations of how a relationship should be, should work. How their perceptions of love and romance are skewed to the point that, when these expectations aren’t met, are leading to dissatisfaction and even divorce.

And it’s not just the being swept off your feet aspect that’s the hardest hit by reality but it can also be the adventures and conflicts that happen before “love’s first kiss” even takes place. This is when emotions run high and it has even been said that it is the intense situations themselves that create the illusion of love (but doesn’t love need a bit of illusion? hmmmm…) and when that intensity is gone, the relashionship falls apart.

I’m sure you’ve know people who have those kinds of relationships. They fight and get back together, ad infinitum, just to get that rush.

And when you don’t have a stable relationship (does that sound boring to you? think about it. it shouldn’t.) then it’s the minutia of every day life, like water on stone, that will wear you down. If the relationship isn’t between two committed and self-aware people, then these small things are what will wear your caring away.

Now all that may sound a little judgemental and I’ll admit I’m coming at this from my perspective. But one of the smartest things I ever learned (and this comes from being the child of and seeing some crappy relationships in my day) was to choose your battles. This is where the “self-aware” kicks in.

This isn’t stuff your anger or irritation down. I know that is a recipe for disaster as much as it can be impossible. More it is recognizing the things that bother you and that are, in the grand scheme of things, small. Is it worth an argument about straightening the couch cushions (which doesn’t seem to bother anyone but you) or is it just easier to take the 30 seconds to do it yourself.

Recognizing your moods and what causes them is also key. You may feel overwhelmed and get snappish. Then your partner becomes reactionary and defensive. It escalates and you end up in a wicked fight pulling up examples from months or years in the past. How did that happen? Be willing to apologize, break down why you reacted and be open to their response as well. They may be tired and stressed as well and have a good reason for getting cranky too. I do this a lot. If I’m hungry or just beat from work, I’m not always receptive and agreeable. The hubby and I get into “tiffs” but it usually doesn’t last long, we explain what got us to that point, acknowledge it, apologize, say “I love you”, hug and move on.

This is where letting the other person help comes in too. It’s easy (and sometimes satisfying) to try and do it all yourself and be the martyr. But in the end it sucks. You’re exhausted. Your partner feels dismissed and unvalued. They may even get angry and then everything goes sour. How they do things may be different but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Of course it helps to pick what’s important but that doesn’t mean you should make a point of going back and remaking the bed!

Being open-minded is also key. There may be your way, but there rarely is only one definative “right” way of doing something.

Something that seems counter-intuitive but that I think is also critical is to have a barrier. This will vary for everyone and you may have more than one. What is it? Well, for some people it’s keeping separate closets or bathroom space. Some couples make sure to have distinct areas in their home or go on “friends’ night out.” You need to have some buffer time to not over-expose your selves to one another. Even if you live and work together and are perfect, have some things just for you. Some bit of mystery. Something you can bring back and share.

I also think it’s important to have a good story. Think about those cute couple vignettes in When Harry Met Sally. It could be how you met or a funny date story. Not only will this bond you but it will remind you both of your love when you feel like you want to strangle one another. And that’s going to happen! To quote a bad Alan Alda movie, love comes in waves. Sometimes you are as giddy as when you first met; sometimes you start looking at how much a single bedroom apartment costs.

But if you have a good base, which your story is a part of, you’ll be better able to weather the troughs. And they will come, in life and as a couple. You shouldn’t go running just because you feel like you are spiraling down. And it’s almost inevitable then when you are feeling your lowest about your relationship, some one will ask how you met and you’ll fall in love all over again.

And that’s really what’s important – to recognize what you’ve got. I’ve been married a long while. We met and got engaged very fast. We had challenging times and lived on other sides of the country for almost a year after we got engaged. But there was one thing I always kept a hold of – when I told my Dad I was getting married to some guy I had barely spent any time with and that he didn’t know at all, who lived thousands of miles away, he asked me “Give me one good reason why this is a good idea”.

I responded: “Dad, I could give you a thousand reasons why he’s a good guy and I want to be with him, but I’ll only give you one… I don’t have any doubts about him.”

And that was that.

It was true then and over a decade later it’s still true.

And yes, I know how lucky I am.

In spite of all of this practical stuff, I still get sappy over a mushy fairy tale song:

This one is my favorite. It pretty much sums up about how my Sweetie makes me feel.

Read on:
The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales
Sur La Lune Discussion Board: Value of Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Grimms’ Bad Girls and Bold Boys: The Moral and Social Vision of the Tales
White Knights, Glass Slippers and other Romantic Myths
Why True Love isn’t a Fairy Tale

– Hans Christian Anderson quote image – here
– “Believe” ad from Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group (my former job!)
– We’re So Fairytale – modified from here

All Wrapped Up

I’ve always wondered why things that are meant to be functional can’t also be beautiful.

One of my biggest peeves is when you see a product that is designed to disguise or cover up something functional and needed but ugly. For example those tacky fake plastic “rocks” used to cover meters. Usually you see these right in the middle of an empty suburban lawn. Who are we kidding with these? Why can’t companies just make the meters better looking? Ugh!

Okay, sorry for the rant….

Anyway, after seeing Lady Coveted’s coverage on “medic esthetic-inspired” shoes you could begin to see how this could be done. Take typically utilitarian materials and look at it in a new way. Make it beautiful. The pieces showcased in Gwendolyn Huskens‘ show were for a show but what if we embraced the simple beauty of the materials themselves. And brought some of that back to when they were used for their original purposes?

Okay, I think I’m letting my advertising/design background carry me away.

What I also thought when I saw these images was… “I would totally wear some of those, especially that bandage-bootie!”

And now I can.

I’m seriously kind of in love with these Toms wrap boots.

I’m not quite sure where I will wear them, but I think I need to have them. They look cozy and comforting and stretchy and weird.

Maybe I just want to look cool (& hot!) like Padme….

… or Luke? I’m a child of the era, so it’s hard to say.

More on Gwendolyn

– by DesignBoom


If you have any familiarity or love for Sex and The City, you probably were aware of this shoe from the movie. It was everywhere last fall and is still selling online.

And if you saw the movie, you couldn’t help but see it because Patricia Field had it in every other scene it seemed like.

Pat likes to bring the SATC style to the masses by selling similar pieces in her store (arglye thigh-highs, check!, giant flower pin, check!, floaty dresses and half-gloves, check!) but she is also doing this with her line for Payless it seems.

I was on looking to see if there were any cute rainboots and stumbled upon this:

This can’t be anything but a dumbed down version of the Dior sandal. Yes, I know we can’t all shell out almost $800 bucks for the original. And I can’t say this is some one interpreting a trend or even aware of the trend. We KNOW Pat is aware of this shoe. I hope she got some sort of approval becauase this is just doing a bad rip-off.

And it doesn’t need to be this way, even if it is made for payless. I call it a dumbed down version because the color is bad, the heel is unecessarily thick, the platform is just too chunky.

Maybe these are the things she had to do to keep from getting sued but Dior but I still think it is close enough for that.
Personally, I think they should just not have bothered. These took away all of the design elements that made the original a tough but sexy sandal (although not a style I could pull off well) and made it tacky.

What are your thoughts?

Super Sneak Peek – Pantone & SeaVees

I thought I would share a cool offer with you all:

You have been invited by PANTONE to pre-purchase a pair of the limited edition SeaVees + Pantone shoes, available Spring 2009 in only the world’s most exclusive boutiques.

By special invitation only, you can secure yourself a pair now through our private online store before they are made available to the general public.

Act quick as your order must be submitted on or before Monday, November 24th.

Online Store: www.seavees.com/pantone
Login: pantone
Password: seavees0963

SeaVees, Purveyors of California Casual, has announced an exclusive collaboration with Pantone, the world-renowned authority on color. True to their inspiration, each SeaVees style is named to honor an influential date in 1960’s California-cool history.

With the creation of the 09/63, SeaVees celebrates the founding of Pantone, and the release of the first PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM in September 1963. For the first time in their 45 year history, Pantone has allowed an external design team into their hallowed archives. SeaVees has selected seven vintage colors from the original Pantone color guide. The palette, chosen from the only authentic guide known to exist, epitomizes the cool, casual style of California in 1963.

The series production has been restricted to 1,963 pairs.

The shoes are available in Men’s and Women’s sizes. A 25% nonrefundable deposit will be charged upon checkout. The balance plus any applicable tax and shipping charges will be charged when your Pantone shoes ship February 10, 2009.

A Passel of Ponies

As if my desk wasn’t girly and pink enough….

I now have a herd of My Little Ponies prancing around.

We cleaned up the basement over the weekend and I found a bunch of fun things from my office when I was at Disney.

Those are original too! Blue Bell and Misty (the blue/lavender with stars & the green/white with shamrocks) were mine from the 80s. And yes, I did braid their manes and tails.

Yeah, I just dated myself. I know.

Week In Review Once More

This has been another crazy week at work. I feel like I’ve barely had time to breathe or sleep. So I’m just now getting to writing up the week’s outfits! It hasn’t been too cold this week but it has been blustery and rainy.

Monday I wore this black swing jacket (over a black cami) from Target with my denim skirt. I took this pendant from Etsy off of its chain and used it as a brooch on my collar. The military style of the pin, as well as it’s colors of gold and enameled red and white, went well with the shoes.

11-10-08 by Princess Poochie

The focal point was all about the shoes. I know I had been debating whether I would keep these or not because the shoes from this brand tend to be a bit stiff. But in the end, I did. I just love the mix of colors and materials from the metallic edges, black sequins and red suede heel.

One this that did help is that I wore them with black opaque tights. I wore the tights to help keep warm and dress up the denim but they sort of toned down the shoes so the sparkle was more subtle. Wearing the shoes with the tights made me forget that I had found them less than comfortable.

On Tuesday, I was looking for an excuse to wear the JCrew acorn bracelet that had just arrived from eBay. I had really really wanted this when I first saw it in the catalog and the store but held out and then it sold out. Luckily I found it on eBay and for even cheaper than the store! Score!

The dress is the black v-neck Target dress I’ve worn a million times now and, since it’s colder, instead of a cropped cardigan I added a long boyfriend cardigan (also from Target) and cinched it with a wide brown belt. I also have this necklace with a large chunk of agate as the pendant that I wore as well. I think I need to somehow alter this dress. It’s a little loose now and the neckline is getting a bit low. I need to figure out if a few hidden stitches will take care of that.

11-11-08 by Princess Poochie

The focal point was the bracelet and I supported the brown of that with the belt and these shoes. I have these Manolos for a few years now and they are one of my favorite shoes. They are the perfect shape and height and such a neat pattern. I could walk all over town in these and be comfortable.

Okay, this is going to be such a let down, especially since I made such a big deal about teasing you with them… but I finally wore the Chanel two-tone tights and mary janes! Talk about burying the lead. I can’t believe it has been since August that I’ve had these and haven’t had an opportunity (or made an opportunity) to wear them. That’s just crazy!

I was going to do a whole big reveal of unwrapping the tights and the shoes. I did put a whole set on Flickr, so they are there if you want to see more shots and bigger.

One of the things that held me back was what would be the inaugural outfit to pair them with. In the end I took inspiration from one of the runway outfits.

11-12-08 by Princess Poochie

I loved a number of the styles from the show but this one seemed very accessible, so I started there. I wore the tights and mary janes and then pulled out a denim skirt and my JCrew charcoal wool v-neck sweater. Very simple and straight forward.

Here are a few of the shots, but definitely check out the Flickr stream, there are just so many more there.

These tights are very cool in person. The illusion element of the two-tone is very strong. What’s hard to tell from the runway pictures and even mine are that the front part of the tights is more of a flesh tone rather than a taupe. And they are not sheer at all. So the tights are very thick and soft. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting but still neat. And when you move from the side or turn around the transition is quite unexpected.

I haven’t seen a competitive pair in exactly the same way yet, although I’m sure they will come up sooner or later. Someone did share with me that there are a pair at Urban Outfitters that come close. The pair there are opaque black on the back and then a sheer black on the front. I don’t think the effect would be as strong but could be good if you were looking for another option.

Oh yeah! And the shoes! They are very interesting. Graphic. Unique more than stunning. There is a lot of craftsmanship in these shoes. I did find a contender for the black pair (which I’ve worn a lot) that mimics the style but if you were to hold both pairs up together you do see the difference in the work. And that is not always something I find to be true, especially as luxury companies attempt to boost their profits by skimping on quality.

Thursday I figured I might as well keep the crazy legwear thing going and maybe even push it even more. So I decided to wear my knee-pad over-the-knee socks from Hansel from Basel which I just love. I mean, I love these some much I got them in 3 colors. I had skirts all planned out just to wear with them.

11-13-08 by Princess Poochie

Yes, the focal point was the socks, which I wore with a flippy black Old Navy skirt and my Facade patent mary janes, but I have to show you this top.

I bought this at least 4 or 5 years ago at Anthropologie and, because it is a knit, it may be reaching the end. But it’s just so cute. Sort of, saucy librarian-esque.

The inset panel is a sheer polka-dot fabric with a ribbon tie of the same and the buttons are tiny porcelain with flowers. The top is actually more red than it appears here so it has that red/white/black graphic element to it.

Finally Friday arrived! Thank goodness! I did have a client meeting so I toned it down just a bit. I had bought the sweater and the skirt in the picture but the sweater was an angora mix and finally pilled up so horribly and was so fluffy it had to go. But I still love the skirt. It’s a purple tweed pencil skirt with great button detail and kicky pleats in the front and the back.

11-14-08 by Princess Poochie

The skirt was from Victoria’s Secret from its “not-totally-trashy” collection. I was going to wear a slim v-neck knit top but for some reason I couldn’t find it and ended up wear the Target Behnaz Sarafpour lace front cardigan again. I’m trying to reserve this so it too doesn’t die an early death from over-wearing.

The skirt and slim cardigan have a retro feel to them so I thought I would wear a wiggly peep-toe stiletto with them. I have the Louboutin Yo-Yo Zeppas in black suede which I felt was a good texture to go with the lace and tweed elements in the clothes.

Whew! What a week. I’m exhausted. I have a party to go to tonight so now I have to think of what I’m going to wear to that.

Some folks asked if I have links to where I have bought some of my clothes. If I have a product image in the outfit collage, you can click on that and Polyvore stores the link. But if I just have a photo or you can’t find something, let me know and I’ll give you the info. I do tend to keep things, especially shoes, for a long time so eBay may be your best bet. Either way, let me know. I’m happy to help!

Communication Breakdown

The Lost Art of Communication by mbowman64

If you’ve had a blog or a website for even a brief while, you are bound to get emails and solicitations from various companies wanting you to write about their product or exchange links with their site. I’ve known several bloggers who have written about the high-handed tone that many of these companies take with them and I’ve even experienced it myself.

Many of these companies are used to working with huge media outlets, which receive hundreds of press releases a day, and I also think that because we are outside of the traditional publishing realm that we bloggers will be ecstatic to post up any thing they send us.

I actually have found the complete opposite to be true. Yes, there are those sites/blogs that will put up any scrap of information. Tracking down new content and taking the time to research, write, edit and publish it is hard. Most bloggers are writing because they are passionate about a topic. It’s something they love. Something they’d read or write about anyway, no matter if they had one reader or thousands. So this tone can be very offensive.

For my day job, I advise clients on finding the right mix of communication tactics, offline and online. I try to educate them about what will work and how to approach bloggers using the perspective and experience I’ve gained having my own site. And when emails from companies come to me I try to educate them a bit as well. Here’s an example reply letter to a company I had to send recently:

Hello “Company X”

Thank you for contacting me about your Product X. I appreciate that you feel I would be a good outlet for your message.

One thing you may not know about me is that I am also an Advertising/Marketing supervisor specializing in new media. One thing you may want to consider, is approaching bloggers in a new way. While there are many blogging networks, most bloggers are individuals who are writing for the sheer love of their topic. When approaching these writers, you may want to consider speaking to them in a more personal way. I feel a responsibility to my readers to not endorse or cover products and services that I have not personally interacted with. Many of my readers have become friends through my site and I like to be very upfront and honest about what I review. I always disclose if I have been given something to review or are being paid to advertise.

So, while your product does have some relevance to my readers, I cannot review it unless I was able to use it. If you would like to send me one to review I will give my honest assessment. I can return the product, if needed.

If you are still interested, please let me know.

Thank you

So far I have received a mix of responses (or lack of responses, I should say). I don’t think most companies mean to be offensive but they should learn a bit about a site, it’s topics and audience before they pitch it. Not so different from how we choose traditional media… just more personal.

How have you dealt with this issue?

Find Me on Facebook…and 4 More Things

I’ve been having to get all introspective over here.

Dear Reader Robo tagged me with the task of revealing “4 things” about me, so here we go –

4 Things I Did Today:

  1. Let the chickens out to play in the yard
  2. Watched the feel good movie of the year, Sweeny Todd
  3. Got on the Interwebs
  4. I don’t think I did anything productive after that. Slacker!

4 Things on My To Do List:

  1. Consolidate my work To Do Lists
  2. Consolidate my “personal” To Do Lists
  3. Consolidate my To Buy, To Read, To Write To Do Lists
  4. Do some of these things

4 Guilty Pleasures:

  1. Cupcakes
  2. Chocolate
  3. Fancy Shoes
  4. Not feeling guilty about any of the above

4 Random Facts About Me:

  1. I have a Rooster who is in love with me
  2. I once thought Bailey was a really original name for a dog
  3. I currently have 17 kinds of honey, 11 kinds of oil, 9 kinds of vinegar, 10 kinds of sugar, & 11 kinds of salt in my cabinets
  4. I like to read 3+ books at the same time.

And after much harassment from my friends, I filled out my Facebook page. At first I just went and added some folks but then I linked in my Flicker and Twitter and You Tube accounts, so I’m all connected.

The best part was thinking about my “Info” page. Once I started thinking of things I liked or I felt were “me” it was hard to stop. I hope that’s a good thing. I ended up with:

Smooches & Schmoopies
Bailey, Talus, Astra, Badger, Grimalkin, Napoleon, Meg, Gertie, Agni
Ghosts of Ginger, Ghosts of Curry
Sophisticated Precious
Constant Contact
Causing no harm
Limited edition
More icing than cake
Porange kittens
Falling leaves
Embellishment & excess
Bubblegum pink
Dachshund Mohawks
Photographic memories
Ile Saint-Louis
Spooky Trees
Good framing
Shoe boxes
Jellybean toes
Professional in pink
Heart-shaped lockets
Bed & Breakfasts; breakfast in bed
Flirtatious winks
Through the lens
Satin & Swarovski
Fall over Spring
Shade over sun
Evil over stupidity
Rapier wit
Rainbow sprinkles
Pick-up perfumes
Children’s books
Dreamy illustrations
User-centric design
Honest enthusiasm
Waiting for the unexpected
Feather eyelashes
Hedge mazes
Saville Row suits
Red mustang convertibles
Cherry red nail polish
Creatures of the night
Secret thoughts
Never stop learning
Tortured souls
Warm laundry
Well made beds
Vintage linens
Victorian silver
Century old farmhouses
Grey mice
Whistles made from blades of grass
Miles to go before I sleep
Pocket watches
Underwood No. 5s
Wide satin ribbons
Orange lacquer
Vintage botanicals
Cold noses, warm hearts
Early Grey hot
S/S France
Street level
First Class
“Dear Reader, I married him”
Tea & gossip
Laudrée macarons
Chocolat noir
Kitchen sorcery
Glittering Avenues
Fountain pens
Kir Royales
Black hair & blue eyes
Chicken purrs
Harper blue
Warm blankets in a cold room
Old books
Women who run with the wolves
Emerald isles
Fairy tales, myths, legends & fables
Yellow eyes in the dark

What’s the 411 on you?