Le Sigh – Charlotte Olympia Garden Trellis Heels Spring 2012

I haven’t had the opportunity to see this collection in person, but I don’t think it matters.  One way or another, I’m going to have to get me a pair of the trellis platforms from Charlotte Olympia’s Spring 2011 collection.

I’ve seen several versions of them, including the lemony sandals with white…

The gold…

and, my personal favorite and hopefully soon acquisition… the palm print with white….

What will I wear with them??? I have no idea!  But even if I have to just sit and stare at them or maybe wearing them with my nightgown, I don’t care.  I love them and need them!
Images via The Coveted and Charlotte Olympia.

Professional in Pink – The Travel Edition

Travel for work reasons may not be in your regular job description (as it is in mine) but it’s something you may have to deal with.  I’ve mentioned before (in other “Professional” posts) that it’s important to find a balance between your style and being appropriate.  But that doesn’t mean you have to completely lose your identity.   Here are just a few words of advice from me to you about keeping your comfort and sanity when traveling for work.

1. Pack Light

This will be a laugh for anyone who knows and has traveled with me.  I can be a heavy packer.  I like to have options and outfits and shoes for every combination.  But that is only when I’m traveling for fun.  When it comes to work, I’m want to be dealing with as little as possible because usually I am with others and usually men.  So being able to keep mobile and keep up is important.

I can pack for overnight in a small duffel bag and for a week in a pilot case. And with all the hassles between security, luggage costs, limited space on the plane and the fact that everyone is trying to avoid the baggage claim area, it helps to have only a few bags.

This past trip to Atlanta I avoided a coat which made it way easier getting in and out of the security line, the plane and the group car.  I had just the small bag above so when the plane stopped letting pilot cases on, I was able to sail through.  If you do bring a pilot case, make it hard-sided, as small and light as possible and with 360-degree wheels.  I have a small case I never use because it actually weighs more than another pilot case I have that is twice the size.  And hard-sided is key.  Between baggage handlers and your suitcase sitting out in the rain, a cloth-sided case just won’t do.  And don’t forget the TSA approved lock!  I prefer combination ones so I don’t have to worry about a key.

But how do you pack so lightly? Well, take a hard look at every single thing you are bringing – I didn’t bring a curling iron or a bottle of shampoo. I even just brought my daily vitamin in a small piece of paper rather than bring the bottle. 

For clothes I did have another outfit but I only brought the one pair of shoes that I was wearing.  I wore a jacket and had new scarves and gloves to mix it up and keep warm.  I try to be somewhat neutrally professional with smaller personal style accents.

2. Skip the computer.

If you can avoid bringing your laptop, do so.  They’re fragile and expensive and, while you may need them for a week, if you are just going overnight you can probably avoid it, especially if your phone or iPad can access the web, your work email and more.  Laptops are so much heavier that this saved me tons of effort.

3. Collapsible water bottle

Cheaper and easier and lighter – enough said.

4. Bigger purse

I use an open tote style purse that can easily get into when it’s under the seat in front of you and that is big enough to carry your water, iPad (and or book), headphones, a wrap and whatever else you end up shoving in there as you move from gate to plane and back again.

5. Flexible shoes

I don’t mean folding flats (although I do throw a pair in my bag).  Instead I mean shoes that can take you from morning to night, airport to client dinner, in rain or not and won’t leave you a cripple by the end of the night. 

The shoe I pick 9 times out of 10?  My Aerosole buckle heel shoes.  I’ve worn these walking all over New York during Fashion Week and I just wore them last week.   I’ve had these shoes at least 12 years and they are still looking good.  I am not sure what I’m going to do if they ever have a major problem my cobbler can’t fix.  These heels look dressy enough for suits but fine with heels and have stood up to rainstorms and airport running.  They are around 3″ high so comfortable for walking.

If you have a pair that meets all of these criteria… buy two pairs!  I have this same heel in a claret color.  I wish I had second pair of the black.

6. Sleep on the plane

I don’t care what anyone else is doing.  If you can, sleep on the plane.  It can be awkward if you are sitting next to a co-worker to do this.  If you can, get in separate rows, ideally behind them.  I prefer the aisle too.

7. Entertain yourself

I always prefer to read on the plane and with book and game apps on phone and tablets, it’s easy to do so even while you seem to be working.  I find travel distracting and disconcerting enough, trying to work on a plane is next to impossible for me.  One thing to note: on the last flight I was on they made you turn off your phones completely, not just into airplane mode. I was very glad I had brought an actual book with me. My iPad battery was low and I wouldn’t have had music or movies to play either.

8. A good soak

Not all hotels have fluffy robes or great ambiance but almost all of them have a tub.  And a hot bath with a bath bomb is a great way to finally relax and unwind after a stressful trip.  Pack one or grab one in the hotel gift shop if you have that option.  It may even help you sleep when you are in the strange bed without your favorite spouse/pillows/pets.

Last but not least, no matter how annoying everyone is, remember to smile and say thank you.  I get a way easier time when I give people a smile. 

Taking a Concept Too Far

It’s the end of January, so you know that means it’s obviously time to look at lovely, airy, delicate Spring shoes. This year there are a few creations that have caught my eye but one in particular I want to discuss… the Prada Spring 2012 RTW 1950s car inspired sandals. 

Now, we know Miuccia loves a good “themed” heel (and so do I says the girl with the Miu Miu red teacup heels as her icon), but while some of the shoes in the past – dragonflies, candlesticks, flowers – have worked well transformed into shoes, I just don’t think these are working for me. 

I do actually love the design of the heels.  I love the sweet toe strap and embellishment, the colors shown and the flame strap.  What takes it just that much too far is the addition of the Grease-esque tail lights on the heel.  I think its that the whimsy of small inspirations or details of larger icons work but try to pull down something big, like a car, and it looks ridiculous.

So, while I won’t be buying the Prada, the family will still get my money because I’m totally smitten with the looks from Miu Miu’s Resort collection.  Prada has the era’s automotive icons but Miu Miu took the fashion… and turned it upside down.  The hemlines are shorter but the patterns are there.  The cardigans, pearls and frame bags echo the era in a fresh way.

But my eyes are all on the bow-bedecked gingham slingbacks.  I’m loving them so much I’m trying for two colors.  The fuchsia…

and the green…

The blue is lovely too and I saw an orange pair on the runway that I loved.  Hmmm.. would 4 pairs be too many???

I have my eyes on a scenic landscape patterned dress I need to get to pair with these.  Then I’ll add a contrasting color cardigan and a wicker vintage purse.  Time for these pre-orders to come in and Spring to hurry up!

Instant Access – 12/4 – 1/22

I can’t believe that it has been more than a month since I’ve done an Instant Access recap.  But given all the craziness of the last few weeks, I feel like (except for the last two weeks of the year), I’ve been running from one thing to another.   From my grandmother passing away and having to travel for that, to ending at one job, starting another, traveling for work and then for fun, it’s been a whirlwind!

There were, of course, plenty of polish changes including…

Essie’s Luxeffects Set In Stones

China Glaze’s Mistletoe Kisses

China Glaze’s Party Hearty over Essie’s Marshmallow

Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects in Peppermint Twist

OPI’s Russian Navy (suede)

OPI’s Warm & Fozzie

A half-moon manicure with Zoya’s Pasha over OPI’s Designer… De Better!

And my favorite red, China Glaze’s Phat Santa.

Christmas was fun and quiet. The dogs were excited for their gifts.

And, among other things, I got the Miu Miu glasses I’d been pining for.

Picked up more Salon Effects – Love Letter, Brattlesnake and Sweet Tart-an

I’m ready for the time to change and more sun, so I’m already putting out my Valentine’s Day centerpiece.

And did I mention we brought home Briar the goat.  You have to check out all the pictures!

My new job and been going well.  Busy but good. I’ve used my little Lunch-Crock nearly every day.  This is the best thing if you hate planning for lunch.  I just plug it in and lunch is all warm and ready when I am.

I have an actual office with a door, so I’m very excited. Walls!  I’ve brought in some pictures and met some people.  I have a Twin Star at work who loves a lot of the same things and happens to have the funniest blog ever!  You have to go read some of her hilarious day to day life (she actually talked about me on there too.  Ha!)

I hope your weeks have been going well too!  It’s a new year and there’s lots to do.

Big Banding and Swinging the Night Away

I just got back from yet another trip. This one was pure fun.  My favorite hotel, the Grove Park Inn, was having it’s Annual Big Band Weekend.  We had never gone but we got a great rate and we love Asheville and it was a chance to dress up, so heck yeah.

Being January, it was great to snuggle in front of the Great Hall fireplace for a while.

This even was so much fun.  It’s a formal event and the Saturday night dance has the Glenn Miller orchestra playing.  So amazing music in a beautiful setting. It is tied in with the USO which really added to the feeling of stepping back in time a bit.

And, there were some serious outfits and some seriously good dancers.  Of course, the age range skewed mostly older but these people know what they are doing on a dance floor.  (Fun Fact: I grew up traveling on cruise ships and have done a fair amount of dancing to Big Band over my life).

The fashion was formal but was interpreted all along the Big Band/Swing timeline.  I saw some great 40s fashion, beautiful ball gowns and some slinky backless numbers.  I went a bit more 1920s inspired in a beaded Vivinne Tam dress, while the husband wore his tux, red plaid bow tie and vintage owl cufflinks that I found for him.

I wore my Oh, Deer! Jamocha art deco-y t-straps along with black fishnets.

Here are some better shots of the shoes and dress details.

I definetly want to go back next year, but I think we need to take a few dance lessons first.  I did not get to dance nearly as much as I would have liked to.  I also think I want to go for more of a long swirly dress next time.  They played a number of waltzes and I think the music and a long 30s “Thin Man” era dress would be great.

And while our trip was brief, we did manage to eat at two of our favorite places in Asheville.  For lunch on Saturday we ate at Chai Pani, which is this casual India street food (or chaat) restaurant.  It is a savory paradise.  We got samosas, an uttapam with masala potatoes, okra fries and bhel puri (a snack mix with puffed rice, cilantro, onions, tamarind and more).

Then for dinner we went to Plant, our new favorite restaurant in the world.  I’m totally serious.  It’s amazing and so good we were back there 15 hours later for brunch. Between the pumpkin seed crusted seitan, the amazing soup (always get the soup), the best cinnamon roll I’ve ever had and a cannoli, I’m stuffed. 

Oh.  In addition to getting a huge scramble and home fries (SL got the biscuits with homemade sausage and gravy) I got a big bowl of cheese grits. And did I mention that all of this is vegan.  Yeah.  It’s amazing.

So now it’s time to unpack and meals we have to make ourselves.

Betsey is the Best

I don’t often have insomnia but last night I was wide awasy at 2am and could not fall back to sleep.  Bad things happen when I’m feeling stressed and wide away with an iPhone and a ton of easily available shopping apps. 

So really, I blame internet connectivity and pre-dawn craziness for this bout of shopping but hey, you always need cute tights, right? 

Lately I’ve found some gorgeous Cynthia Rowley tights (mostly on Gilt) but I love the cheeky patterns of the Betsey Johnson pairs on HauteLook today.  So much so that I got five pairs.

Love the lacey hearts of the Dear Diary Net Tights…

Could not pass up the giant polka-dots of Do The Polka…

I have a pair similar to these but sweet hearts as dots? Yes please – Love At First Tights…

The creme and pink version of the Bowtime Backseam Tights are a bit understated but sexy, I think.

And these “mismatched” Naughty and Nice Textured Tights may be my absolute favorites.  How fun are these???

Most of these tights come in several color options as well, but they won’t last fast so, go and grab some!!!

Imitation = Flattery?

It’s been a while since I’ve done an Inspiration = Flattery post.  Sadly for me, I just haven’t had the time to browse so I’m probably woefully out of touch with the latest designs, designer or mass.

But when I was excitedly checking out the new Rachel Antonoff x Bass collection, I stopped dead at the multi-color Maebird clear oxfords.  And not just because of their colorful style.

Nope, it was because they totally looked like the Ground Zero x Alex & Rose clear brogues I almost bought last year.

The colors on the RAxB ones are a bit toned down and simplified but the inspiration is there, I think.  I love the sweetly quirky pieces in the Bass/Antonoff collection but now they’re a bit sullied for me.

What do you think?

Breaking Boundries

As you may know from my Instagrams and Tweets, I’ve just started a new job.  Among all the moving office stuff and learning who everyone is and what they do, I’m also contending with a big shift in workplace style.

It’s funny how different each new company is.  They each have a unique personality, character and (not withstanding a few outliers) style.

I’ve worked at many different extremes along the “professional dress” scale.  At Disney, we had a full Look Book of rules and regulations that applied to office staff as well as those “On Stage”. While our creative team had a dispensation and could dress however, the rest of the department was required to at least adhere to the spirit of the law, if not the letter.  Some groups were really picky and some less so, but over all, it was pretty toned down and conservative. On a personal note, I didn’t break any rules (I actually kept a copy with me all then time) but I did raise some eyebrows at times.

My now former company was towards the other end.  We did dress up for presentations but on the day to day it was pretty casual.  Let’s say that flip-flops, shorts and tees were common year round.  I can’t say that I fell fully into this camp either.  I tended to be a bit dressier but I also felt comfortable being a bit experimental too.  One day would be a conservative look but another would be a sequin skeleton dress with laced-up boots, a vintage band jacket or a big pink gingham poofy skirt. 

I can’t peg myself as casual or conservative… I’m…. hmmm… whimsical, I guess would capture it best.

But my new place is leaning more towards the conservative side.  We don’t have to wear hose as a mandatory, like at Disney but I’m not sure how a crazy glitter sneakers are going to go down.  So I’m starting out with some of my favorite interesting-yet-fun outfits.  A grey belted shirt dress with bright green accents at the collar and cuffs, a lace print shift and a bow sweater top and great patterned tights.

I was really keen to see how others have showcased their style as well.  One lady was wearing the most striking mangenta-y purple nail polish.  Another has great style with perfect tailoring and some of the guys dress quite snazzy with a real eye for pattern, color and detail.  The spirit seems to be all about playing with the parameters not worrying about any boundries.

So I’m doing the same.  Great polish. Great accessories. Great shoes, of course. 

Going forward I’ll probably be weeding out some pieces that I liked and hung on to, despite the fact that I only wore them once or twice. I know I’ll be making a few purchases that support those I already have.  I’ve found a great red pencil skirt.  I want cardigan in a good black and white pattern.  And I really have been on the perfect pointed black pump to wear with skirts and jeans and at a height to wear all day.  Jimm Choo has two options but I’m still considering options.
I have a new office to decorate and a new me to decorate too.  I better start shopping my closet with a new eye!

Zoya Polish Promo

It’s all nails and shoes around here, isn’t it!  I know I’ve been skewing a bit polish/nails heavy around here but I wanted to make sure you saw this offer.  Zoya is giving 2 free polishes for just the cost of shipping.  Shipping is $6.95, so I think it’s a pretty good deal!

Details are:

So from now through 1/9/2012 11:59 PM ET we are going to let you try any* 2 bottles of Zoya Nail Polish for FREE on ZOYA.COM. All you pay is the standard shipping charges.
As a bonus, you can purchase an additional $25 or more of Zoya or Qtica products and get FREE Shipping Too!..Bonus!
Use Code: ZOYA2012
*Promotion Excludes True & Fleck Effect Collection Colors

The two I got are Cynthia (part of the Smoke Collection) –
A smoky, blackened peacock teal with soft warm undertones. A very uncommon shade of blue for a subtle but funky look.  

And Barbie – Soft, warm medium baby pink with very subtle hot pink shimmer. An adorable girly shade to accent any outfit.       

I can’t wait to try out these polishes!  What ones will you buy?
Disclaimer: Nail swatch images not my own.

Fancying Flowers

It’s barely winter here. We’re finally getting some really cold weather in North Carolina, but I already have a fancy for these flowery heels from Nine West.

I love that the fabric is so lush and fanciful but that they are paired with a stronger shape and platform.  These would be fun with dark tights and a bright dress to make February less grey but then be even more perfect when it is finally Spring.