Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Style Wednesday - a copy of M, and support your local designer!

Hi All!

I cannot believe it is already Wednesday!  I also cannot believe it is the end of July!!!

It rained buckets yesterday and we did two things that always cause me stress:

1) we went down into our crawl space; and
2) we hauled a bunch of stuff up out of same-said crawl-space for an upcoming yard sale on Saturday.

We will talk more about the yard sale later in the week.  Trust me, I will need therapy by time it is all done!  I am thinking of flying Miss GetFresh down, as I think she is just the sort to whip a yard sale into shape!

But I digress....

Later this afternoon, chafing from the pouring rain, and being drawn by the clearing sky, I decided I would go for a little walkabout downtown while I waited to pick up my daughter.

For several weeks, I have wanted to recreate the following outfit that M posted on Pinterest:

neutrals maxi
You know I am not shy about stealing, so I decided to see if I could recreate this look myself..

It was slightly cool out earlier so I put on my J Crew featherweight cashmere cardigan from last year, so not EXACTLY the same...:

Actually, it was all old stuff: old BCBG t-shirt, Gap Body maxi skirt and Aldo T strap sandals.  Nothing was bought in 2013, and all survived the great 2013 summer closet purge!

That is one cheerful looking chick!!!

And speaking of clothes, we have a new young designer setting up shop here in the city.  In this era of big box stores and everyone looking like everyone else, this kind of thing is a breath of fresh air!

Her name is Celine Brideau, and in addition to creating her own line of fashion, she has been invited to participate in New York Fashion week.  You can read all about her here.

So of course I went right down, since there are two things our small city needs: 1) better restaurants and 2) independent retailers!

Main story image

She is just lovely and very talented.  I liked a dress so much I bought it (a sweet jersey number for only $70) band will model it in the coming weeks.  The theme of this summer's collection was Flamenco, but she told me that her fall line will be very luxe, very Russian royal family-ish.

I am getting more and more tired of the large chains, though I know that for most of us, it is the only way we can afford or access fashion.  I really applaud this young woman and her enthusiasm.  She is committed to creating and selling her own vision of fashion and I so want to support that.

I fear that I will eventually become Little Edie Beale, wrapping chambray around my head and leopard skin on everything else...

So yes, I will do all I can to support local designers.  Now I just need to learn how to make shoes... then I will be all set!!!

How about you - are there local clothing designers near where you live?  Do you purchase from them?

 Have a happy Wednesday and Stay Safe out there!!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Penny for your (Blog) spot!

Hi everyone,

Many thanks for all the good shoe stories yesterday - isn't it funny how a group of women can wax so passionately and poetically about their favourite shoes???

I will keep you posted on what does end up coming home with me (I always do!), but I think I will wait a little longer for both early sales and to see future offerings!

But today I want to do a trade.

Today, I want to share a couple of blogs/web sites that I truly love in the hopes that you will share your little secret places with the rest of us!!!

The thing about the interwebs is that it is so freaking huge, one could never find all of the delectable spots that exist out there!  The good thing is that you are all highly intelligent (and good-looking!) people, and I suspect that your favourite haunts on the web might be oh-so-interesting to the rest of us.  I hope you will be generous with us all!

I will start:

One of my favourite places on the web is A Bloomsbury Life, a blog written by the lovely and talented artist, Lisa Borgnes Giramonti, who lives in this amazing little house in California and is an inveterate traveller and raconteur.  Oh and she has a gorgeous son, a good looking Italian husband, some famous friends and a witty and cozy style about her.  Perfection.  Today's post, How to Live Glamourously, is cheeky and fun and very entertaining...

A Bloomsbury Life

Oh and have I mentioned that she has written for Martha Stewart Living and has her own decorating book being published in 2014?  Yup, she does.  If you have not found your way to this corner of the internet, pour a cup of tea and settle in for a treat.


Next, we'll for a little further up the coast in California and visit designer Tracy Porter, who has recently re-launched her company (after the devastating 2008 downturn).  Now known as Poetic Wanderlust, Tracy's blog waxes poetic on all aspects of her life and family and is always a source of inspiration and beauty.

Oh and did I mention you can buy her bedding line at Nordstroms and other fine retailers?  Well you can and they are absolutely lovely!  And then pop over to her old site and watch the old videos she used to make - so much fun!  Make sure you check out the Christmas and Thanksgiving decorating ones for sure!



Finally, let's go up the coast in Cali to visit Scott Meacham and the wonderful blog The Adventures of Tartanscot.

Oh Mr. Meacham lives in the most glamorous of spots, San Francisco, and has such a decorating eye.  When I become a famous and well-paid authoress, he definitely has to do one of my homes!

Scott has THE most exquisite taste in men's fashion - he is a dandy in the truest and best sense of the word and I love to see what amazing outfits he has himself in.

He is always kind in his blog and shares photos of his latest projects.

An example of a project:

And  pictures of the dapper Mr. Meacham himself:

A coincidence that I love a man in tartan?  I think not...

The one thing I realized is that all three of these bloggers share their wisdom in the kindest and generous way.

Okay - my three - how about sharing at least one with us all?  You will help me waste an entire evening, visiting all of your haunts!
Thanks in advance and as always, stay safe out there!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Right Shoes

Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.

Marilyn Monroe
Ah but here's the thing: I suspect that when Marilyn said this, she was probably talking about the shoes in this shot from Some Like it Hot:
or these from Seven Year Itch:
(BTW - before I go on, if you have NOT seen either of these movies, you are in for a treat - they are funny, funny, funny - and The Seven Year Itch is the original Home Alone movie and perfect for a hot summer night!)
As Jane Austen would say, it is a truth universally acknowledged that the only truly sexy shoe is the shoe that has a high heel.  Or so it would seem from all of the ads, the movies, and the teetering starlets and pop stars who mince around in 5" heels...
In the fashion world, the flat is the shoe of the gamine in skinny pants:
 or the French:
As you know, I have vowed to leave the high heels to the younger, less flat-footed than I, women.  But I would like to think that I have a little je ne sais quoi left in me, so as I look around at the fall shoe offerings, I search for the shoe that is both comfortable and sexy.  And by the way, if you want to read an absolutely top-knotch post about whether older women can look sexy, run, don't walk to Jennifer's most recent post in her always-wonderful blog A Well-Styled Life!
Oh - and did I mention I am on a budget and would prefer not to pay an arm and a leg?  But of course,  I can hold out for a sale!
So far, the only shoes that have caught my fancy are actually from J Crew:
Mirror metallic oxfordsLeather oxfordsCollection Kiki calf hair ballet flats
Can an oxford or ballet be sexy?  I think so...
But I search on.

So I visited Net-A-Porter, which seems to demonstrate to me that the current thinking is that flat shoes are FUN shoes:
Christian Louboutin Sakouette printed cotton-sateen loafers Charlotte Olympia Taurus suede slippersMarc by Marc Jacobs Shorty leather-appliqu├ęd suede slippers
And the Valentinos I see EVERYWHERE on the fashion blogs are still for sale (wish I had bought stock in those! or NOT, when they are suddenly as common as the cold):
Valentino Studded patent-leather flatsValentino Studded patent-leather flats
A lovely pair of Miu Mius caught my eye there, but they are not what I would describe as fall shoes:
Miu Miu Bow-embellished patent-leather loafers
Giorgio Armani has kind of a sexy little flat shoe, the chain-trimmed suede d'Orsay flats:
Giorgio Armani Chain-Trimmed Suede d'Orsay Flats
..but the price is way too rich for my blood.
 Other sites that I visit leave me equally uninspired!

This year, with the closing of my local go-to shoe shop, I am forced to either leave my city and shop elsewhere or order online, which is kind of sad, not to mention difficult with shoes. 

If you recall, I did pick up these little beaded loafers in the going-out-of business sale:

What I am really looking for is a simple, sexy flat that I can wear with dresses or skirts. 

So I turn to you all: what lovely, comfortable, sexy flat shoes would YOU recommend?

I believe that flat can be sexy, now I want to believe that sexy flat can be affordable!

How about you?  Anyone else on the flat shoe search or bandwagon?  Would love to know.  Anyone else starting to think about fall shoes?

Have a great Monday and stay safe out there!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Some Sunday Summer Thoughts

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

Henry James

We are now in what I think of as the "high" days of summer - it is not quite the end of July, it is still light out quite late into the evening, and at least one more month of lovely weather stretches out ahead of us. 

I know I have said this before, but the older I get, the more I love summer. 

Summer is easy.  Summer is warm.  Summer is fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, flowers on the table, boat rides, long walks. 

I have been fortunate this summer to have so much time to enjoy the gifts of summer.  At times, the summer days and nights seem to go on forever and I guess they do. 

If you close your eyes, the buzz in the air that you hear is the same buzz of insects you heard when you were five, fifteen or twenty-five years old.  The chlorine smell in the pool is the same chlorine smell as when you took that "learn to swim" class when you were five years old at the local pool.  If you close your eyes, that root beer popsicle is that same one that you got when you biked to the corner store for the first time all by yourself when your parents gave you that quarter "just because". 

I have this thing that I like to do: when I am in the midst of doing something wonderful, or am so fortunate as to see something that I think it really lovely, I stop and take a mental picture, savouring the joy and beauty around me.  I seem to do that a lot in the summer.  And now, because of you all, I often take my camera with me so that I can capture and share the image with you.

Summer evenings are a gift: warm air, the crickets singing, even the hum of the neighbour's lawn mower has a sweetness about it.  If you are lucky, you catch the glimpse of a firefly, the flash of a bat, a sky full of stars.  If you time it  right, you catch the sunset, which, like the flowers and the trees and acts of kindness, always makes me feel that there is a higher power. 

Recently, we've had a few lovely sunsets and have caught a few of them on film. I thought I would share a few photos and a hope that on the next sunny evening, you'll step outside and enjoy your own sunset - they are so lovely and July is fleeting...


Have a lovely summer Sunday and stay safe out there...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Random Saturday Musings

Hello All,

Lots of things to chat about this morning...

1) Anthony Weiner

I see our dear friend Fred has written a little piece on this unfortunate mayoral candidate.

I am not going to add to the whole thing.  All I personally think is that New Yorkers deserve better than this candidate or candidate Eliot Spitzer for that matter, whose camp had the audacity to accuse Weiner of being a "bad husband" (huh?).  I am unfamiliar with the other candidates, who have yet to have a sex scandal to my knowledge, but by all means, fill me in, folks...In the meantime, we have a potential candidate from Toronto for you that we would love to get rid of...

2) There is a reason I don't cut my hair...

I once had short hair, 21 years ago.  No - I will not share photos, since it is very clear that the shape of my face is not meant to sport short hair.  I will admit it was a bad haircut (shaved up the back - yikes!), but even so, I will never go shorter than my chin ever again.

I have to say that I was heartened to see pictures of Jennifer Aniston with a "do" that was less than flattering for the new movie she is filming.  If she can look so much less attractive, then it only supports my case for keeping hair below my shoulders so that I appear to have a neck...

 Giving her feet a rest: Jennifer slipped on flip flops and carried her high heels as she enjoyed a coffee break

3) and speaking of hair....

There is a cruel thing being done to women of a certain age all over North America, and especially here where I live. When I got to the grocery store later this morning, at least half of the women over 60 will be sporting this abomination...

What is this thing?  Giving older women the bad "Man Haircut".  As opposed to the "Bad Man" haircut..

You know the one:

I don't blame the women - they want short and simple.  I get that.  They aren't sure what to do with their grey hair.  I get that.  But the hairdressers who do this to them ought to have their licenses taken away and be forced to get the same haircut and wear it for the rest of their lives...

Thank God we are seeing more and more elegant older women who are serving as positive role models for how one's hair can look as we age:

Hmmm - they are all blondes....

Phew - thank you Diane von Furstenburg

And has anyone been able to prove that Jaclyn Smith has a portrait in her attic????

Oh, I know she's had work.  But not scary Joan Rivers' kind of work.  She is 68 people!  Those are good genes...

4) Dennis Farina Passed Away

Oh you know who he is - he played half the hard-boiled cops and half the hard-boiled criminals on TV and in the movies over the last couple of decades:

Most of us know him from Law and Order or the movie Get Shorty.  He was a terrific and prolific actor and I am sorry that he died so young (69).  Seems like we are losing a lot of our tough guy actors this year...

5) Pope Francis visits Brazil

Nope - I don't have a long story on this one, either politically or through a religious lens.  All I want to note is that the Pope queued up like everyone else for the Alitalia flight and toted his own carry-on luggage. Very different from his predecessors, I think...

Pope Francis sets off for Brazil

Do you think he went first class? :-)

6) And finally, a picture of how to really wear a hoodie...

I was wearing a hoodie the other day when taking a walk.  It started to rain so of course I put up the hood. I love a hood.  Maybe it's from my early love of Robin Hood?

No matter.  I stumbled upon the image below and felt I should share with you.  THIS is how to wear a hoodie:

They don't make 'em like Grace anymore....

Have a great day everyone and stay safe out there...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Miller Time Friday: We Need a Schedule, People!

Okay, not so much "we" as "me".

Before I went on vacation, I was realizing that i was not living up to my potential, working-from-home-wise. I had a bit of ennui about life - it was amazing how I could wile away a day and get some things accomplished, but not all that I wanted to get accomplished in any particular day.

The funny thing was that only a few short months ago I headed a massive organization with a huge budget.  I started each day in a meeting and then had back to back meetings until 6:00 p.m.  I would go home, eat with my family, and then work again for several hours.  I was BUSY.

But sometimes now I feel just as busy?

How come?

Well, I am doing stuff around the house I never got to before or didn't get to enough.

I am writing.

I am gardening.

I am watching the world around me.

I am puttering.

I am happy.

I am practising Dolce far niente, which is Italian for "the sweetness of doing nothing" - remember that term from Eat, Pray, Love?  I forgot about that till I I reread about the term in this wonderful post from the blog Be More with Less.  I stumbled upon this blog and find it very interesting and helpful!

But the thing is, I need to work again this fall, at least part-time.  50 is WAY too young to be retired and until I become a successful authoress like Henrietta Stackpole, I need some additional income :-).

So I decided a needed a plan.  A schedule.  Meetings.  Okay - the meetings are with myself, but they are very civilized:

Me: Wendy, it appears you have done a lovely job making risotta.  And good job with the writing this morning.

Me: Why thank you, not everyone loved it, like I thought they would.  Too many vegetables, I guess.

Me: And Good job reading that book on effective writing techniques.

Me: It was a bit of a tough go, but I really think I broke its back when we got into dangling participles...

Me: Well done!  Surely someone is drinking wine somewhere in the world...

and thus, the days can pass, like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of my life...

But not now.  Now I have a SCHEDULE.

I get up at 6:30 (or earlier).

I am limiting my internet time.

I have dedicated time for reading and writing.

I have dedicated time for exercising.

I have dedicated time for meditating (OM)

I have dedicated time for cleaning/running errands.

I think that this will help when I do go back to doing some kind of work.  Or I tell myself it will.

Maybe I had to completely eschew a schedule as part of my decompression from my former life?  Now I crave a schedule.  It is fun to be accomplishing things again in an orderly fashion.  Maybe I am a creature of habit, a product of all of those years when I had somewhere to be at a certain time.

But I still leave a little time for fun.  And watching the world go by.  And I am still certain it is happy hour somewhere...I have embraced Dolce far niente and I am not going back to the old ways.  There are too many flowers to smell, books to read, cups of coffee with friends to be drunk.

Anyone else back on a schedule?  Anyone else with good advice on these transitions?

And thinking of planning, summer is the perfect time to host an outdoor cocktail party.  To aid your planning of such an event, am sharing a link to Martha Stewart's Cocktail Party Planner.

It's all there folks, including patterns for making your own drink parasols!  Really, could we ask for anything more?  This has inspired me to host my own cocktail party.  I just need to pencil that in....

Have a great day and stay safe out there!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Some J Crew August Roll-out Thoughts and other Fall Clothing Wishes

I haven't actually covered a J Crew Roll-out lately, mostly because I wasn't particularly inspired over the last few months.

However, I did go check out the latest release and found a few things that I really did like and since I have not given J Crew any love for awhile (not that it really deserves it a lot of the time), I thought I would note some things I really did like.


J.Crew for High Line butterfly weed tee

This isn't a fall item at all - it is a linen tee.  But I am a gardener, I like the colours.....


Silk henley top

I love this warm jade colour and think it would look great with so many things in the fall wardrobe.  Is it just me or does her left arm look awkward?


Trench dress

This looks really promising, though I wonder where the waist actually sits on this dress?  That has been my trouble all year with J Crew - too huge armholes, too short hemline or a waist that starts at my armpits...But I do love the simplicity of this...


Kiki ballet flats

I already have the black on my "to buy" list.  However, this eggplant colour will likely also come to roost with me as well.  I love my red ones so much - so, so, comfortable.

But if I had wider feet or could wear heels this high, I would be all over these new Nora ballet flats and Etta pumps, which I think would be amazing with jeans...

Pre-Order Collection Etta printed cap toe pumps
Nora printed cap toe ballet flats

Nora printed cap toe ballet flats

I would love to add a little brocade to my fall wardrobe in the form of a skirt or shoes, but sadly, the only version thus far in my price range is way too short:


Collection salon mini in floral brocade

You JUST know that Gayle styled this.  

Oh and I actually quite liked these earrings:


Flower drop earrings

Mostly though, i felt like we have seen a lot of these things before.  As the J Crew prices increase and the quality does not, I am turning my attention to other brands, and am eyeing this Tory Burch Bailey Dress:

Bailey Dress tory burch

I am also eyeing this lovely little skirt from Brora, which, with some cashmere tights, would be very nice indeed...

What did you think of the fall rollout?  What things are you eyeing for the fall?  Am I the only one who realized that there is no longer a collection section?

Have a great day and stay safe out there!