Friday, August 7, 2009

Ready to wear?

There is no escaping, cooler weather will be here before we know it. The sun is vanishing earlier every day, making the days shorter. In the Midwest we can live in denial for at least a month longer – but the fashion industry is always ready.

On par Fall Fashion Week takes place every spring. Clothing, accessories and make up styles have been waiting months to appear in stores. It’s no shock mid July to see cool weather clothes magically replace the isles of swimwear and sundresses you need for that garden party or last summer beach vacation.

Fall/winter 2009-10 is shifting summer’s tropical colors to darker jewel tones. I for one am thrilled with the blue green, warm orange and purple fashions.

Makeup and clothing once again seem to be taking on an 80’s nuance. Dynasty inspired makeup application minus heavy foundation, black eyeliner, bright lips and winged eye shadow are some trends borrowed from the past we will be seeing. Fall’s nail polish color is magenta. The darker your skin the darker your polish should be.

Office wear is tailored with emphasis on strong shoulder designs. Poof sleeves and balloon skirts are here again – only wear one or the other. You don’t want to run the risk of looking like a crème puff. Fitted, military styled jackets were seen on the runways too. On the other end of the spectrum we have 1940's inspired attire.

Skinny jeans are still here – predominantly in dark washes. Breakfast Club babies – look out - distressed jeans are here again, actually a 90’s flashback. Hang onto scarves – they are surviving another season. Biker chic was also an influence on the runway. The cropped biker jacket is a must have topper. If you dare, experiment with plaids.

As for shoes – one of the biggest trends seen on the runway – was over the knee boots. Pretty Woman I am not – but I won’t knock your fashion choice. They look fantastic on the models and Rihanna. Stilettos, heels, platforms, and flats alike can be found studded, jeweled, animal printed, and exotic skinned. Pair new foot candy with textured and/or colored tights and look fashionable while battling cold winter temperatures.

Ornate cuff bracelets, elaborate belts and multi-strand statement necklaces are jewelry trends to be seen this fall/winter.
Chains are revisiting us adorned on purses and their straps. Purses will also be found in rich colors and textured skins.

There is a reason not everything makes the transition from runway to everyday. Make this season’s trend choices according to your tastes, events, lifestyle, and comfort. You can still be stylish and yourself.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Something Old Something New

Eventually fashion trends come back in style, right? We hang onto those outmoded oldies. I have a fitted Shania Twain inspired shiny snakeskin print sleeveless mock turtleneck hanging in the back of my closet. I even have a pair of black jeans splashed with a rather large red and yellow flower print. Oh – and I can’t forget the black leather pants! I have no idea why I am holding onto these items. Actually the leather pants I paid too much for. I am keeping those on principle

It makes more sense to keep jewelry. Jewelry takes up less space, and is easy to make fresh again with a “now” outfit. What about grandma’s hand me down costume jewelry, reminiscent of a time everyday women wore dresses, men wore suits, and ice cream was a nickel? What do we do with the Bakelite necklace with the broken clasp, or the rhinestone earrings without a match?

Cece Vintage Trouve takes old baubles and turns them into your newest treasure. Jewelry artist, Nicole Quigley, applies today’s go green mantra – reduce, reuse, recycle to her designs. Earrings are made into rings, typewriter keys into bracelets…Nicole’s creations are many. Custom orders are welcome – great for bridal shower gifts, wedding jewelry, or just for you.

Contact Nicole at for something worth keeping!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Great Outdoors? Help!

Forever striving to earn the perfect wife and mother award, I say this tongue-in-cheek, I came up with the idea to plan a family trip once a month this summer. One month my husband will choose an activity, the next month I will choose an activity. These activities I thought would be somewhere along the lines of a day hike, the beach or a zoo trip. It is a lovely thought – in theory I’m finding out.

My husband however – like he always does – takes things to a whole new level. His trip consists of being gone for days. My husband loves the outdoors – and so do I – from a certain distance with the right ensemble. I’m all for enjoying nature, hiking, crossing a stream, doing a little fishing, and watching wildlife I don’t normally see from the city limits I live in. However, at the end of the day I want to take a shower and crawl into a nice comfy bed. Is that so wrong?

The camping trips I have been on have always consisted of bugs, dirt, messy cooking, inconvenient cleaning centers, dirty toilets, and uncomfortable sleeping. What about the midnight call to use the bathroom – and then the 20 minute walk to get there - not to mention watching out for small bears and large cats? Ack! According to my husband this is all part of the “experience.” How can I not love this, even sporting the newest shade of
Lancome SPF 12 lipstick?

I am stubbornly acquiescing to this trip – mentally dragging my feet the whole way just to avoid “making this trip all about me.” I will not apologize for being a girl who doesn’t like to rough it that appreciates comfortable amenities.

I will lace up my leopard Timberland hiking boots, sit in the car for a 12 hour drive to Mountain Home, Arkansas located near Flippin (no joke a town named Flippin, Arkansas) – where the average July temperature is 90 degrees with 90% humidity. I will pray this is the trip that changes my negative perspective on camping. Meditations of a beautiful riverside resort/spa will get me through..Om…

Monday, July 6, 2009

Goodbye to you - goodbye to my shoes...

This morning I woke to see the sun streaming in through my closet window shining on my array of shoes. Let me rephrase that - the sun was beaming on my piles of shoes. I live in a 100 year old home and the closets have windows for natural light. Due to refurbishing, my closet door is missing - which I found I actually like. Walking by my closet and seeing pretty things peek out at me makes me happy. Hey - to each their own!

Awakening to this obvious sign - clean your shoes out - I immediately set to work. When was the last time I did this, maybe a year ago? My husband always jokes about how many pairs of shoes I own. I can boil it down to a few reasons - deprivation to only 2 pairs growing up or maybe it's my Filipina roots (I could be related to Imelda Marcos).

I rifled through sandals, boots, flats, pumps and sorted: out of style, worn out, this will come back, classic, etc. I sadly held my favorite Franco Sarto ankle boots for the last time - one of the decorative buckles was broken. These were the hardest to part with.

After all was said and done I discarded 9 pair of shoes. They will go to Love, Inc. Burlington, WI's community outreach center. I counted every pair of shoes in my closet - 55 pair. Not too bad. Compared to Carrie Bradshaw's 100 pairs and Imelda Marcos' 1060 pairs my shoe collection is conservative.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Surmising

Remember the lazy days of summer? To me the memory seems forever ago. I’m sad to say I don’t know if they exist anymore? Dog days is more like it!

I have yet to sit down and enjoy the sun with a drink in my hand and a book on my lap. The pace I’m going is dizzying. I am running from one activity to another. When I'm not taxi driver I am trying to cram in work and everyday home responsibilities.

Spur of the moment, which is all I seem to have these days, I decided to make a summer pact with myself.

I will:

1. spend one day at some form of water, beach or pool, not stressing.

2. try a new summer drink.

3. read something wicked fun.

4. have a grown up, girls only, getaway weekend.

5. of course splurge on a new summer outfit!

With a short list how can I not accomplish 90% of my goals? At least my toenails are painted. Pssstt….OPI Shootout at the OK Coral.

Take time out for yourself – enjoy a few idle summer days.

Goal #2 – Try a New Summer Drink

Pineapple Upside Down Martini

2/3 cup pineapple juice, chilled
1/3 cup vanilla vodka
1 oz. white cranberry juice
1 dash grenadine syrup
Pineapple wedges
Maraschino cherries

Pour juices, vodka and grenadine into a shaker full of ice. Shake, and pour into two fabulous martini glasses accessorized with flip flop wine charms. Garnish with a cherry and pineapple skewer. For an extra shot of sweetness rim your glass with cocktail sugar. Pomegranate or vanilla cocktail sugar goes well with this martini.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chocolate City USA

Sleepy little Burlington, WI has a few claims to fame. One of them is the Nestle chocolate factory. At least once a week you can smell the scent of chocolate in the air - much like brownies. After a battle with Hershey, Pennsylvania Burlington, WI won the right to be called Chocolate City, USA.

Every year to commemorate its title Burlington, WI hosts Chocolate Fest - during Memorial Day week. Each year there is a different theme. The festivities include chocolate tasting, fair, parade, art shows, chocolate geocache, beauty pageant, concerts, chocolate carving contests, boat races, etc.

This year I was ecstatic to be asked to judge the second year of Project Yum-Way - similar to Project Runway. Instead of fabric the contestants had to design fashions with Nestle candy wrappers. It was soo fun - and I hope they ask me next year. We have some talent here!

I also helped serve Grounded Coffee Shop coffee in the Chocolate Experience tent for Chocolate Indulgence Wine & Chocolate tasting. Of course we wore Creations by Willy aprons, "Can-can Couture" - my tribute to Paris. I also discovered Europa Chocovine chocolate wine and Cholive Chruffles. Delicious!

If you are ever in this area of the Midwest during our Festival please stop and smell the chocolate.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vive la France!

Springtime in Paris - it is all that they say. I went on a whirlwind 9 day vacation - my first visit to France.

I was lucky enough to stay in beautiful Versailles at the Trianon Palace. I commuted 30 minutes to Paris whenever I pleased, which I did often.

Paris the city of light - also of fashion, food, fun, history and romance. Ooh la, la!

Everyone, especially women of the "girly girl" variety, should go at least once in their lifetime. I loved hearing "bon jour mademoiselle", "bon soir." As Fancy Nancy would say everything sounds fancier in French.

Je retournerai - I will be back!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Summer shoe shopping share

Four is the new three…

Being a petite gal of 5’2 I am no stranger to heels. Forever waiting for my growth spurt to occur – I always need a little help to be average height. I love shoes, not only for their uplifting ways but because of the many choices they come in. Variety is the spice of life after all.

Last week I forayed several stores shoe racks. I was surprised to see that indeed the new 3 inch heel was 4 inches. I read about this phenomenon – but to actually see it – to actually try it on was another story. The highest heels I’ve worn, quite comfortably, are 3.5 inch heels. Most days I wear a 3 inch heel.

Scanning the shelves I chose a cute pair of t-strap heels in patent green – the heel was thin and I felt wobbly in them. Next I tried a similar pair in red with a more substantial heel – the difference was night and day. I had my stability back. I did a mirror check – very cute but there was so much more to see. Why limit myself?

2009 we go to battle...

One of the shoe trends seen on the spring runways was the gladiator style – strongly designed with Egyptian and Greek influences. I saw these in one store after another created with crocodile, snake, patent leather, pebbled leather, nylon, embellished with straps, studs, zippers, fringe, flowers, and jewels. The colors they came in were numerous - nude, black, bronze, yellow, green, orange, and fuchsia. Every style heel was plastered on these goddess or slave like shoes – whichever mood strikes you.

I grabbed a pair of basic black – but not so basic gladiator platform sandals by Nine West. I slipped them on. The hallelujah choir sounded and I felt transformed into Xena Warrior Princess. I towered over my sister – and could almost look my 5’9 daughter in the eye. With these shoes I could conquer the economic slump – especially for the price, under $100. Maybe this is what the designers had in mind? The shoe to make us stronger – ready to battle recession!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hostess in a hurry!

It’s 4:30 in the afternoon on a weekday. I am relieved the day is over, and look at the disarray my home is. Nothing is on the calendar. It will be nice to have a low key dinner and play some games with the children afterwards. The cleaning can wait.

My husband’s James Bond ring tone sounds from my cell phone in my purse. I frantically dig and find it buried at the very bottom. He quickly lets me know he is bringing a co-worker home. Ack! My dreams of a relaxing night have flown out the window in a 3 minute conversation.

Okay – breathe – "Om." Pick up, vacuum, clean the downstairs bathroom, and make a quick appetizer. With only 2 hours to spare I put on my mental Wonder Woman costume and get to work.

An hour and a half later the only thing left to tackle is my no fail appetizer.

Bree’s Bruschetta

Put on your apron & preheat oven to 350.

1 loaf French bread sliced 1 inch thick
1 10 oz jar Classico Traditional Basil Pesto
4 Roma or 2 regular tomatoes diced
1 8oz Mozzarella cheese grated

Place sliced bread on a cookie sheet. Spread 1 tablespoon pesto on each slice. Sprinkle with grated mozzarella and top with diced tomatoes. Place in oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly golden on the edges. Wallah!

For all you Desperate Housewives fans the Bree I’m referring to in my recipe's name is Bree Van de Kamp of Wisteria Lane. Only looking like it has been made by Bree – someone as domestically challenged in the kitchen as Susan Mayer can make this. Serve with a nice red wine, of course adorning your glasses with wine charms and you are ready – no super powers needed!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Getting the Max

Now that I am older...let me rephrase that – now that I am savvy I want more. Yes – I want more for my money, more for my time, more for my efforts. This applies to my wardrobe these days as well. The economy, for one, is cramping my style. Forever a clothes horse I am ashamed to say I have tossed 3 month trends out the door with only a nanosecond of thought. I justify this by reminding myself most of them were sale items.

Spring is peeking around the corner and my closet is calling for new additions. I am forced to think what key pieces I will narrow my shopping down to. Fifteen years ago I wouldn’t have given a second thought to paying big bucks for a teeny bikini or micro mini. For that matter, I wouldn’t have given a thought to limiting my shopping. Today give me the maxi – the maxi dress that is.

It’s perfect. The maxi dress can be dressed down with sandals for day. For evening pair a maxi dress with strappy heels and key jewelry pieces for effortless elegance. Maximum coverage – I love those two words. No dieting is involved, pesky veins can be hidden, and the maxi comes in so many styles. You actually will pay for the amount of fabric you get – not the amount of fabric that isn’t there. Anyone can wear a maxi dress. The key is finding a style that suits your frame. Get the most for your summer and try a maxi dress on for size.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Are you a nice girl?

It can be a problem. There are times in my life I have daydreamed about being the girl who can’t hold her tongue. I wish this on days a friend was catty, a boss was snippy or my mother in law spouted one too many opinions.

Tuesday I had friends of mine over for a luncheon (so Fancy Nancy of me). We were expounding on our children – good and not so good things. lol One of my friends pulled a piece of paper from her purse and handed it to me:
I had to laugh. It was the perfect sentiment – but so wrong. It was a page from a daily boxed calendar. What a fun gift for the girlfriends. I wanted one!! She leaned over and whispered “I keep it in my closet so the kids can’t read them.”

It may not be a politically correct calendar but it is a riot. There are things you may only imagine saying or things to file away for that Scarlett O’Hara moment. Display it where you wish – or where you can. Forget Emily Post, The Daily Bitch may become one of your best learning tools yet!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The only thing hotter than you in the kitchen is the oven!!

Over the past few days I have engaged in a Facebook conversation revolving around how 1950's a woman is if she is cooking dinner for her tired, hungry husband, on his way home from work, in her high heels with an apron on.

Well - why the heck not? First of all - if you look great you will be motivated to cook meals just for the fun of it. Second of all - cooking with a fabulous apron and the perfect shoes make the task feel effortless. Lastly - but definitely not the least - your husband will think it is the best dinner he's ever eaten - as you sashay past in your apron and heels looking over your shoulder with a wink.

So - recreate the glamour of the 1950's without the stereotypical machismo, cigarettes, and "How to be a Good Housewife" chapter in the home economics textbook (yes it did exist!). Cook up your own role - in and out of the kitchen;)

Order this apron: Biker Betties. Have fun cooking!!

Thank you Bridget:)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Where, oh where is the sunshine???

If you live in the Midwest - a land of seemingly endless winter you know what I am talking about. The first sprinkle of snow after Thanksgiving promises the white Christmas we so anticipate. However, after 4 months of gray skies - the winter wonderland loses it's luster.

This Midwest girl's answer to staving off the winter blues is buying herself some happiness in a bottle. No - I'm not talking about 10 Cane Rum. I'm talking about adding a little bit of sunshine to my bountiful collection of nail polish.

The color of choice is OPI Conga-Line Coral from OPI's Spring 2009 South Beach line. According to In-Style Magazine coral is one of the hot colors to watch for this summer.

When I look down at the splash of color on my nails - it gets me through the day knowing summer is coming, and so is the sun, sun, sun!!