Archive for the 'Getting To Know You' Category

Oh No, I Lost My Mojo!

I thought I’d lost, or at least seriously misplaced, my Sample Sale Mojo. Now anyone who knew me back in the days when I was practicing law, knew that I knew how to find out about the most selective sample sales.  Not only did I find out about them, I knew exactly how early to arrive for a choice spot on line to be one of first in the door!  I knew when new merchandise was going to be put out, I mean RackedNY had nothing on me.  Ask my friend Adrienne, she still remembers the Jimmy Choo sale we went to years ago where we pretended to be magazine editors and shopped to our hearts’ contents the day before the sale opened to the masses.

Well, one of my alltime favorite designers started doing sample sales last year.  I’ve been out of town for the past two sales, but when I got the notice about their Summer sale I noted it in my calendar. I got up at 6:53 on the appointed morning (I am NOT a morning person, but my husband can attest to the fact that I will get up at the crack of dawn and function normally for a sample sale).  No, I did not leave my house then.  Mistake No. 1.  I got dressed, checked my email, ate a little something and then I left at 7:30 to be online by 8 am.  Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the sale and the line was literally, I KID YOU NOT, a full city East-West block and half of a city North-South block.  Shocked does not fully capture my emotional state.  I was in disbelief.  Really?  For a sample sale? The people at the front of the line (let’s say the first 100) must have arrived around 4:30 am.  As I walked towards the end of the line and passed the sea of people who would be waiting in front of me I couldn’t get over how young they all looked.

I arrived at the end of the line – yes, my spot was around the corner in the middle of the North-South block.  I stood there for 5 minutes and then walked right past the horde I’d just passed and got myself back on the subway to go home.  As I walked back by these youngsters anxiously waiting to spend their hard earned dollars on half-priced merchandise, it dawned on me that I am truly Une Femme d’Un Certain Age. My husband was shocked that I was back so quickly; he hadn’t even left to go to the office yet.

I sat down at the computer to start my day and then I got a text from Adrienne (aforementioned Jimmy Choo sale partner-in-crime).  She works near where the sale was being held.  I’d sent her a text telling her that I was leaving because the line was too long. Her text said that the line wasn’t long at all.  Seemed odd to me, but she too is [ahem, was] a Sample Sale Maven.  So, an hour and a half later, I got back on the train to get on line yet again.  Mistake No. 2. I don’t know what line Adrienne saw, but the people who had been directly in front of me when I stood in line were still in line and still had at least a 2 hour wait.   I just kept on walking this time.

Now, I know this seems a little crazy . . . But, you have to understand I LOVE this designer and while I’ve been fortunate enough to own a few of his pieces at full price, the idea of things being a fraction of that cost was totally alluring to me. Not enough to stand in a line for hours in the rain mind you.  So, I did what any self respecting former Sample Sale Maven would do in a situation like this.  I waited until the sale was no longer front and center on all the blogs and daily magazines.  I waited until folks had moved on to the next best thing.  And then, I went. No line, no craziness on the selling floor, friendly shoppers in the dressing room and yes, GREAT prices. Was it worth it?  Definitely.  Will I venture out again for another sale?  Not likely.  Once was enough. But, I got my mojo back.

Happy Father’s Day!

effie's paper, Kalyn Johnson Chandler, Kalyn Johnson, Father's Day, stationery, stationary, STYLE by Kalyn Johnson, Possess Your STYLE


Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads, uncles, grandfathers, men who step-in to pinch hit and single moms!  Oh, and if you’ve ever wondered why I am totally fixated on the color purple, read my little ode above to my darling Father.


Far Away From Home . . .

I don’t know about you, but I had no desire to move back to my hometown once I was finished with college and then graduate school and then law school.  I grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; a tony suburb of Detroit, a lovely place to grow up, but not where I wanted to live as an adult.  But generally, when people ask me where I’m from, I say Detroit.  I say Detroit for lots of reasons, but mainly because that’s where my family is from and continues to reside.  By my family, I mean my parents (both were just about born and raised in Detroit), my grandparents and all of my extended family (I have a pretty big extended family – my grandmother, effie of effie’s paper, had 8 siblings and a few of them also had 9 kids … their kids have kids and so on and so on).  Most of my family, with the exception of my immediate family, my mom’s sister, my grandfather and a few others of us all live in Detroit.  So you see, Detroit is home.  Except it isn’t.  We, meaning my immediate family, don’t go to Detroit for Thanksgiving and Christmas anymore because we don’t have a family homestead to bunk in.  Which means that I only get to see my extended family when I go back to Detroit for a wedding or a funeral.  But, with the advent of email, text messaging and FaceBook I have been able to keep up with my extended family more now than I ever have.  I know who’s kids are doing what, where people have traveled to and what’s going on in their daily lives.

I’ve been to Detroit twice in the past year.  The first time was last June for my little cousin Jessica’s wedding; that’s her above on her BIG day in her second outfit of the wedding to end all weddings.  No matter how tall and statuesque (I had on 5″ heels, she was in flip-flops at that point), she’ll always be my little cousin.  The second time was last week for her funeral.  No she wasn’t ill. She died unexpectedly from a blood clot that seems to have resulted from foot surgery. I’m still reeling from her passing, we all are.  She was 8 years younger than me and as a kid she sometimes got on my nerves, but she was cute and funny and well, she was my cousin.  You just endure cousins, right?  They’re family and they know you and know what you were like way back when. Then she went to college and grew up a bit and pledged my sorority; she was so excited that we had another bond to share. Honestly, I didn’t think about it the way she did at the time, but over the past four or five years because of text messaging and FaceBook and my wedding and her wedding, we had an opportunity to form an adult relationship . . . Don’t get me wrong, she was still my little cousin (yes, she towered over me and could surely beat me down had she tried) and she still got on my nerves from time-to-time, but she was my cousin and she had become my friend.  Being in Detroit for her wedding surrounded by family and then being in Detroit again last week for her funeral surrounded by family, made me long for home in a way I haven’t since I moved out of Michigan in 1991.

If you live near your relatives, spend time with them when you can. If you don’t, stay in touch with them.  I am so thankful that my annoying little cousin wormed her adult-self into my world and my heart.  I will, like her husband and her mother and her siblings and her aunts and uncles and her friends and the other cousins she left behind, miss her dearly.  But, I am so glad that although I am far away from home we were able to be close.

My Favorite Things 2011

Is it just me or is time flying? When I was little, it seemed like it took forever for December to get here and now its hard to believe that December 2010 was twelve months ago.  Where did the time go?  Well, hopefully your time in 2011 was spent well and with loved ones as much as possible.  As we bid adieu to another year, here’s a peak at some of my recurring obsessions in 2011.

  1. My MRS lowball glass.  It’s the gold leaf, the lips and of course a good splash of bourbon that makes this one of my handsdown favorites.  Plus, they make great wedding gifts!
  2. PINTERST.  I’m a little obsessed with Pinterest.  Need a 15 minute sanity break? Pinterest.  Talking on the phone and multi-tasking? Pinterest. Looking for great images? Pinterest. Creating a wish list? Pinterst. Need I go on.
  3. Yves Saint Laurent. There’s just something about YSL’s Tribute Pumps that I can’t get enough of.  No, they’re not for every day, but they are just the right combo of sexy+sophisticated when you need ‘em.
  4. Fonts!  I’ve always been a sucker for cool fonts . . . and now effie’s paper gives me license to pursue fonts to my heart’s content.
  5. A Game of Thrones.  I LOVED the first 2 books and the HBO series and spent much of 2011 reading them, watching them and talking about them.  Seriously, if you haven’t read them and you’re of age, give George R.R. Martin’s masterpiece a go.
  6. Warby Parker. I’m a bit smitten with my glasses from Warby Parker. I’ve got the Beckett’s in black matte.  Even on my worst day, they make me look hipL&cool.
  7. Colorful Interiors.  I think this past-time grew out of #2 above.  There are some really beautiful homes out there.  I love my home, but I also love being a voyer into the homes of others and their decor choices.
  8. Hipstamatic!!! Learned about this gem from my husband, the app guru.  If you have an iPhone (see #9 below) you gotta check this out.  It makes digital photography look like analog pictures from back in the day – lenses, film stock and photo frames. My camera app of choice. It’s free (ok, like $1.99) & Droid users, I think they’ve created an app for you too.
  9. My iPhone.  Love the iPhone.  Not so in love with Siri and the email search function (miss my Blackberry’s capabilities here dearly), but I do feel a part of the apple generation now that I have the coveted iPhone. Not free, but worth every penny so far.
  10. The YSL Easy Bag.  Yes, YSL is on here 2x.  What can I say, they know what they’re doing over there in France.  The Easy Bag is hands-down, my all-time favorite purse.  It’s great for travel, lady who lunch lunches and all the things in between.
And yes, I’m still addicted to my iPad, I think that one just goes without saying!  So, these are the things that have made a difference for me in 2011 – some needed (uh, Warby Parker) and some just for fun (Hipstamatic).  What about you – what are some of the things you started using or acquired in 2011 that now you can’t live without? Honestly, whether you can live with or without things is neither here nor there … I’m excited for 2012 and all that it holds in-store!  I wish you good health, prosperity and much joy in 2012.
Stylishly yours,


New Year’s Resolutions?

If you’re like most of us, you’re spending the last few days of the year you’re thinking back on all you’ve accomplished (yeah!!!) and all you did not (no one’s perfect, right?) in 2011.  As I head into the new year, I’ve decided to approach my New Year’s resolutions a little differently for 2012.  Instead of listing out a bunch of things I’d really like to do or that I’d really like to do better, I’m going to focus on my umbrella resolution. If I’m successful with my umbrella resolution, it will have a trickle down effect and make an impact all of the other things I like to be able to do in 2012.  My resolution for 2012 is to commit to being more ORGANIZED.  My watchword for 2012 is ORGANIZATION.  I resolve to be more ORGANIZED.  If I am able to become more ORGANIZED:  

  • I will be on time for appointments (because I won’t be surrying around trying to finish something up before I head out the door), 
  • I will make it to the gym 3x a week (because I won’t be behind and won’t feel guilty about choosing exercise over work), 
  • I will consume a healthier diet (because I will make it to the grocery store with a list), etc.  

Do you see where I’m going here?  Anyway, what about you – what is your New Year’s resolution?


A Little Monogram In Your Life . . .


I’m a sucker for just about anything with my name or initials on it.  I think it stems from growing up in an era where everyone had simple names like Lisa, Jane and Amy and I had a name no one could pronounce much less spell properly.  My name was NEVER EVER on a key chain or license plate at places like SeaWorld and Disneyland.  I was lucky to find the letter “K”.  I think as a means of compensation, my mom got whatever she could monogrammed for me.  I had book bags, jackets, sweaters and overnight bags with my name emblazoned on them.  While as an adult I’m happy to have a such a unique name, I’m still in love with the idea of monogramming whatever I can get my hands on.  So, while I haven’t pulled the trigger on one of Louis Vuitton’s Mon Monogram specialities, I do go to their website from time-to-time and play around with the colors, stripe options and various initial combinations trying to figure out which I would get if I were going to buy a new Speedy bag or get a Neverfull.  What color combo would you go for?  I’m partial to purple and orange ….  

So Much To Do, So Little Time

Do your weekends fly by?  They say that time flies when you’re having fun. No truer words could be said to describe my weekend – it went by in a blur . . . and before I knew it, I looked up and Monday was knocking. All of the fun stuff got done; most of the not-so-fun stuff still needs to be done.  Not exactly how I was hoping to start my week, but c’est la vie.  What do you do to make sure you take care of business on the weekends?

Game Day!

Tomorrow is Saturday and ESPN College Game Day!!!! Huh?  Yes, believe it or not, I am a College Game Day Junkie.  To those of you who knew me when we were at The University of Michigan, this probably comes as a surprise because I looked forward to Game Days so that I could wash my clothes in peace at the dorm, I know.  I went to my first and last football game Freshman year and left before half-time because I was afraid I was going to be passed up and down the rows like a beach ball. That said, ever since I left the green pastures of Ann Arbor, I’ve been filled with nostalgia. And what better way to evoke positive memories of college than Fall weather and football?  Watching ESPN College Game Day transports me back to the days when all I had to worry about was what to wear to the party at the Union on Friday night and hanging out with my friends who I couldn’t imagine my life without.  Scary how part of my job is to worry about what someone else wears to their fancy-shmancy party on a Friday night, but I count myself lucky that those all important friends still surround me today.  So excuse me if I allow myself a little voyeurism every Saturday during Fall College Football season.


And oh did I mention, that my husband is a Sooner FANaTIC?!?!?!  We’ll be in the stands at The Red River Rivalry cheering the Sooners to victory tomorrow. Woo hoo!!!  Oops … I mean BOOMER SOONER!

Ladies Who Lunch!

I’m having a bit of fun this week.  My four year old niece Jada is here visiting  . . . We’ve been doing all sorts of stuff things she got here on Saturday – the museum, the zoo, the post office (yes, she’s a letter-writer too), and the library just to name a few. We’re having a Ladies Who Lunch day today!  Decked out in our finery we will be galivanting up and down 5th Avenue enjoying ourselves at a very posh restaurant for lunch (one of her requirements for her visit was to eat at a fancy restaurant) and having tea at that store loved by all American Girls. Chin-chin my lovlies — See you on the other side of the hump!

[photo courtesy of Kate Spade]

What’s In Your Beach Bag?

Going to the beach is one of my favorite things to do …… the sound of the ocean, the water, the sand between my toes, a comfy lounge chair, a good book, friends and great libations …. To make my beach experience primo, having the right things in my beach bag can make or break my day at the beach.  It’s no fun if you’ve forgotten your Evian spritzer and have to run back to the hotel, house or drug store to retrieve it.  So, I’m curious, what’s in your beach bag dear readers?

[photo curtesy of JCrew]

The Beautiful Truth

I think that New York Fashion Week ended a week ago today.  As much as I love clothes, I must admit that I’ve never been big on “fashion”.  I’ve often wondered why I feel this way; there always seemed to be a disconnect.  While I couldn’t articulate it coherently to anyone who cared to listen to me wax on about style vs. fashion, it all became crystal clear when I read an article written by Robin Givhan in New York Magazine’s fashion edition last week called Why Fashion Keeps Tripping Over Race: The Paint Chip Problem Revisited. I won’t bore you by trying to re-cap the article here, click on the link and read it for yourself.  I’d love to know what you think.

That said, I loved clothes as a child!  I came from family of stylish ladies and I couldn’t wait to be just like them with their fur coats and beautiful high-heeled matching boots, leather shoe bags (it snows in Michigan so you have to bring your shoes with you) and handbags.  But when I looked in fashion magazines, I rarely saw models who looked like us.  I wanted to love Seventeen magazine and Young Miss (I know, I’m dating myself, do forgive me!), but there was something missing. Then lo and behold, the black beauty above started appearing in Seventeen magazine spreads. I could relate to her.  She even had short hair like many of my friends and I.  Because she was the lone black model of my teenage years, I knew who Whitney Houston was long before she became famous for wanting to dance with somebody.  Her appearance in Seventeen magazine made fashion seem a little more relevant to me personally. But, then I graduated to Glamour and Marie Claire. And, like Seventeen they’d have one or two models who looked like me in every other fashion spread; slowly but surely the allure of “fashion” waned for me.  I just didn’t see myself standing in a studio with my hair wind-blown in some high fashion get-up; therefore, the idea of purchasing the clothes featured or other pieces by the designers featured in the photo shoots wasn’t my ideal.

Now this was all very subliminal.  And, as much as I’m writing this article within the context of race, I would have to imagine that this very same truth rings like a clarion bell for short women, plus size women and any woman of any hue who does not fit into the tiny box of Super Model.  I couldn’t have articulated any of this as a teenager, but I can now and that’s why I am. Of course I have friends who went in the very opposite direction and bought every expensive designer they, or their credit cards, could afford to prove they were and should be a part of the conversation. Neither is wrong and neither is right. It’s just the world we live in. So, back to my point.  I like fashion, hell I write about – and covet – things in the fashion world regularly.  However, what I love is style.  One can be stylish and not have on a stick of expensive fashion designer duds.  So dear readers, enjoy fashion to your hearts’ content, but please be sure to celebrate you and remember to Possess Your STYLE!

This Says It All . . .

Today, December 1st is my birthday!  I wasn’t going to post anything, but then I opened this amazing card from my childhood BFF Nicole and the emotions hit. When my grandmother passed away 13 years ago, she had boxes and boxes of stationery and cards. Nicole went through the boxes and took what she wanted. Believe it or not, this is one of the cards from my grandmother’s stash.  Doesn’t she look a little bit like a younger version of me?  Is the link between me, my grandmother and effie’s paper starting to make sense to you?  Opening this card this morning, made it all hit home to me.  I took a card like this for granted when I was a kid, my grandmother was always a little bit on the cutting edge for an old lady . . . but as a grown-up, it’s a wonderful reminder of a grandmother’s love and influence.

Thank you to all of my wonderful friends and family for the outpouring of love on this my special day.