Archive for the 'Life Is Good' Category

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Merry Christmas!

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself…

~Norman Wesley Brooks, “Let Every Day Be Christmas,” 1976

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!


[image courtesy of sorellina]

Gift Guide: For that Hard to Shop For Person

Is it just me or does it seem like December just snuck up on us all of a sudden? I’m not prepared for the holidays.  I think I’ve bought one gift so far.  Like you, I’m juggling a lot of balls and unfortunately holiday gift buying is one that’s gotten dropped. My family has been after me to get my holiday wish list to them. I appreciate their diligence because I know I’m hard to shop for, I readily admit that. I suspect that most of us have a few people on our list who are “hard to shop for”, so here are a few ideas for that hard to shop for person or persons on your list this holiday season:

For the Bookish

Cool prints from a series called “The Ideal Bookshelf”, starting price $20.

Kindle & Nook Covers from Halsea, $15.

Wacky British humor often tickles the fancy of those hard to shop for people. Simon Doonan’s (significant other of Jonathan Adler and Creative Director at Barneys) book, Beautiful People, about his life growing up in London surely fits the bill. $10.

For the Hostess With the Mostess

Mr. & Mrs. Cocktail glass set, $18.

And what are cocktail glasses without proper coasters? Jonathan Adler coasters, $48.

Beautiful sparkly automatic lighter, $65.

The Midas Touch! Water Carafe and glasses, $25-$100.

I know everyone’s gaga for Lanvin’s H&M collection, but trust me your hard to shop for person will be gaga for this deck of cards! Lanvin, $87.

For the Fashionista

Fun & cool sunglass case that she’ll be able to find at the bottom of any handbag. Jonathan Adler, $38.

Colorful laptop sleeve by Melissa Beth, $30.

Jonathan Adler ($20) and Kate Spade ($40) iPhone cases.

Cool leather iPad cases, customizable in an array of colors and textures, from Vaja. $225.

What Yogi wouldn’t want her own customized yoga mat? $35.

For the Man Who Needs Nothing

If he’s always on the phone responding to calls, emails and texts, this service-blocking hanky, a phonekerchief, made with silver fibers that effectively blocks all incoming calls and data, $15.

Just a little something to make him smile while he’s doodling on those never-ending conference calls, pencil sets inspired by phrases from Anchorman and The Office, $6.

For the Food Enthusiast

The perfect book for the man who is the jack of all trades and the master of none, $12.

The perfect book for the woman who prefers to use speed-dial to a cuisinart when it comes to creating the perfect meal, $16.

For the Woman Who Has Everything

The one thing you can never have too much of is personal stationery! effie’s paper, $45. And the topper? A beautiful fountain pen for her to use to write her hand-written notes, $65.

For the Budding Fashionista

To help that young stylista learn that style comes from within, this great book by Lulu Guinness is the modern day version of Tiffany’s Table Manners for Teenagers. In Lulu’s world, PEARLS, stands for “poised, elegant, attractive, radiant, ladylike, sophisticated” – pretty good lesson to impart, no? $21.

For that little designer in your life, FashionPlaytes might be the thing that helps her become the next Vera Wang – she’ll design her own clothes based on their templates and then receive her masterpiece in the mail! Gift Certificates start at $25.

Happy Shopping!

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How Now?

You think you want to become a blogger? Would you like to be adept at using your computer, iPad, iTouch – your apple products in general?  Enter The How Lounge.  It’s for people like you and me who want the latest technology, but who aren’t always as skilled at using their new toys as we should be.  I admit it. I’m guilty. I generally end up owning just about every new product that apple comes out with. For the two or three of the uninitiated out there, these products rarely come with helpful directions, if they come with directions at all.  If you’re a millennial, it’s no biggie.  If you’re like me, you probably never fully utilize the capability of your products because you didn’t grow up playing with computers and all of this stuff isn’t as intuitive as you’d like it to be.

At this point, most of my day is spent online in one way, shape or form – on the computer, on my blackberry, iTouch or iPad.  I hate to admit it, but I’m a little technologically challenged.  My Media Guru and one of my BFF’s, Nicole, has the patience of Job when it comes to teaching me how to do things like post my blog weekly, operating my online paperie, tweeting  and whatnot.  However, starting a new business using a graphic design tool I knew bupkus about was beyond even her vast array of knowledge. I plowed ahead nonetheless.  My graphic designers, Katie! and Danny, thought I was nuts.  I knew I’d figure it out somehow . . . take a class is what my graphic design friend Celia said. Nicole suggested watching YouTube videos. I kept meaning to find a class, I did actually watch a few videos which armed me with just enough information to be dangerous according to Katie! (I kept messing up very simple documents).

Well, wouldn’t you know it?!?!  Whenever you need something, if you put it out there, somehow the answer appears.  On a rare weekend in the city, strolling through SoHo, I came upon a lovely purple sign that said “The How Lounge”. The storefront looked very apple-esque although swathed in my favorite hue.  I entered and lo and behold there were 4 desks with large screen Macs and 2 helpful “How” consultants.  And what do they do?  They teach people like me how to use our gadgets.  What makes them even more special then the folks at the genius bar is that they’re patient, they can teach you how to use non-apple products and programs and did I mention, they’re patient. Oh, and they charge $75/hour for a maximum of two hours.  While some might consider this a bit pricey, I consider it an investment in myself and all the gadgets I keep running out to buy.

I just had my first lesson.  Knowledge is power!  I’m learning how.

And no, I’m not receiving any kind of renumeration for saying any of this, I am just pleased as punch about my experience and wanted to let others who may be fakin’ the funk on the technology front know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Not sure when they’ll be expanding beyond New York, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. (The How Lounge is not affiliated with apple, they’re all former apple employees who are Certified Apple Consultants).

[image from The How Lounge]

Sittin’ Pretty On The Telephone . . .

I wish looked this fabulous while at home talking on the phone! We can all dream though, right?  While I don’t look this great to sit around at home fielding phone calls, becoming a part of the technological age (i.e., skyping) forced me to get out of my Summer dole drums (the record temps literally zapped my energy) and get to my desk all dolled up to talk to clients and colleagues.  I’m curious.  Even for those of you who typically don’t work from home, I know you do every now and again because I used to – when you work from home do you get dressed for work?

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Words To Live By:

[image courtesy of Holstee]

New York Fashion Week!

Touted as one of the coolest Fall 2010 FW Invites

New York Fashion Week officially kicked off last week on, Thursday, September 9th. My friend Geneva invited me to attend the Vessel by Lois Samuels show with her on Thursday, so I was lucky enough to be a part of the hoopla.  What I love about Fashion Week is people watching!  Everything about Fashion Week is a production. If you’ve ever watched a Season Finale of Project Runway, you’ve gotten a good glimpse into the maddess behind the scenes.  It’s electric!  Definitely organized chaos – the models, the celebrities, who gets seated where, the PR girls with lists and walkie talkies, the red ropes and the lines; not to mention the poor designers scurrying around backstage trying to make sure that their shows go off without a hitch.

The Vessel show was at Grand Central Station in Vanderbilt Hall replete with all of the above.  In attendance were some true fashion dignitaries - Michaela Angela Davis, Harriette Cole and Beverly Johnson to name a few.  So, who is Lois Samuels you ask?  She’s a new designer, but she’s not new to the world of high fashion.  The Jamaican-born Samuels was a model, photographer and publicist in the fashion industry.  Her line is about strict minimalism.  Geneva interviewed her for Uptown magazine and gives a great description of Samuels’ style:  ”[s]he embraces uniformity with contemporary office looks and vintage women’s industrial work wear, along with farmer’s jumpsuits, long-tailed jackets, and starched white apron dresses.”

Here are some shots (please excuse the quality of the photos, I took them with my blackberry – yes, we were that close!) of The Vessel’s Spring 2011 line.  Tell me what you think.

Lois Samuels (center)

Thanks Geneva!

[invitation image from Refinery29]

Hello September!

This picture just makes me smile.  I’ve been hanging out with my family in Bloomington, Indiana; being on the campus of Indiana University is making me a little nostalgic for the start of school and life on the yard.  I love her ensemble because it’s a perfect combination of “Goodbye Summer, Hello September!” It’s just the kind of layered outfit you need at the beginning of the school year when the mornings are cool and the afternoons are hot.  She’s a little bit retro (ok, maybe a little disco) with a tad bit of 2010. Or maybe it’s the other way around?  Anyway, hope you enjoyed your day off!  Stay tuned for my Fall 2010 picks.

Are You a Formerly?

So, what is a “Formerly” you ask?  According to Stephanie Dolgoff, author of My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches from Just the Other Side of Young, a Formerly is someone in their late 30s/early 40s who is no longer HOT and is not quite middle-aged.  You know, someone who used to wear heels of death-defying heights and skirts that left little to the imagination, who now thinks about whether owning such items is practical.  Kids, bad feet and large thighs may all be contributors to you being a Formerly according to Ms. Dolgoff.  I beg to differ.  This may be a case of the lady doth protest too much, but I like to believe that like a fine wine I’ve gotten better with age.  My skirts may be a little longer, but I do what I can to work what I’ve got!  Am I a little wiser? Yes. Have I become an expert on hair coloring? Of course.  But a Formerly?  Never!

I will always drink champagne with pizza and eat take-out on my fine china.

What about you dear reader?  Are you a Formerly?

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Happy Friday!

Giveaway: The Paris Apartment

So, you’ve been planning your trip to Paris in your head for at least the past 6 or 7 weeks now, right?  With visions of macarons, cafés and the flea market dancing in your head . . . Now, all you need is the Keys to The Fleas iPhone app to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck while shopping in Paris! Claudia Strasser of The Paris Apartment, and creator of the Keys to The Fleas iPhone app, is going to give one of my lucky readers the Keys to The Fleas – pretty nifty, mais oui?  Leave a comment below telling us why the Keys to The Fleas are a must for you and the winner will be announced next week!


Spread the Love: Operation Beautiful

Do you remember the movie Pay it Forward?  A school kid comes up with the idea of repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people.  Well, meet 26 year old Caitlyn Boyle, who came up with a great twist on this concept.  Caitlyn says, she “began Operation Beautiful by leaving positive messages on the mirrors of public restrooms — at work, at the gym, at the grocery store.  I scribble down whatever comes to mind — “You are beautiful!” or “You are amazing just the way you are!”  My personal goal is to leave as many Operation Beautiful notes as I can. Maybe some people read them and just smile, but I bet some people are truly touched by the effort of a random stranger.”

The goal of Operation Beautiful is to end negative self-talk and help others experience the power behind an anonymous act such as Operation Beautiful. Caitlyn’s started a movement and recently published a book, Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-it Note at a Time, with some of her favorite post-it notes that others have shared with her.

I learned about Caitlyn and Operation Beautiful on The Today Show and was touched by the random acts of kindness she’s set in motion.  As I jotted down my Operation Beautiful notes to leave around the city,  I recalled that my sister and I used to practice random acts of kindness when we were younger.  We used to stand at the corner of our sub-division during the Summer when we were bored and we waved to the cars (driving along the main street) as they drove past.  Yes, waved. As in stood there in our little girl outfits, plaits and whatnot, and waved and smiled at cars as they drove by.  Some cars would just pass without notice, while others would slow down, the driver would smile and wave back.  We were delighted when someone waved back, our mission accomplished – a little random act of kindness.  I don’t know when we stopped waving (it was definitely an activity for us); I’m guess more important things like cheer-leading, camp, sports and friends filled our time as we got older.  But, leaving my notes around the city today brought back that same warm feeling.  Join me in helping Caitlyn spread the love of Operation Beautiful; jot down a note on a post-it or two (come on, they’re right there at your desk!), leave one in the bathroom, subway station or post office, snap a picture of it and email it to her at OperationBeautiful@gmail.com.

Never underestimate the power of kindness.

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[photo from Operation Beautiful]

A Stylish Day On the Vineyard

I’ve been hanging out on Martha’s Vineyard for the past week catching up with friends, hanging out at the beach, eating good food and generally just enjoying life. Days have a way of blending into one another – it’s hard to believe that the week flew by so quickly!  If I had my druthers, I’d come up to the Vineyard for two weeks. I am happy to have been here for one week, but just as I’m re-learning my way around and re-discovering some of my favorite shops it’s just about time to head home. Nevertheless, I’m definitely in my happy place!

Each town on the Vineyard has a different style.  I’m most familiar with Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven and Edgartown. Why?  Probably because most of the stores are concentrated in these three areas.

One Size Fits All

Oak Bluffs has a little something for everyone – young and old alike, prepster, hippie, bohemian, Republican and Democrat.  It’s definitely the melting pot of Martha’s Vineyard.  It’s very kid-friend and family-oriented; there are tons of kids running up and down Circuit Avenue going from the arcade to the carousel to the ice cream shops.  You see folks in everything from Vineyard Vines, tie-die t-shirts, Vilebrequin to Lilly Pulitzer and Grateful Dead t-shirts.  The shops are easy to navigate and range from mid-range to low-range in price.  My favorite store in Oak Bluffs is Third World Trading Company – it’s got an eclectic mix of dresses, jewelry, bags and tops.  Definitely a place to clothe your inner hipster.

Boho Chic

Vineyard Haven is home to lots of small art galleries, interesting boutiques and home stores.  The atmosphere is cool and calm with lots of stores that make you want to decorate that Summer vacation home you’ve been dreaming about.   Walking down Main Street is a piece of cake in comparison to Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs.  The crowd is definitely a little bit older with an artsy-fartsy vibe – lots of linen, maxi dresses, big sun hats and interesting silver jewelry.  Believe it or not, despite the fun boutiques in Vineyard Haven, my favorite store on Main Street is the bookstore, Bunch of Grapes.  It’s a lovely independent bookstore that just makes me want to browse one book after the other- definitely, one of my favorite pastimes.

Preppie Heaven

Edgartown has got to be one of the preppiest places in the world aside from Nantucket.  If you’ve read The Preppy Handbook, you understand Edgartown.  If not, just imagine a place where pink and green, Menemsha blues and stores like J. McLaughlin rule.  The streets are lined with the preppiest of the preppiest stores and the stores are filled with clerks who look like they’ve just stepped out of a JCrew or Kate Spade ad.  The crowds walking up and down the streets reflect the clerks in the stores.  Spending time in Edgartown reminds me of growing up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  My favorite stores are 20 Main and Nell – they’re merchandised so well that the windows make me want to walk in and buy out the store.  I’d describe them as preppy chic with a bit of SoHo thrown in. Kudos to whomever is doing the buying, great eye! (For the record, as much as the windows make me want to become the prepster I once was, I’ve only purchased one pair of pj’s)

What are your favorite Vineyard stores?

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