Friday, August 24, 2012

Kate Spade New York Plaza Athenee Necklace

At any moment you might be 40% scared, 50% excited, 10% anxious. Emotions are rarely one or the other, so why should accessories -- physical representation of our moods -- always stand on opposite sides of the spectrum?

Somewhere in the middle lies the Plaza Athenee necklace.

The canary décolletage decoration is the ideal fusion of in-your-face and fragile: miniature drops of sunshine nesting in golden resin beds form a blooming centerpiece that gracefully fades into a delicate metal chain.

The sunny adornment secures with an adjustable lobster clasp and brings a burst of life to darker apparel.

The piece may be one part bold, one part blushing, but wear it and you’ll look wholly haute.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dancing on My Own + Girls

After the 1997 breakout hit “Show Me Love,” a few tracks from Swedish pop singer Robyn found their way back onto my iPod circa 2009. “Be Mine!” and “Handle Me” have a techno dance energy I’ll always associate with my NYC summer.

I didn’t download anything more by the bubblegum-voiced artist until a few weeks ago. Along with the rest of the world, I fell in love with “Dancing on My Own” when Hannah and Marnie grooved around to it on HBO’s Girls.

Before a backdrop of twinkling electronica, Robyn sings of not being seen, but refusing to let the loneliness stop her beat. I like the number, but I think it's the poignant placement in the small screen storyline and ability to define – all at once – the struggles, triumphs, fears and hopes that face us, and the very heart of the show, that makes such an impact.

Next time you have a free Friday, hunker down and catch up on the critically acclaimed, laugh-out-loud Girls. Like Hannah muses, sometimes you lose some – and you lose some. But I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gatsby Glamour: the Cloche

The Great Gatsby silver screen adaptation may have been pushed out from its Christmas release, but the twinkling excitement surrounding the production hasn’t faded.

One facet of the film generating lots of attention is fashion. Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar spotlighted the glittering, pleated and gathered styles that defined the Roaring Twenties, and Marc Jacobs models strutted spring runways in pinstripes and feathers representative of the early 1900s.

photo courtesy

I’m not inclined to chop my hair into a bob, but the bohemian and freeing attitude of the era is inspiring enough to incite a purchase of some sort in acknowledgment of the Charleston-dancing women of nearly a century ago.

The defining accessory of the times was the cloche hat. I suggest keeping your flapper dress in the closet and donning this headpiece as a subtle salute to Fitzgerald’s famous characters.

photo courtesy

Anthropologie’s interpretation is too adorable to pass up, even if it wasn’t up-to-the-minute culturally relevant. The close-fitting hat, made of Italian wool, is energized by a vivacious blue-paisley scarf secured across the crown. One side of the brim is pulled down mischievously for an alluring magnetism that is femininely empowering. Kind of makes you want to kick up your heels, eh, old sport?

I’m not advocating excess, but watch the Baz Luhrmann Gatsby trailer, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, and just try not to get caught up.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Clarins Truly Matte Pure and Radiant Mask

There’s no competition for the comfortable reliability of a Sunday night ritual to wind down the weekend before starting the engine again Monday morning.

I’ve been looking for an exfoliating face mask for awhile, but after finding a surprisingly sparse selection at the drugstore, lazily gave up the search.  A little dedicated hunting online, however, turned up this Clarins treatment that has definitively established itself in my evening relaxation regimen.

The cream-based formula not only cleans and tightens pores, but smoothes sensitive tissue. To get technical, Pink Clay components gently absorb contaminating impurities while Palm and Coconut oils offer gentle renewal and baby-soft comfort.

The combination is the powerful but pleasant one-two punch your skin needs to maintain its supple youth and radiance. Applying the mask for 5 minutes during TV time once a week is a negligible exertion compared to the immediate and long-term rewards you’ll reap.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Target Belts: A Bright Bargain

Yesterday I had an accessory epiphany: Target belts.

It shouldn’t have been surprising to find trend-right, affordable accessories inside the store that pioneered designer collaborations. But because the Bullseye is home to discount brands, certain stigmas still exist – which is why I haven’t spent significant time trolling its jewelry, hat and handbag assortments.  It never dawned on me to consider Target a belt destination.

But the clouds parted when, shopping with a friend, we strayed from the shoe aisle. A dazzling array of croc-skin, braided, neon, glitter and patterned waist-cinchers hung innocently before me. Eyes wide, I could almost hear mocking whispers: What did you expect?

These slim ribbons of color, texture and pattern are the easiest and sassiest way to tighten up your look. The neutrals add dimension to flat combinations; the brights electrify a dull outfit. And at 1/2 or 1/4 the price of LOFT and J.Crew comparable offerings, you can pick these from the racks like flowers.

Choose a bunch at!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

L.L. Bean Signature Cotton Fisherman Sweater

L.L. Bean reminds me of long-ago evenings when my sisters and I would huddle around a catalog, flagging pages and circling selections, while Mom used the telephone [yes, before online shopping] to call-in an order. The retailer was often our source for winter coats and other outdoor rec wear.

Though we all may have moved on from the traditional hunting and fishing aesthetic, certain pieces from the Bean product line are rustically appealing in a surprisingly metropolitan way.

L.L. Bean Signature, a sub-brand of the Maine-based company launched in 2010, features a modern fit and refreshed details on its heritage merchandise.  The collection’s Cotton Fisherman Sweater is a great catch – and getting lots of bites from the press.

photo courtesy InStyle September 2012 

The cozy cable-knit is constructed according to the authentic design of the 1990s original, but updated with a shrunken, feminine fit. Beyond the silhouette and fabrication, the unrivaled beauty of this modest beige pullover is it goes with everything: wear over a chambray button-up or simple white tee, with leather leggings or floral mini. Effortlessly easy.

Looks like it’s time to cast your net back into Bean! 

Get inspired: See Glamour editors style the sweater here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sperry Hingham Boot

It poured this morning in Minneapolis and forecasters predict more precipitation this evening. If you don’t already have a pair of rain boots, a wet-weather must, it’s high time to dry out your pockets and invest! 

Hunter Wellies are widely popular for keeping feet dry on dismal days, but I prefer these Sperrys for their aesthetic versatility.

photo courtesy of

The Hingham has the requirements: a waterproof construction and cushioned micro-fleece interior for warmth. But a couple qualities set it apart: a tall, quilted shaft yields a stately equestrian flair, and the rubber outsole with Wave-Siping™ provides the traction to prevent an impromptu slip ‘n slide.

The deal-sealing feature is the boot’s semi-disguised rain gear identity. The waders look like an everyday pair of footwear, so you can step out in these good-looking galoshes even when the sun is shining [and not look like you missed the meteorological memo].

If you favor a shorter shaft and mountain-hiking motif, try the Shearwater in black.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

West Elm Kite Kilim Floor Pouf

When kicking back on the couch, if my legs aren’t curled into a pretzel, they’re extended out plank-style.  A good entertainer wants guests to be equally comfortable, but I’d prefer only my own feet propped upon the coffee table.

If a sectional isn’t in your seating configuration, this could cause a stink. Cue the floor pouf.

photo courtesy of

I wish I could make West Elm’s Kite Kilim Floor Pouf mine with the simple wave of a wand. A handwoven diamond pattern, the next evolution of overdone chevron, dresses the updated ottoman’s fresh square form. The weave conjures a primitive-modern mojo that will enchant a room and stir up envy in all who visit. 

No smoke and mirrors here – this "poof" really is this pretty.

Friday, August 10, 2012

“Tomorrow is Gonna Be Better” – Joshua Radin

Joshua Radin’s album The Rock and the Tide is one of my favorites, so I was keyed up when he released a new collection of songs July 31.

Less than 2 weeks later, “Tomorrow is Gonna Be Better” is already an Underwater stand-out.

The contrast of the guitar’s deeper notes against Radin’s soft, romantic voice immediately sweeps you up and holds you tight for the whole song, evoking an emotional need to know what words he’ll say next. The soothing acoustic strumming and heart-melting vocals create a relaxing melody that is still – magically – quietly buoyant.

Natural, uncontrived rhymes sprinkled throughout are a delicate kiss on seeking ears. The poignant message of enduring hardship because the future holds promise is one anyone can connect to, and Radin’s delivery makes it seem he’s singing directly to you [and only you].

Play this gentle song while drifting to sleep or add to your make-out playlist – an applicable soundtrack for both scenarios.

Other Joshua Radin favorites: We Are Only Getting Better, Only You, The Rock and the Tide, I Missed You (Acoustic), Paperweight

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bee Matches

Crisis averted. Enigma solved. Toss out your automatic candle lighter and don’t bother kissing it goodbye. This darling matchbox, charmingly old-fashioned, both looks and works better than its modernized alternative.

The sunny, stylish box is sold at Design Darling, an online boutique specializing in preppy & colorful accessories and décor. The petite sanctuary, housing 45 honey-tipped matches, features a metallic-gold bumble bee and side striking ribbon that will set you abuzz.

Attractive packaging allows the box to meld into the surrounding décor and be displayed more proudly than the conspicuous and obtrusive auto-illuminating wands. Further: frustrating, spark-less situations caused by a dried-out lighter are eliminated, as striking a match against a grain guarantees a full and vibrant flame.

This bee-utiful matchbox will be brightening up my living room in a flash.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Jonathan Adler Whale Keychain

A good friend had a small housewarming this weekend, providing the perfect excuse to buy a fun and frivolous gift.

With all gifts, I like to give those non-essentials the recipient wouldn’t think to buy herself, doubling the delight of the expected. I gave A. a set of four photo-real Paris magnets, reminiscent of our travels abroad, but the next pal to host a bash or birthday might find this oceanic gem swimming inside her tissue-paper-packed gift bag.

Seafoam, cerulean and cyan patterned enamel forms a miniature whale that is framed and fastened to a metal key ring. The cheerful orca is a travel-sized wink you’ll see whenever starting the car or locking a door. And if you lust over Jonathan Adler’s geometric-printed pillows and decorative home furnishings, but can’t swing $78 for a photo frame, this artsy keychain is an inexpensive way to get a piece of his creative pie.

Visit the Jonathan Adler Minneapolis location, opened March 23, at Lake and Holmes in Uptown. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ralph Lauren Chino Baseball Cap

It’s hard to ignore the highly competitive back-to-school marketing campaigns saturating the media. Though I don’t need pencils, notebooks, protractors or rulers, the commercials and print ads have me in a positively preppy mood.

To get the quintessential collegiate look, I turned to the leader in style Americana, currently outfitting the U.S. Olympic team: Ralph Lauren. 

I enjoy shopping and there will always be seasonal pieces to purchase, but why buy the staples every year? I make a point to invest in items from classic brands that have the longevity to endure multiple seasons and years, and this cute cap is one of them.

photo courtesy of

The simple hat is made of durable, washed cotton twill and comes in customizable colors. Monogram the headpiece in your choice font or stamp it with the iconic polo horse for a look that is sporty, but not sloppy. Partner with glittery jewelry or a sophisticated sweater [a la j.crew] to create top-of-the-class contrast and soften the formality of crisp outfits -- extra credit guaranteed. 

photo courtesy of

Friday, August 3, 2012

Pins and Needles Accordion Pleat Peplum Tank

If you’re like me, you relish getting the biggest bang for your buck. Well, buckle up – this Pins and Needles tank is pleated AND peplum: 2-trends-in-1 that will make you sing ka-ching.

photo courtesy of

The tonal, sheer chiffon of the silky, sleeveless top radiates a vogue vibe. Accordion pleating across the bodice and hem adds just the right dose of detail, and the understated peplum cut casts eye-catching appeal that isn't as severely structured as other variations of the style. The baby-doll’s pretty sister is still as sweet as its relative, but highlights [instead of hides] a slim waist.

Wear it: Let the top claim fame by keeping your bottoms and accessories sleek & simple. Midnight-black skinnies and a single neon cuff will send you straight to style stardom. Add a casual cardi in autumn and the more-for-your-money tank doesn’t have to be a one-season wonder. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vanity Fair 2012 Best-Dressed List

Vanity Fair posted its Best-Dressed List of 2012 yesterday. It’s sprinkled with an eclectic and absorbing mix of icons, including 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer, Princess Alexandra of Greece, rapper Jay-Z, and Alice & Olivia CEO Stacey Bendet. 

My award goes to the List’s Diane Kruger; I not only envy the actress's boyishly-handsome boyfriend Joshua Jackson, but her sharp fashion I.Q.

Kruger earns high honors for elegant red carpet looks, but if you don’t have occasion to wear couture gowns often, try emulating her prize-winning, casual street style. 

For summer, the blond beauty wears bright, scene-stealing color. A fitted sweater tucked into a belted, tweed skirt creates an appearance that is pulled together, but far from boring given the variety. The cardigan’s fuchsia shade reads grandpa-chic, not outdated-dingy, and her straw fedora is a reminder that small accessories play a big role in elevating an outfit from mediocre to memorable.

When the weather chills, Kruger layers textures and patterns like a pro. A striped tee topped with a cuffed-sleeve denim jacket and breezy scarf is the definition of casual cool.

A heavier-weight coat is necessary in the winter, but one with fur trim that lets a patterned top [i love her polkda dots] play peek-a-boo prevents the personality-erasing effect of most outerwear – a winning choice.

Skinny jeans or contoured leggings ensure your feminine shape isn’t completely disguised when the snow begins to fall, and heeled booties allow practical, yet attractive, travel. The A-lister’s method of mixing a couple of textiles & textures while maintaining basic black as the unifying foundation results in looks that aren’t overwhelming and eccentric, but refined and cutting-edge.

Add a chunky infinity scarf, vintage shades, confident smile and maybe you’ll make VF’s 2013 list. Or at least look good trying.

Pick up the September Vanity Fair Style Issue for more about Kruger’s fashion sense, straight from the source.