Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Madewell Zipcode Boot

Wanting to be together all the time, drifting into daydreams when apart, working to be indispensible parts of one another’s very fabric.

Love has many meanings and manifestations, and it's disputable whether a material object can source such emotion, but nevertheless, a pair of ankle boots have my heart.

Madewell’s Zipcode Boots are casual without resembling Crocs, cool but not contrived. I’ve worn them 3 consecutive days and showing no sign of stopping. 

The infatuation is like a new, young love, but unlike the natural push and pull of a human relationship, the boots fit effortlessly into my well-formed routine, established life, existing wardrobe. No need to twist, turn – or try at all.

A gently worn, pliable leather forms the boot’s body, connoting the comfortable familiarity of a boyfriend’s button-down or broken-in bear hug. A low & stacked, but existent, heel and the aesthetically-balanced marriage of black and brown make the footwear as versatile and irreplaceable as the person with whom you can both pizza-pig-out and champagne-dine-out.

At foot’s first touch, you’ll just know.

Fall in love again and again at Madewell in the renovated Southdale Center this November.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jack Kerouac's On the Road + Tribute

I just finished Jack Kerouac’s generation-defining On the Road. As I progressed through the pages, the story developed an undeniable, un-coincidental association with my uncle Don, who passed away this year. The novel tells the tale of a cross-country road trip and the quest for “IT” – meaning, experience, belonging.

Don was a Mayo med school-educated physician living and working in Phoenix. I didn’t know much of his life beyond his occupation, but I knew I considered him my “favorite” uncle because of the zest he exuded and spread contagiously, and the way he included we kids in adult conversations, laughing appreciatively at our stories just as he did his brothers’.

Strangely, my fondest and most vivid memory of Don is of dinner at a fancy restaurant when my family visited him and the Grand Canyon one spring. I can still see the pale pink linens draped over the tables. Don, hair sprouting in all directions as it usually was, nonchalantly cut a chunk of butter off the slab and ate it from his knife, thinking it was cheese. My sisters and I erupted in giggles at his mistake (and poor manners), but he barely shrugged, moving on to his salad, and just laughed with us.  

Whatever he lacked in fashion and etiquette, he more than made up for in good humor and a humble intelligence I respected with the utmost admiration.

In 1972, Don rode his bike from the small, unremarkable town of Chatfield, Minnesota to the Californian coast. I never asked his motivation in embarking on the journey, but have to believe it had something to do with adventure and exploration – the same things Kerouac’s characters are after.

I highlighted impactful passages as I read, and upon reflection realized they could all be tied to Don, the things he lived for and the qualities that defined him: fierce independence, a high-pitched, heart-warming, one-of-a-kind laugh, and a commitment to helping others he made his life’s work – and is now his legacy.

As life drives on, becomes busier and more complex, I’ll hold these quotations close to my heart and remember that the most rewarding chapters of life are found in the simplest places – in soft air, fine stars and the open road.

Dr. Donald Spelhaug, 10.11.1953 -- 3.1.2012

“And though Remi was having worklife problems and bad lovelife with a sharp-tongued woman, he at least had learned to laugh almost better than anyone in the world, and I saw all the fun we were going to have in Frisco.”

“We started off with a few extra-size beers. There was a player piano. Beyond the back door was a view of mountainsides in the moonlight. I let out a yahoo. The night was on.” 

"The only people for me are the mad ones .. mad to live, mad to talk .. desirous of everything at the same time."

“The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great, that I thought I was in a dream.”

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing?—it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” 

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The New Neutral

Beige, khaki and cream are considered neutrals, but in my rule book, pastel pink too makes the list.

A soft and subdued blush functions the same as the abovementioned colors, but with a shade more life. I’ve found peachy nudes and rose petal-infused ivory work with almost any ensemble, while injecting a dose more interest than washed-out, flat tan and taupe. 

There are still a few leaves lingering on the trees, but when the branches are barren, you’ll be happy to see a little zip and zing right on your wrist, feet or fingertips that won’t fade with the changing seasons.

Give yourself a naturally, constantly rosy glow. Here are a few of my favorite ways to wear the new neutral:

Fresh Sole 'Fresh' Flat. Get it.

Stella McCartney Round Sunglasses. Get it.

J.Crew Bubble Earrings. Get it.

Essie Good Morning Hope. Get it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Faribault Woolen Mill Veranda Throw

To some, Minnesota is a frozen tundra of snow, hockey players, lumberjacks and lefse. This may be. But beyond the stereotypes, the land of 10,000 lakes is also producer of products synonymous with quality, authenticity and innovation.

The North Star state supplies a surprising number of goods and services people around the world recognize, enjoy and rely on.

Minnetonka moccasins are an international footwear favorite, J.Crew has been partnering with Red Wing Boots since 2007, every office depends on Post-it notes and every college dorm-dweller on Command Adhesive from 3M. General Mills Cheerios is an iconic American breakfast and suburbanites and city dwellers alike buy everything from Halloween costumes to Keurigs at Target. All in a day, you may shower with Aveda shampoo, caffeinate at Caribou Coffee, and self-diagnose at

Faribault Woolen Mill Co. is a Minnesota-made company with the same strength to swell beyond state borders. The uniquely self-contained Mill produces wool blankets, throws and accessories that have been warming generations since 1865. Between the 1960s and 1990s, the thriving operation produced over half the blankets made in the U.S. each year. The company closed in 2009 following a failed acquisition, reopening last year with renewed spirit and the same founding principles of quality and durability.

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With winter nipping at our heels, I want to wrap myself in the soft merino of the apple green Veranda Throw. Available in a rainbow of pastels and punchy sherbet shades, the solid throw is a burst of modernity and cheery contrast to the gray and hostile weather outside.

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On the other hand, I’m drawn to the classic plaids and buffalo-checked weaves in traditional navy, red and forest green. The cozy blankets fit flawlessly into rustic furnishings or add shavings of woodsy flair and masculine appeal to contemporary style schemes.

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I’m almost hoping for snowfall soon so I can hibernate in this soft woolen cocoon until spring. Whether used seasonally or year-round, the lifetime warranty on these heritage blankets makes them an investment I’m comfortable making.

Get your arms around the complete collection at Ampersand at the Galleria in Edina.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Room & Board Gallery Framing

There's a lot of pressure in choosing a single painting or photo to feature above a couch, bed or bureau given the inherent attention such placement commands. I'm notoriously indecisive in most situations and selecting wall décor is no exception.

Opting for gallery framing takes the stress out of prioritizing watercolor over abstract, landscape over cityscape, print over pencil. The casually chic, collaborative style affords room to display a range of favorites in a mix of mediums.

Room & Board provides all the tools to construct a custom wall collage: lacquered wood frames are available in a spectrum of neutral colors, sizes and widths. Stand behind a clean single-color story or combine several tones for an accented look.

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Intentionally simple designs let the art inside speak without interruption, and vertical or horizontal hanging capability promotes further freedom of expression. Floating on a wall as clouds or leaning lazily atop a ledge in staggered layers, the collection brings dimension to any part of the home and instantly delivers the lived-in look a naked wall betrays.

The beauty of the gallery is its unstructured arrangement, but if you’re unable to rely only on your amateur eye, reference Room & Board’s tutorial and the experts will hold your hand from purchase through placement. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gap Eversoft Circle Sweater

Founded in 1969, The Gap originally sold blue jeans and white tees. The country’s largest specialty apparel retailer has evolved considerably in four decades, with pieces that still cater to the younger generation it’s named for, but with a wider and trendier assortment than what launched the chain on San Francisco’s Ocean Avenue.

My virtual shopping bag quickly overflowed as I scanned the site this weekend, adding items from all categories: a tweed moto jacket, neon-trimmed scarves, cropped camo pants and biker boots.

I forced myself to exercise a little restraint and whittled down my selection, settling on a couple Eversoft sweaters. The super-soft knit is as cozy and luxe as cashmere, for a fraction of the cost. The silhouette and oversized fit of the circle style is so easy I was tempted to buy all colors, and will probably regret letting practicality rein in impulse. 

The scoop-neck sweater features long sleeves to fight the winter freeze, relaxed dropped shoulder seams, and curved hem that is a touch longer in back. It is the hard-to-find, casual-cool sweater you’ll wear to work with cropped skinnies, then snuggle in later with sweatpants, all while emanating the same breezy chicness co-workers, friends and family will envy. It’s not often something so comfortable is simultaneously so polished, and I don’t intend to let this fashion anomaly slip through my fingers.

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Unconvinced? The Gap is offering 30% off online purchases through tomorrow. If that’s not an invitation, I’m not sure what is. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Anna Dello Russo for H&M Bracelets

“Accessories are like vitamins to fashion – as such, you should use them liberally.” (Anna Dello Russo, Racked).

It's an unusual analogy, but no so far-fetched. Accessories feed apparel strength, energy and vitality. As with vitamins, I could do a much better job making bracelets, rings, sunglasses and scarves a generous and consistent habit.

Italian fashionista Anna Dello Russo’s accessory line for H&M, in stores today, will make nourishing your fashion well-being fun. Consider her designs the Flintstones gummies of supplements: they’re bright, a treat to consume, and one taste makes you want more.

These snake cuffs have me bound tightly under their charm. Imitating the real thing, the enamel bracelets coil around the wrist, and I’d willingly walk into the jungle for the gilded skin and pops of on-trend color, like emerald, tangerine and turquoise. Rhinestones give the chunky metal bangles eye-popping luster and a healthy dose of exoticness. 

From jewelry to boots and bags, the assortment is stacked with pieces to enrich your wild side.

Discover style tips and peek through a digital peephole into the current Vogue Japan Editor at Large and creative consultant’s life at

Anna Dello Russo