Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Cool Mom

Growing up, it's all about you. Our parents bathed us as babies, taught us to tie shoes, braided our hair for school and sent us off with a kiss. It's no wonder we have a warped perception of who Mom and Dad are, since each year, each day — each moment, their overarching objective was to ensure our health and happiness.

In my mid-twenties, I thought I'd left that somewhat selfish relationship behind, but while home for Thanksgiving, revelations annihilated that notion. There will always be stories parents keep from kids, but I surely should have known my mom was once a small-town celeb:

The Proper Palate broadcast weekly on a local channel. Mom commented on the nutritional value of healthy recipes while a home economist cooked live. On the radio, she hosted a gig covering nutritional issues and fielded callers' questions. The purpose of her newspaper column "Nutrition Briefs" was to convey reliable nutrition information about trendy topics. 

The discovery of Mom's media enterprises sent me on a small scavenger hunt, and I found a few enlightening newspaper clippings. That they were preciously preserved emphasized my juvenile self-absorption and embarrassing naivety.

I realized I knew just a couple of countless layers. I knew she majored in dietetics and started her career as a writer, but didn't appreciate what she worked on was Mayo Clinic's first consumer subscription newsletter. When I was 11, she and my dad went to Versailles. I understood it was for "work," but didn't register that the Mayo Clinic/Williams-Sonoma joint effort, for which she was Mayo Clinic Editor, was being honored as the world's best health cookbook. 

It's this, now, that makes her a "cool" mom, more than when letting me highlight my hair and occasionally drink diet Coke substantiated that status. 

As a daughter, I objectively realize I'm a huge part of my parents' lives. But not the only part. I think being aware of this makes me respect mine more, and aspire to more. 

If you haven't, find out who really your mom and dad are and acknowledge their accomplishments — beyond you. Mom, I may have surpassed you in stature and matched your style sensibility. But on other levels, I still have some catching up to do. And I'm betting I always will.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Restoration Hardware Starlit Tree

I customarily pounce on Christmas decorating the day after Thanksgiving, but at this point, there's still a pumpkin in my apartment and not an ornament or Santa in sight.

My procrastination isn't for a lack of enthusiasm; rather, direction. I'm in no rush to fill my rooms with tacky tinsel and nativities. Even if the decorations I have weren't Charlie Brown and run-down, I'm reluctant to congest my clutter-free home.

Restoration Hardware is the destination for sophisticated and simple holiday decor. Its collection of garlands, stockings and rustic wreaths add upscale festivity to a space without sacrificing its clean foundation.

The 3' Starlit Tree is the must-buy for a bright Christmas. Its small size allows it to fit in apartments' corners and crevices, but liberal tendrils of twinkling warm-white bulbs illuminate far and wide. Lest you think showcasing full-fledged merriment means forgoing style standards, branches bare but for lights are minimalist, in line with modern trend. The tree, whether authentic Frasier or faux, is the iconic symbol of the season and the one accessory not to skip.

photo courtesy

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Anything Could Happen" -- Ellie Goulding

The lead single from Ellie Goulding's second studio album begins with fearless yet gentle chirrups that startle you into an immersion that is both threatening and promising — a teetering that sustains throughout the electro-indie epic my sister recommended to me recently. I was initially unmoved, but after subsequent playbacks, deeply ensnared.

Lyrics that beat forward in restrained but building fervor are chased by a pulsing, almost piercing, refrain that is a transcendental surrender. Accented gaps for air and temporary dimming of background instrumentals suggest real-life stop-and-go and an alluded secret-passing that underlines sacredness.

The repetitive phrase that rounds out the experience is made more powerful and ethos-exposing by the grittiness that is heretofore conspicuously nonexistent. The line conveys unmistakable ambiguity, but with a resignation and release that is propelling.

Swept away on the wispy clouds that are Goulding's voice til the very end, you'll start subliminally trusting anything could happen.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Trend Report: Tartan

As these Christmas photos demonstrate, plaid is perennially relevant. More than a seasonal staple, it has a distinct holiday connotation and instantly festive feel.

Tartan may be timeless, but oversized vests and juvenile jumpsuits are best left behind. Fortunately for all, designers have created modern incarnations, deviating in color and material from the Black Watch and Royal Stewart wool classics, while still capturing the rugged elegance and uncontrived trendiness of the Scottish Highlands (read the Elle trend report).

photo courtesy

Hiked hemlines, pairing with pleats, fur trim and leather piping take tartan from '90s Christmas card to contemporary street chic. Find your own fresh way to celebrate the season in traditional form.

L.L. Bean Signature Madison Mini // J.Crew Perfect Shirt in Buffalo Check // Madewell Faux-Fur Circle Scarf // Elizabeth and James Max Plaid Pants

P.S. Talk about timely -- this piece from Who What Wear just popped up: How They Wear: Tartan

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tory Burch Accessories

Come Christmas, give a little luxury. These Tory Burch accessories are perfectly portioned bits of mousse or merengue that drizzle everyday in delicious extravagance.

For midday errands or coffee between meetings, I carry only a wallet and phone. But add a to-go cup, bag loaded with Target loot, dry cleaning, stamps, Macy’s fragrance samples, and what began an easy outing spirals into a juggling act. 

The Robinson Smart Phone Wallet will save you from the circus sideshow. Made of scratch-resistant Italian leather in icy turquoise, the pretty pouch is specifically designed to store girl-on-the-go essentials: phone, cards, cash. Mobile multitasking at hand.

The Transit Pass Holder is another mini manifestation of Tory Burch brilliance. My bus pass and work badge float freely in my bag all day, making them hard to find and easy to lose. Here, poppy pebbled-leather binds and organizes cards and passes so you can commute uptown to downtown fumble-free.

Sweet as dessert,  these treats shouldn’t be saved for special occasions only. We all need a daily dose of opulence and with these, functionality is baked in.