New York City Family Guide : Upper East Side

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Amusing chalkboard outside an Upper East Side coffee shop. We did not put them to the test.

Growing up in NYC was awesome. Returning to NYC for extended visits with my young children has historically been peppered with not so awesome moments. Delightedly, our 2015 annual summer trip back home was the best by far. Oh, the places we went. My 7 and almost 4 year old are in sync both schedule-wise and in terms of interests which made just about everything more enjoyable. My 3 year old no longer naps. This, of course, is a major shift from last summer.  Additionally, heightened stamina made day-long outings and unplanned activities not only feasible but fun.

We all LOVE New York City and the traditions that we are establishing as our own family. The places we like to eat, the parks we like to play at, the people we visit with and even the subway lines they prefer to ride (nothing compares to the Q between Canal St. and Dekalb Ave. BTW). I’m tickled pink that the place I grew up and love more than anywhere else in the world already has a special place in their hearts.


 

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The MET post plaza renovations. My girls know this museum well. No matter how many times I’ve been, I’m mesmerized every time.

We accomplished more that I could have imagined during our three week stay thanks to some advance planning and a more laid back parental attitude of letting things evolve naturally. It was quickly apparent that by not trying to manage each moment and emotion for the group everyone was more chilled out. Needless to say there was a lot of personal growth!  The entire trip was an exercise in letting go and putting my trust in the universe. One stumbles upon the best discoveries by accident don’t ya know?

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Seriously, the girls would be happy to just ride the subway all day everyday.

Our adventures ran the gamut. We took a Metro north train ride to the NY botanical gardens, trekked all over Manhattan exploring things new and old, hit a multitude of museums, did our Brooklyn thing, ate plenty of great food, and just hung with my parents, sister, niece and friends. We even took a three day trip up to the Catskills and spent a day on the beach in Avon at the Jersey shore.

I have so much to share it would be ridiculous to do it all in one post. Ridiculous I tell you. So as not to overwhelm, I’ll be writing multiple posts focusing on a neighborhood or two at a time starting with the upper east side. Scroll to the bottom for my recommendations if you’re not into the pictures and can’t wait to check out the list. Though in doing so you will miss out on my clever captions and perhaps life changing information.

Lastly… it would be impossible to include every single point of interest, if you don’t see one of your favorite spots feel free to comment and share with the group!

Here goes..

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Inside the MET. Consulting the family map and guide to locate her favorite pieces.  Turn around. It’s behind you!

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Play date with friends at the Cloisters. So serene and definitely worth the trek.

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I spent a couple of hours walking down Fifth Avenue on the evening of the Museum Mile Festival and was actually able to get into the Cooper Hewitt despite the massive crowds. I snapped lots of inspiration pictures for future,unknown projects.

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Bubble man!! We love this guy. He always has a captive audience at his spot in Central Park at 85th st.

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Goofing around at the park. One must make time for playgrounds and sprinklers. They are abundant.

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Cafe Sault Ste Marie serving Blue Bottle coffee and baked goods.

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Watching Metro North trains travel to and from Grand Central Station. If you wave, they toot the(very loud) horn…beware.

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Guess where we are…

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Remember if you wave they honk!

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The store owner gave this bubble wand to T when he saw how happy it made her.  He smiled and said, “Look how happy she is. I have daughters too, just take it.” He even chased us down with an extra bottle of bubbles after we left. This would have gone all over town with us had it not been the second to last day of our trip.

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Disclaimer:  These personal recommendations are places we went or have been as a family and here-to-fore I consider family friendly.  Any places I went without the children I’ll make note of. It is not necessarily because the venue wasn’t kids friendly, but we all need time to ourselves so when I could take the time, I did.

EATS:

  • Cafe Sault Ste Marie // Blue Bottle lattes and Dough loco donuts.
  • Enthaice // Solid Thai with good lunch special.
  • Shake Shack  // Burgers, shakes and fries. All good. There are other locations throughout the city
  • Moustache // Oh goodness do I love this place. Technically, it is in East Harlem but whatever. The food is authentic and delicious. Now, if they would just get air conditioning!
  • Famiglia Pizza // on 97th and Madison Ave. They make a pretty consistent New York Slice and my kids like it. There may be better but this has been our go to pizza parlour since our old favorite (Zesty’s) closed.
  • Le Pain Quotidien // This is a chain but it’s a good one and I will likely mention it again. It is a great breakfast, lunch or afternoon snack spot for coffee, baked goods, sandwiches, soups, salads etc. Multiple upper east side locations. Madison Ave btwn. 84th and 85th is a good one to hit before or after a visit to the MET.
  • Fairway // This is a grocery market chain and the perfect place for picking up picnic stuff, imported and prepared foods.
  • Dean and Deluca is another albeit more expensive and upscale place to pack for a picnic. You’re on vacation. Go ahead treat yourself.
  • Earl’s beer and cheese // The Taco and The Kale salad. Eat them both. Great beer too. We went without the kids

PLACES TO GO:

  • Central Park  // There are many playgrounds and points of interest throughout the upper east side portion of the Park. The Central Park Zoo, The Dairy, Carousel, the Boathouse, Belvedere Castle, The Bandshell , Bethesda Fountain, the Alice in Wonderland statue and the Conservatory Gardens are a few places worth checking out. Pack swimsuits and a towel for the sprinklers!
  • Watching trains from the 97th street bridge between Park and Madison. Busiest on weekdays at rush hours. It’s right down the street from Cafe Sault Ste Marie so grab a latte and some doughnuts and watch away.
  • Museums, museums, museums. There are so many packed into this neighborhood. Some of the best in the world I might add. See below for specifics.
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts toddler story time in the Nolen library everyday at 10:30. It is free but get there early to secure a spot since space is limited. Outside of story time its a great place to visit with little ones for quiet time and am amazing selection of unique children’s books. The museum itself is must see. Pick up a family guide when you arrive but do a little advance research to plan what you want to see. I have been there hundreds of times and still haven’t seen everything. The museum had recommended admission posted but it is suggested donation. Meaning you can pay what you want. I like to support the museum but paying the full suggested admission for a family is quite expensive and let’s face it you might only last an hour or two. You can be frugal and support the museum at the same time. I have no issue giving $10-20 for the whole family. It’s your call. You can sign up for news regarding kids events here. The Temple of Dendur is a must.
  • The Guggenheim Museum. // Many visit to see the building alone. The museum is quite impressive but also expensive. Check your local museums for reciprocal benefits. We are members of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and our membership gets us free or discounted admission to some amazing and pricey museums all over the country including the Guggenheim. Woot woot! When it’s “free” there is less pressure to appreciate every single piece to get your money’s worth but maybe that’s just my issue.
  • The Museum of the City of New York  // I went on field trips to this museum as a kid. It was fine but never left a lasting impression. Well, let me tell you, they have really spruced this place up and it’s a cool place to visit. They have a really good gift shop, cafe and impressive rotating exhibits highlighting New York history.  It’s right across from the Conservatory Gardens and a nice walk down 5th Ave to some of the other museums highlighted. Check out summer family programs here.
  • The Jewish Museum, The Cooper Hewitt, The National Academy and The Neue Gallerie are all extraordinary and worth a visit but are perhaps best suited for adults only. The Neue Gallerie doesn’t allow children under 12. Conversely the Jewish Museum does offer family programs.
  • Bubbleman // Go see him. Just inside the park at 5h Ave and 85th street.
  • Ancient Playground // Right next to the MET on 5th Ave. I have mixed feelings about this place. It’s a cool playground but I recommend it for older children. It gets extremely crowded and there are hidden passageways. Not a good combo in my world. It makes me nervous but I’m a little bit of a spaz. I prefer the playground at 96th and 5th Ave. There is a sprinkler and things for both small and big kids. It’s also enclosed.
  • Carl Shurz Park Conservatory // This is a great park adjacent to a boardwalk along the East river. It’s a lovely place to go for a walk. There is a good playground and it’s walking distance to Gracie Mansion which you can learn about here.

So that’s all for now. Please ask questions if you have them and remember this is just a fraction of the possibilities in this neighborhood!

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Until next time.

Thankful for: A place to stay and people to visit in NYC!

Wanting: The ability and resources to travel to NYC every couple of months.

I’ve learned: I’m torn between my two “homes”. Leaving NYC is always bittersweet.

 

 

 

 

How to Maintain Individuality When Fashion Trends Saturate The Market.

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Backstage at Chloe 2015.


The fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar business that celebrates art, creativity and self-expression while providing millions of jobs around the world. However not all fashion is accessible to all people. Runway shows are not where the majority of us order our seasonal wardrobes from. Analysis by taste makers, fashion editors and now even top-tier fashion bloggers dictates what retailers will design for or sell to the masses. It is business and trends are no a coincidence.

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On the runway at Celine

Case study: High fashion interpretations of Birkenstocks-like sandals were all over the runways two years ago as seen above at Celine. The classic, comfort, anti-fashion symbol was emerging as a new trend. In fact the trend coined the descriptive fashion term “pretty-ugly”. How could something so disdained by the fashion elite become what every trend conscious lady wanted to wear? (Guilty as charged. You can read more about my relationship with Birkenstocks here.)

When a designer item becomes popularized you will find a version of said trend at the retailer of your choice. It’s not quite the same as seeking out a counterfeit Chanel bag down a dark alley in Chinatown but begs the question, should designers be flattered when their ideas are copied and mass manufactured?  It a quandary.  The fashion insiders who popularize trends have a unique sense of power. Their reputations and personal motivations will determine what the majority of people will want to wear and what stores will carry.  It’s like a secret society that’s not so secret. They have it. People want it.

I consider myself neither a fashion insider nor a fashion victim. I do, however often find myself on the cusp of predicting what’s going to be a trend before it catches on. It’s not always a fun or inexpensive place to be. I may emulate a particularly stylish woman, or hone in on an item from a runway collection that I dream about. The issue is, before a trend item has been entrenched it can be quite difficult to find at a reasonable price.

Case study: The gladiator sandal. I have been coveting a pair of tall, lace-up gladiator sandals since I saw the Chloe Spring/Summer runway show in September of 2014. Truth be told, I wanted the entire collection. But those sandals, I wanted them something bad. Remember my look for less post a few months ago? That’s when the trend started picking up speed and you could find some decent looking tall gladiators that didn’t cost $1200 like the Chloe ones.  Now, here we are at the start of summer and lace up gladiators are EVERYWHERE. Banana Republic, Aldo, Macy’s, H&M, Old Navy for heaven’s sake! Pretty much any women’s retailer that carries shoes has a variant. I find that the excitement has been replaced with displeasure that what I wanted is now what everyone and their mother will likely be wearing around town. The appeal has diminished significantly. The feeling of having something special and unique does not last long in the fashion arena. Shopping vintage may be the final frontier for unique pieces. Ironically, vintage pieces are often what inspire designers to create in the first place. Fashion is cyclical after all.

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Chloe

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River Island gladiators from ASOS.

Despite my issues with fashion and apparel industries I really do have a passion for fashion. Super corny because it rhymes but It’s true. I’ve collected fashion magazines since I was in sixth grade and as a young girl I remember thinking that Ines De La Fressange was the epitome of chic. She was my fashion icon. Her style was something I admired. I was enamored by her confidence and flair. I knew owning a Chanel suit before graduating high school was unlikely but still, I took inspiration from her countless editorials and advertisements for Chanel.

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Ines for Chanel in the 80’s.

Nowadays, I fear that young girls see a celebrity wearing a designer garment and they want to dress exactly like her to gain confidence or to prove something. Individuality seem to be fading away. It’s entirely possible, in fact likely, that a $12,000 dress worn on the red carpet or in a magazine editorial by an influential celebrity will be replicated and for sale at Forever21 for $29.95 in a matter of weeks.  Fashion then becomes copying rather that taking inspiration. It reduces an art form to commerce and that disappoints me.

I do not stand in judgement. I wish when I was younger fashion trends were more accessible. However it’s that very attainability that takes away from the creativity and self-expression that comes with dressing oneself. What to do? I recommend a balance when it comes to shopping. Invest in a few quality pieces that are well made and enjoy some trendy goods sprinkled in from season to season. Bring out some oldie but goodies from your past and modernize the styling. Wear what you like and what you can afford and most importantly what makes you feel good. Mix individual elements of interest and combine the unexpected. Both are at the core of self expression.

Chances are, if you are at all interested in fashion you’ll come across an abundance of in-vogue pieces when you shop. Trendy feels safe. Bold and unique choices make you stand out from the crowd.  Remember to always let your personality and individuality shine through. No one wants to bump into a friend wearing an identical outfit!  Quelle horreur!

Is there anything on your fashion must have list? Do you love trends or do you find the world of fashion entirely tiresome? Does wearing trends make one a “fashion victim”. So much to discuss. Tell me, what do you think of all this?


Thankful for: Design Inspiration. Watching creatives create!

Wanting: To put together outfits this season by mixing my trendy buys with some old reliables, many of which date back to high school. Eeeek!

I’ve leaned: The novelty wears off. I know that just as Gladiator sandals have replaced Birkenstocks as the “must have” footwear this summer a new trend is on the verge for next summer. Hmmm, what will it be? White sneakers, mules? metallic lace up platforms? All real possibilities.

Fiona Finds: Stories Behind The Brands.

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When I first opened Fiona Finds, the shop, I intentionally selected a small assortment of brands because of the stories behind them. I was testing the waters of online shopping with regard to specialty childrenswear and wanted to do so with brands and people that I believed in and hoped to support.  The merchandise currently in store is cute, cool, functional and well constructed but… those traits alone aren’t enough in any market. The amount of choice we have when it comes to shopping is utterly overwhelming. There are many different kinds of shoppers out there who have specific priorities and availability of funds. My goal in starting the store was to seek out great brands with quality products and good intentions. As seasons pass, new designers and makers will continue to emerge. For now here is some information about the brands and products currently available.  Enjoy reading about them and do take a moment to look at their beautiful creations. While you’re at it enjoy 50% off site wide with code TAKE50.

MOTORETA

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Motoreta is a young brand of kids wear from the south of Spain, Seville, a magic place with unique identity and tradition. This new project is lead by Cristina Lopez-Lago and Maria Llerena, both architect partners for years and closely linked to the world of art and design. Two years ago we embarked on this creative project following the design concepts that we were developing in our office for years but, this time, applied on evocative world of childhood. That is the background of all our collections  and the pillars of Motoreta’s designs,  simple but sophisticated, with plain colors and clean shapes.

The Motoreta’s concept is the result of a free creative process, inspired by the place were we live, our own kids, architecture and art, without neglecting its commitment to the new design and production processes. A small-scale brand that bets for clothes locally and sustainably produced, choosing quality raw materials and enhancing the small industry. This local production is supported by a global distribution  so we are developing a carefully but strong international presence. An example of how a local manufacturing can go together with a global thinking, design and best quality. Garments and accessories for kids, very comfortable, with contemporary cutting, high quality and 100% made ​​in Andalusia.”

MUNSTERKIDS

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Munsterkids is a collection of kids apparel that is driven by music, art and street culture.

Created by Rich and Samantha Brown in 2005. The Sydney based label now exports to over 20 countries around the world.

The label takes inspiration from the urban legend of Mikey Munster, the sharp toothed trouble maker that resides in every kid. Having 3 boys of their own, Jax, Zai and Kash the Mikey character is seen every day and the boys constantly provide inspiration for the line. The collection includes, denim, outerwear, woven shirts and shorts, board shorts, tees, fleece and accessories with a strong focus on graphics.

Since 2009 the line has expanded into girls with the launch of Missie Munster. Missie blends some street style silhouettes with beautiful illustrations providing a nice alternative for the more street savvy little girl. For the younger Munsters, there is also the little brother and sister of Munster – Mini Munster and Lil Missie.

The range goes from 0-24mths and brings some street smart looks to the babies and toddlers out there.”

DAGMAR DALEY

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“Inspired by the pure and natural beauty of children and the imagery of childhood in simpler times, Dagmar Daley set out to create stylish, simply detailed clothing. Timeless designs (both nostalgic and modern), quality fabrics, and fine detailing are inherent in her collection. The line has been produced in San Francisco since the beginning, we have been committed to local production since before it was fashionable. We are lucky to work with some of the best, most hardworking local family factories in the Bay Area.  This close collaboration guarantees quality, but more importantly it gives us understanding and compassion for the few remaining factories struggling to provide local manufacturing services. Local does matter. Only our hand loomed alpaca sweaters are produced abroad.

Dagmar Daley worked in architecture and design prior to starting her children’s line in the fall of 2003. She works in a converted cottage in the mission district of San Francisco, a short walk from many of her production sources.”


So there you have it. Mind you these are just three of the brands we carry. Also available are unique and lovely pieces from Bacabuche, Zuzii and Jess Brown! Click any pictures to enter store.

Thankful for: A platform to share great designers, makers and their stories.

Wanting: To discover and share more brands and stories with y’all.

I’ve learned: It’s hard to put a price on things. What something is worth and how it is measured varies greatly from person to person.

 

 

Extreme Play-Home Makeover.

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Simple Scandinavian. So clean and modern, and not ours.

We bought a play house for the backyard off of Craigslist two summers ago.  It has been a source of great entertainment for the girls and their friends during the summer months but I have never found it particularly attractive, cute as it is. Then, last week, when we had a taste of summer sun and warm weather a little light bulb went off in my head.  I started Google image searching (one of my favorite past times) for ‘painted outdoor playhouse’ and discovered the handiwork of many like-minded parents and designers who had stepped up their playhouse game. Seeing these beauties made me want to start from scratch and build or buy a wood cottage.  What we already have happens to be plastic. Boo hiss. The project is to improve upon what we already have not to spend money on newer and “better”. Working with what you’ve got is often more rewarding than getting something new. Did I really just say that?  Besides, I need to save some money for the rest of the backyard which needs some landscaping love. For now I’m off to the hardware store for some paint samples so I can extreme home makeover our little shanty. Take a gander at these lovely mini homes and stay tuned for the reveal.


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I like the black roof and the white detailing.

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Someone takes play cottage building to the nest level for reals.

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I love the black, of course, and the bi-level tree house effect. Don’t they just look so happy!

This reminds me of Hansel and Gretel.

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I like the built out porch and the hanging basket.

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Similar in color to our existing play house and very cozy.

And last…and least is the our storybook play cottage before the redo…

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Thankful for: A backyard! It’s nice to have a space to landscape, set up play houses and fairy gardens and just hang out.

I’ve learned: There are lots of people out there with great experience to inspire and aid in DIY project development. Yes, I mean other parents who have fabricated things for their children.

Wanting: The playhouse to be done my next weekend. Eeek!!

Eating Pretty.

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I stumbled across the book, Eat Pretty the other day whilst in line with a basket full of crafting good at Joann’s. They’ve strategically planted all of their books and magazines (and candy and $1 items) where the line forms so you just can’t help but look. Despite there being about 200 titles to choose from, my eye shot straight to this one. I don’t judge a book by its cover but I’ll be darned if I don’t buy it 9 times out of 10. I am a visual person with a radar for “pretty” things and if there is pink involved, forget it. I flipped through a few pages of this pretty little book and then, as if by magic, it ended up in my bag. Yes, I did pay for it.

I’m currently in a eat-super-healthy-and-work-out-5-days-a-week cycle. It feels good to eat well and to exercise. I know this. We all know this. But, even with my best intentions I know myself. I’m afraid that at some point I will digress back to a cookie after lunch, not motivated to go to the gym phase that leaves me feeling less than my best. The discovery of this little book subtitled, Nutrition and Beauty, Inside and Out, is well-timed. I have made enough headway that I am fitting comfortably into my “slim” clothing. Not so coincidentally my skin looks better and I feel overall more positive and energized. As I read further into the book it confirms the adage that “you are what you eat” and I don’t want to be a cheeseburger.

Though lacking in some areas I like this book for several reasons. It is compact, concise and easy to read.  The author, Jolene Hart, commences with “Beauty Betrayers (BB)” a list of food and drink that are non beneficial to one’s health or well-being. While acknowledging that BB’s are things that many people enjoy and consume with some regularity (hello alcohol, caffeine, dairy and sugar to name just a few) she suggests limiting intake of said things. She lists the benefits of doing so as opposed to shaming us whiskey drinking, sticky toffee pudding eating, cheese loving monsters. This book will not be for everyone. My sister read the Beauty Betrayers section when she was visiting and her comment was, “I started reading that book you got and once the author listed every single thing I like to eat or drink as something to not eat I stopped reading.” I get it.  However, the author goes on to provide helpful and encouraging information. She lists, by season, the ideal foods to be eating, why each one is beneficial,  a “beauty building blocks” section and a checklist of vital nutrients and specific foods sources for optimizing your nutritional intake. I don’t interpret this book as radical with the intent of turning us all into vegetarian farmers who grow and eat our own food. It contains thoughtful information to help one make positive changes in their eating habits. Some of the advice may come off as extreme but I will take her advice with a grain of salt (wait, no salt!;)

I have no intention of never drinking coffee again despite caffeine being on her list of beauty betrayers.  I have been a coffee drinker for most of my life and there are studies that support drinking a cup of coffee each day. For each point there will always be an opposing or contradictory view. With anything it’s my responsibility to gather information and make choices for myself. In this case I have decided to brew 2 cups of coffee for myself in the morning as opposed to the usual 6. I can have my coffee while limiting my intake of caffeine. win-win.

Eat Pretty has been a catalyst to do more in-depth research about the direct and long-term benefits of eating well. Part of saying goodbye to the cookie after lunch non-exercising part of me will be changing my long-term eating habits based on information from a variety of sources. The goal is to feel energized, toned, strong, healthy and beautiful on the inside and out long-term not just when I’m in a “good” phase. The Beauty Detox Foods and Skin Cleanse are both on my library wait list. Each title was recommended by people who had reviewed Eat Pretty as alternatives or supplemental reading that promote the idea of feeling and looking ones best from the inside out.


 

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So tell me, have you read any great books that have inspired you to look and feel your best?

Thankful for: The abundance of delicious and healthy foods available to me.

I’ve learned: I really do look and feel better when I eat well.

Wanting: To apply some new-found knowledge so I can look and feel my best for the long haul.

 

Girls Room Redo: Analyzing Elements and Ideas of Interest.

The girls’ bedroom is an ongoing work in progress. So, as to not leave you hanging, I’ll share my process and remind you of the look I’m striving for. I hope that in “the end” the aesthetic vibe from these pictures will be represented but in a unique and personal way. After all that’s what really makes a space feel special.

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I love the wallpaper, gray furry rug and the bamboo bassinet. There is a great juxtaposition of vintage and modern  design at play in this room. Very whimsical.

After gathering a virtual look book of rooms that I love, I analyze the photos for the specific element(s) that I was drawn to. I often love an assortment of ideas, schemes, colors etc. but combining all of them without editing is a recipe for an overwhelming mess. After noting each visual element I get to work figuring out a way to translate them for a particular project. Here are a selection of pictures, many of which you have likely already seen,  each with a descriptive caption of the desired component, idea, color or product I want to incorporate into the girl’s bedroom.

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Mix and match bedding with a vintage feel.

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Floral bedding. Deep pink pillows. Warm wood.

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White floors. Black dots. Colorful Rug. Iron bed.

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Circular rag rug.

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Garland. Woven Basket. Old fashioned iron bed. Picture cluster.

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Garland. Shelves. Iron bed. Circular multicolored rug.

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White modern storage bed. White shelves. Dots. Vintage decorative accents.

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Wall baskets for decoration. Iron bed.

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Little chair. Little shoes. Iron bed.

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Garland. Vintage art. Birdcage. Little shoes.

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Furry rug. Wall dots. Little chair.

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Hearts. Furry rug. Little chair. Faux bamboo wall hook.

Do you see some themes? Here’s my list of desired ingredients.

  • Dots
  • Vintage floral pattern
  • Petite chair
  • Fur or colorful rug
  • Iron bed or modern storage bed…or one of each?!?
  • A cluster of wall art
  • Garland of some sort
  • Basket(s)
  • A cute assortment of pillows, blankets, dolls and stuffed animals. (I think I have this one covered.)
  • A medium toned wood, bamboo or rattan piece.
  • Wallpaper
  • Pink
  • Display and book shelves

Next I’ll set out to find products, gather pieces in the space and test things out. Sometimes, many times in fact, what looks great in a photograph does not work practically in a space. So there will be tweaking, exchanging and surprises along the way.  I hope you’re enjoying the process and much as I am!


Thankful for: Second hand shops, yard sales, Craigslist and the countless other resources for scoring unique and affordable pieces to decorate with.

Wanting: To round up some nifty, unique and functional pieces.

I’ve learned: As previously mentioned, what looks good in a picture doesn’t always work in reality.

 

BOLD Beauty.

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The lip color! The hair!

As I get older (and wiser) I come across images relating to fashion and beauty that both excite and inspire me. I want to run out and replicate what I’ve seen then reemerge into the world transformed.

Shall I be specific? I shall. I want blue hair. I’ve wanted it for months, maybe even years.  I’ve collected and studied these striking images to take to the salon but the terribly practical part of me is not going to let this happen without a fight. Hence, no appointment has been booked. There are alternatives to the bleach and dye process. I could get some colored extensions put in, I could use hair chalk, I could just have a few portions of color rather than my whole head. Any of these options require much less commitment but none will give the all over color effect that I seem to be drawn to.

Sure, it could be a disaster.  On the flip side it could look AWESOME!  You only live once, right? I’m starting to feel like it’s now or never. While I deliberate about whether or not to take the plunge, tell me, what do you think?  Do you like these looks? Would you do this to your hair? More importantly should I do this to my hair?;)

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Nicole Richie is here twice because our skin tones are similar so it’s a good indicator in that respect.

@ShopBop-@HouseOfHarlow1960

Some other options…

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Oh Gwen, you’re So cool.

The 2013 EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA'S)

I just love Helen Mirren.

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Too green for me but looks cool here.

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Coloring only the bottom solves the roots issue.


 

Thankful for: The ability to transform myself.

I’ve learned: Decisions I make regarding my appearance don’t really affect other people.

Wanting: Clarity. To blue or not to blue? That is the question.

 

 

 

Spring Fashion Looks For Less. Incredible Inspiration and Sublime Substitution.

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Love them or hate them culottes aren’t going anywhere.


OK people. It’s time you know that I consider myself a bargain hunter. Do I splurge occasionally and spend way too much money on something that I LOVE but don’t need? Yes. Do I buy unnecessary things that are such an amazing deal it would be a crime not to buy them? Yes.  Am I sharing too much about my unhealthy spending habits? Perhaps.

The point is that I, like many of you, love getting a good deal. It’s easy to find gorgeous, expensive, one-of-a-kind piece of clothing, furniture, decorations, toys, art, you name it.  There is no shortage of pretty stuff to look at and in our culture, a lot of thinking  “I want me some of that”.  What is not so straightforward is locating and funding the acquisition of said items. It takes time and diligence to translate coveted pieces into tangible goods for oneself. Part of my process when designing, styling or shopping for myself or others is to collect inspiration and then find, filter and finally acquire the perfect clone and on occasion discover a great deal on the original. I enjoy seeking out affordable substitutes for inaccessible or unavailable goods.

Spring-2015-Shoe-Trends-GladiatorsI’ve spent a lifetime wanting clothes that are uncomfortably outside of my reach, financially speaking.  Scouring fashion magazines in middle school inspired me to work in fashion but did not fund my desire to own a Chanel suit in eighth grade. What can I say, I had sophisticated taste at a young age;)  As a teenager and young woman working in the fashion industry I got accustomed to not paying retail price but I was simultaneously exposed to a multitude of lovely clothing geared toward people of much higher means than my own. Wanting what I couldn’t have made me resourceful and creative and much more appreciative of the pieces I hunted down. Sure they are just goods. We can get philosophical about the want and need of material things but that’s a conversation for another day. For now enjoy some of my recent finds:)

Take a peek at what I’ve been coveting and what I’ve found to satiate the beast within.


Culottes, Wide-leg cropped pant, Gauchos.

This trend hit the streets last year but it’s lingering well into the fall collections.

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Calvin Klein culottes $1995.00.

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Off white culottes from Nordstrom $68

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Zara $79

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A tailored cropped leg from Gap $60

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A more colorful variety.

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Though I am not loving the styling here I have already purchased these cropped pants pour moi. H&M $60. I’ll wear them with sandals and a fitted top. Watch out!

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LOVE this color. Asos $68

Gladiator Sandals.

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Chloe lace up wedge heel gladiator $1075

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Topshop wedge lace-up gladiator $110. Did I mention free shipping?

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Zara ankle height lace up gladiator. $159. This color!

For those of you who prefer to make a statement with the knee high variety…

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Stuart Weitzman caged gladiator $435.

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MIA Glitterati gladiator $79

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GC caged gladiator $45.

and…for a more Roman inspired look…

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Valentino $1475

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Anthropologie $189

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Pixie Market $105.

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ZARA $159

And back to Chloe…

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Chloe knee high gladiators $1400

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Bar III

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Rae Gladiator from Free people available in multiple colors. A bit spendy at $298 but still gorgeous.

 

Beautiful, feminine white lacy bohemian beauty.

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Paris Spring shows 2015

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ZARA $79

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Olive and Oak embroidered romper $89. This would look great with a pair of tall gladiator sandals.

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Gorgeous top from H&M $30

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Burberry Prorsum Resort collection $2795.00

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Free People $168

Don’t forget shopping vintage is another great way to find and recycle fashion. After all, what goes around comes around. Ebay and Etsy are awesome online resources for vintage clothing, antique furniture and textiles as well as you local thrift and consignment shops.

I hope you found some goodies. Click on pictures to link directly to resources.



 

Thankful for: Options. Though I can get easily overwhelmed by a plethora of choices I’m thankful I have the ability to make them.

What I want: A pair of knee high gladiators and a kick ass attitude. YEAH!

What I’ve learned: I find great satisfaction in saving money for myself and clients.

 

 

 

 

Rugs and More Rugs.

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Hello there. I’m back to present some rugs I’m considering for the girls room. In skimming my KIDS and RUGS Pinterest boards you may notice that there are several different styles of rugs that I like. A vast array spanning from animal hide to vintage Persian, stripes to solids, single hue to rainbow extraordinaire and everything in between.

I’ve had a long, complicated relationship with rugs. Inevitably, the rugs I fall in love with are antique, hand-made and cost a small fortune. For many reasons, number one being budget, number two being practicality, I have never invested more than $1000 in a rug. Mind you, I have gotten some beyond amazing deals on ridiculously expensive rugs in days gone by from the ABC carpet outlet in Brooklyn which no longer exists. Insert sad face. Moving on…

I love vintage Azilal and Boucherouite rugs. They are colorful, handmade, unique and the kids like them as much as I do. The issue is they are quite expensive and there are so many out there (all one of a kind) that I could spend weeks deliberating over which has the best pattern, color combination, size and so on. I would undoubtedly purchase “the one” then not be able to return “the one” because it was not all I had hoped it would be. Call me a pessimist but I find great comfort in a good return policy. Seeing a picture of something is no match for the feel and look of the real thing. A downfall of shopping online. Additionally, I like to test things out.  To collect components and play around with them until I find just the right combination of pieces. This playtime cannot be enjoyed with non-returnable items. It’s the price I have to pay for my approach to decorating. The point is, though there are many great resources for beautiful, one of a kind rugs, I want one that has the look of a vintage handmade work of art without the cost and risk. Is that too much to ask? Here are several good looking and budget friendly options, keeping in mind that either 3′ x 5 ‘ or 4′ x 6’ is the size I’m shopping for. What do you think?

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Over-dyed Dhurrie from Urban Outfitters!

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A VEGAN animal hide. I don’t think I could do a real hide but this? Maybe.

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This one definitely had a vintage Moroccan vibe. Little burst of color could be just right for the space.

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I like the idea of a Kilim but this may be too muted. I want stronger contrast and more color with this type of rug.

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Another fun alternative to an animal hide. This whimsical wool rug is reasonable at $299 from Land of Nod.

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I think this might be the one. It has color, texture, contrast and is a good interpretation of a traditional Azilal rug from Morocco but it’s from West Elm so it’s less expensive and returnable.

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Another West Elmer. Love the color and pattern. Not sure if it’s right for the space so It might turn up in our dining room.

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This rug mimics the rattan look that I like. Maybe I’ll throw this by the dresser to incorporate a textural element.

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On sale for $129! Great looking rug with minimal financial investment.

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This Chindi loop rug provides Texture and color.

Thankful for: The internet! Seriously, How else could I find each of these rugs in only a few days and from the comfort of my own home?

Wanting: One of these rugs.  Hmm…which one will it be?

I’ve learned: Spending less money doesn’t equate sacrificing good design.

White On My Mind.

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Silhouettes from the 2015 runway shows.

I am heavily into the modern, white aesthetic right now and am collecting ideas for how this bias will play out in my Spring wardrobe. I appreciate the simplicity of white and how it lends itself well to the sculptural aspect of design.  Shape, texture and line are particularly important when working with a monochromatic scheme whether it be in interior design or fashion.  Here are a few key pieces and trends that I am loving right now.

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White lace meets bohemia. Lets take note of those gladiator sandals, shall we?

 

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Pencil skirt and t-shirt. Nice combo.

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I’m on the fence with the white sneakers. I am typically not a sneaker wearing kind of lady. Time will tell.

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Layered dress by A piece a Part.

 

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OK, I need these Rachel Comey boots.

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I do like a nice white bag. ZARA, again.

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Crisp Boho. Who knew?

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This perforation technique is all over the place. Who doesn’t love a chic white pump?

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Just a few months of hardcore ab work and then maybe just maybe I can pull off this crop top trend.

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Chic and elegant. I am a sucker for the midi length.

Thankful for: Fashion designers.

Wanting: White Culottes, white shoes, a white Crop top (with a side of flat abs) and white pencil skirt.

I’ve learned: Translating runway to real life is a skill.