Normally I wouldn't draw parallels between less-than-demure Paris Hilton and prim-and-proper Deborah Lloyd of Kate Spade, but their shoe lines are another story. Each designer has included an on-trend metallic pump with a whimsical satin bow. The Paris Hilton Destiny Pump is the perfect party shoe and comes in a bevvy of colors on Zappos (but the featured color is a little cheaper at Macy's). The Kate Spade Guest Pump wins my heart, however, with its slingback and refined ribbon detail.
This weekend has been about food. There was the beer bread, of course. Then we stumbled across an early Oktoberfest on Saturday in New Glarus, Wis. and enjoyed mugs of beer, bratwurts and German music. We explored their Scandinavian-inspired downtown, poked around in gift shops and came home with a package of stroopwafels (my favorite Dutch treat) and wedges of artisan cheeses, including a spicy chipotle cheddar. And today, I finally made caramel apples.
Delicious. However, I'm fairly certain I've developed carpal tunnel from unwrapping the caramels.
We've had a couple of soggy, overcast days that left me aching for comfort food. I didn't have much ambition for an intricate recipe, so I opted for a warm loaf of fresh beer bread (a.k.a. one of the easiest recipes in my arsenal). This hearty bread is best right out of the oven, especially paired with a bowl of thick, creamy soup.
Beer Bread (serves 6-8)
Ingredients 3 cups flour (sifted - this is the key to keeping the loaf soft and fluffy) 3 teaspoons baking powder (omit if using self-rising flour) 1 teaspoon salt (omit if using self-rising flour) 1/4 cup sugar 1 (12 ounce) can of beer* 1/2 cup melted butter (1/4 cup is plenty)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix dry ingredients and beer.
Pour into a greased loaf pan. (I grease and flour the pan.)
Pour melted butter over mixture
Bake 1 hour. Remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes.
In the '70s, hemlines crept upwards - just shy of the derriere - giving birth to hot pants. Judging by the Spring 2010 runways, fashion is resuscitating the pant-less trend (perhaps with a little help from Lady Gaga).
The likelihood that I'll partake in this trend is directly dependent on how friendly I get with a ThighMaster this winter. *I'm fond of the older woman's pursed lips and disapproving glare in the photo above.
Autumn has been tantalizing close recently with foggy mornings, crisp evening air and crunchy leaves beneath my feet. And now it's officially the first day of fall - my favorite season!
I'm eager for wooded strolls, fiery red maple leaves, cozy blankets, creamy pumpkin soup, corn mazes, Halloween, thick tights, wool sweaters, freshly baked bread, football Sundays, candy corn*, and Thanksgiving. What are you looking forward to?
I rarely stumble across items that are similar enough to warrant a "Save or Splurge" post, but this morning's e-browsing* inspired one.
I'm normally a proponent of large cocktail rings that make a statement. But I'm tempted to go a more subtle route with one of these latticework rings. The Kate Spade Deco Lace Ring on the left is a little more intricate, made from base metal plated in rose gold, and comes in sizes 6, 7 and 8. The Korcula Laura Ring looks more substantial, comes in either rose or yellow gold, and is available in sizes 4 through 9.
Personally, I'm leaning toward the Korcula version. I like that it's not mass marketed and it's from an independent designer - it makes it feel more special. Which one do you prefer?
*E-Browsing: (verb) to leisurely shop online without the intent to buy. Example: I try to abide by the rule to shop often, but buy rarely - leading to a lot of e-browsing.
Remember these subtle argyle tights in the Kate Spade fall collection? They're now for sale on the Kate Spade Web site for $28 and come in six colors. I'm partial to the lipstick pink (above) and navy.
Once the thermostat begins inching its way down, I have an insatiable urge to envelope myself in lush fabrics - and I'm not just referring to cozy wool and thick cotton. I'm also left yearning to overhaul my underwear drawer with romantic lace and supple satin.
I have a problem with magazines that boast "Deals Under $500" as if anything up to that mark is really wallet-friendly, obtainable and justifiable to most people. I don't know about you, but when I dropped $350 on my first Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress, I mulled over that purchase for months. It was an investment piece that was worth every penny, but not something I can justify frequently.
With that in mind, each week I'm going to choose an affordable luxury at each of three price points: Under $100, Under $50 and Under $25.
I can't help it; I'm on the verge of ordering this silk blouse from Banana Republic for $70. With its easy silhouette, it would quickly become a key piece in my closet to wear with jeans, tucked into pencil skirts and under structured blazers.
Can you imagine a more posh way to light taper candles than with Tsubota Pearl's Stick Lighter? Each is $32 at A+R Store. If you prefer the metallic options (I'm partial to the sleek silver version), they're $29.95 at emmohome.com.
This statement necklace from Forever 21 is a mere $8.80. Wear it peeking out from under this season's must-have white shirt or add visual interest to your go-to little black dress.
I'm in the midst of drooling over the spring 2010 collections on Style.com. I'll eventually post my favorites for next season, but first I must devote an entire post to my fashion icon: Diane von Furstenberg.
As always, her spring collection is effortlessly chic. According to Style.com, "This season's nomad searcher is 'looking into antiquity for effortless beauty,' with Egypt and the desert on her horizon, along with a side visit to the Pre-Raphaelites."
I need this dress:
... and this is why I'm going to be broke next season.
It may be September, but summer certainly hasn't left Wisconsin with today's high of 80 degrees. I plan to enjoy the warm weather reading Daisy Miller by Henry James on my balcony and visiting antique shops. We'll settle in front of the TV tomorrow for the NFL season kickoff.
What makes a pair of shoes worthy of a month's rent? And how does a dress convince someone to willingly - and happily - give up three-days worth of pay?
My discretionary purchases end up in one of two categories: perceived necessities and consuming lust. The pieces that fall in the "necessities" category aren't exactly "needs," but they qualify as far as fashion is concerned. These tend to be replacement pieces for worn out clothes, accessories to complete an outfit, or last-minute dresses for events.
One the opposite side of the buying spectrum are the items that inspire me. These aren't planned purchases. They're happened upon, resulting from frequent browsing. I know I'm hooked when I begin to weave a story about the item, fantasizing about how and when I'll wear it.
Of course, the best scenario is when these two realms mix.
These are the questions I consider before a purchase:
Does it inspire me?
Do I feel like a more confident/beautiful/interesting version of myself in it?
Is it versatile?
Will it fit seamlessly into my closet? If not, do I believe it could with a bit of creativity?
I've harbored a long (slightly irrational) dislike for the color purple. For years, I shunned purple Crayons, grape Popsicles and lilac party dresses. In the last three years, I began warming up to the color only after my boyfriend brought me a bouquet of purple daisies on our first date. I think it's time to give in to this ultra-flattering color - especially with one of the items below.
An event manager for a local business magazine with a penchant for late night reading and an inexplicable love of coffee. Often submits to magpie-like tendencies and has the jewelry collection to prove it.