Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wish List Wednesday: Kensie Coat

Kensie, Second Layer Coat, $158

Update your fall wardrobe with this chic white coat.

Save or Splurge?

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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Little Luxuries: Cocktail Rings

I love juxtaposing glamorous cocktail rings with thick tweed and wool pieces in the fall. (Though, it may be because I'm prematurely anticipating holiday parties.)

Under $100

As much as I want to, I can't justify this Juicy Couture enamel and rhinestone cocktail ring ($98) - my boyfriend gave me a black onyx and diamond version last year for Christmas. It's gorgeous though and one of you should buy it and post pictures to entice me.

Under $50

This Swarovski ring by Joomi NYC ($50) measures an impressive 1.25 inches long and has more than enough sparkle to catch someone's eye.

Under $25

Forever21 continues to be a top contender for a rhinestone-encrusted cheap thrill, like the Dora Faceted Bead Ring ($5.80).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cynthia Rowley Spring 2010

In my fantasy life, I attend far more lavish cocktail parties. So it's no surprise that I'm smitten with these glamorous looks from Cynthia Rowley's Spring 2010 runway.

I audibly squealed in delight when I saw the shoes. Though, I was disappointed to discover that they're mules. Slingbacks would be more practical.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Caramel Apples

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.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Recipe: Beer Bread

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)

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)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix dry ingredients and beer.
  3. Pour into a greased loaf pan. (I grease and flour the pan.)
  4. Pour melted butter over mixture
  5. Bake 1 hour. Remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes.
*I used New Glarus Brewery's Spotted Cow beer which is - unofficially - Wisconsin's favorite beer. Next time you're in the state, I'll buy you one.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Weekend!

photo via Real Simple

I should relish one of the last 75-degree weekends of the year and spend it outside, but all I really want to do is stay in, make caramel apples and watch Gilmore Girls.

Before you embark on your weekend plans, be sure to stop by SavvyMode and enter to win this beautiful black diamond pendant:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No Pants Required

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.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wish List Wednesday: Sherwood Coin Purse

Kate Spade, Sherwood Coin Purse, $125

Few things would make me happier than stashing latte money in this quirky owl coin purse.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Little Luxuries

Under $100

Chilly autumn nights are just around the corner. This $78 lambswool throw by Pendleton is a beautiful - and sensible - way to cozy in for the night with a bowl of popcorn and a classic movie.

Under $50

I'm a sucker for accent pillows like the Carmen pillow by Crate & Barrel for $49.95. It comes in three bold, fall-appropriate colors: plum, chartreuse and teal.

Under $25

Banana Republic's Chilled Sangria candle for $24 continues to be one of my favorite items. With its blend of floral and fruity notes with a hint of spice, the scent is as appropriate for autumn as it is for summer.

First Day of Autumn

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?

(clockwise from upper left) photos via Veer, Point Click Home and Veer

*I come dangerously close to inhaling my body weight in candy corn each year. Thus far, I'm only on bag number five. I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Save or Splurge?

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.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Victoria Beckham Graces Elle

This may be my favorite Elle cover to date. Victoria Beckham looks divine - as always. The colors are fantastic. And she's wearing the lingerie-inspired Dior pumps I covet.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kate Spade Tights

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.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fall 2009 Shopping | Part Five: Luxe Lingerie

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.

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Mimi Holliday by Damaris, Belle Amour Satin Bra, $60
La Perla, Lace Silk Chemise, $395
Nine West, Mixed Pattern Open Work Stocking, $12
Topshop, Silky and Lace Thong, $10
Topshop, Longline Satin Bra, $40
Stella McCartney, Kate Beaming Silk Shorts, $60
Wendy Glez, Lace Racerback Cropped Camisole, $48
Stella McCartney, Lauren Whistling Thong, $75
Topshop, Riviera Triangle Bra, $32
Myla, Suki Hipster Briefs, $63

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Little Luxuries

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.

Under $100

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.

Under $50

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

Under $25

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.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Diane von Furstenberg Spring 2010

I'm in the midst of drooling over the spring 2010 collections on 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, "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.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Happy Weekend!

photo via ffffound

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.

Have a lovely weekend! What's on your agenda?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Purchasing Power

photo via facebook

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:
  1. Does it inspire me?
  2. Do I feel like a more confident/beautiful/interesting version of myself in it?
  3. Is it versatile?
  4. Will it fit seamlessly into my closet? If not, do I believe it could with a bit of creativity?
  5. What is the garment made of?
  6. Is the construction of high quality?
What makes a fashion item worthy of your money?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fall 2009 Shopping | Part Four: Purple Reign

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.

(pictured clockwise, starting with upper left)

Patricia Nicolas, Purple Single Swarovski Jeweled Earring, $178.20
Myla, Ella Padded Bra, $69 (sale!)
Charlotte Russe, Rosette Chevron Corset, $29.99
J.Crew, Perfect Pencil Skirt, $118
Kate Spade, Colby Sunglasses, $160
Collection Eighteen, Pleated Chiffon Scarf in Purple Dawn, $24
Steve Madden, Tayla Pumps, $119.90
Diane von Furstenberg, Victorio Dress, $398
Swarovski, Nirvana Ring, $260
Foley + Corinna, City Clutch, $425
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