Fashion · Travel

London for 24 Hours

 

96A16846-F3E1-483E-8DF3-37385E8DC24F

 

Francophile or anglophile?  I’m not certain which but I love both Paris and London and jump at any chance to visit.  This month I met a dear friend in London on our way to a girls weekend in Ireland (more to come on Ireland in a later post).  While she was finishing up work, I had 24 hours to play in London.

Normally, I opt for the Sofitel.  It is near Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square making it perfect for a short walk to museums and galleries. This time it was Mayfair and the Beaumont. What a treat!  A small boutique hotel in fashionable Mayfair where they cater to your every need. It was perfect.

I was taken to my room immediately upon arrival after an overnight flight arriving at Heathrow. I’d had an unfortunate accident with a neighboring passenger’s glass of champagne which ended up all over me for the flight. Beware passengers attempting to get to their seats with more than two carryon items.  All I wanted was a shower and fresh clothes. The first thing I noticed was the decadent bath with the heated floor.  My jet lag was an immediate afterthought.

Refreshed with a shower and clean clothes, I was off to the V&A.  It is my favorite museum!  If you love the Tudors it is a must see stop for you.  In prior visits I’ve spent hours wondering the Tudor galleries.  This time I was headed for the Dior and Quant exhibitions  I’d seen the Dior exhibit in Paris but wanted to see the British modifications  I was not disappointed.  Princess Margaret’s gown is to die for as are the Dior London parts of the exhibit  Absolutely fascinating

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

From there it was to the Mary Quant exhibition.  I’m not certain which was my favorite.  Would that the Met take their lead for their next fashion exhibition . . . .  The Mary Quant clothes looked so wearable and comfortable.  I loved the jersey dresses and the rain slickers.  I’d wear them today!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

From there I walked the two short blocks to Harrods and the food hall for a bite to tide me over.  The food hall is a sight not to be missed  anything you can think of to eat is there.

Back to Mayfair then to explore.  Hyde Park is there if the weather holds.  Mayfair is perfect for people and car watching with every conceivable car dealership there.  It’s also shoppers nirvana.

After exploring Mayfair, I was off to the Ritz.  Someday I’m going to book tea there as it always looks incredible.  As it was after 4, I opted for the Rivoli Bar and a French 75, or as they call it a Rivoli 75.  A wonderfully refreshing mix of champagne, gin, lemon, and simple syrup  it is a favorite of mine.  I opted for an early dinner with my second.  They have a lovely Caesar salad with grilled chicken – hold the anchovies.  From there, I walked back to the Beaumont enjoying more of Mayfair.

The time difference was beginning to catch up with me but I was still slightly hungry.   I opted for dessert at the bar in the hotel – doughnuts with a raspberry sauce.  They were delicious.

AFDB594F-608D-4C55-BED1-B654DB4E90663DAB69D0-6881-488B-ACA8-EDDEEBD4609D

I returned to my room and crashed  waking up the next morning for my flight to Dublin. The Beaumont once again rose to the occasion.  They have a wonderful breakfast set out with pain as chocolate, juice, tea, or for me coke complete with travel cups and boxes

 

 

Beach · Fashion · Skin care · summer · Travel

Swimsuit Attire

 

D7AF8425-04C4-42CC-802A-99926F06CA74

I love the beach and pool and opt for any chance to spend time there.  Recently I decided it was time to replace some of my favorite pieces.  After years of constant wear they’d seen better days.  That begged the question – what to replace them with?  I’m also very conscious of the sun.  My father suffered from skin cancer and was my partner in crime when it came to the beach so I opt for sunscreen, hats, and sun shirts when I’m thinking out side.  For more on my sunscreen odyssey see my post at Sunscreen plus the hat!    As an update I’m going with COOLA!

The swim suit.  I love Tory Burch’s suits and have worn the ones I have out.  They hold up well even after years of use.  I wanted something new though.   I tried a new one made by Marysia.  I loved it enough to purchase a second.  One tip I got from a friend was to purchase the same suit in different colors so the strap lines are in the same place.  I’ve taken that tip to heart.  I have the same Tory suit in navy and black and now the same Marysia suit in white and black and a two piece with the same top.

After settling on a new swimsuit, I decided I needed a refresh on my coverup.  They were also showing signs of wear.  I decided that I wanted a sun shirt.  I purchased a lovely swing style one from Mott with a 50 spf and I found a men’s long sleeve sun shirt in the tennis pro shop that I’ve co-opted.  I wear it with a terry polo mini skirt I’ve had for ages. The mini skirt needs a refresh but I’ve not found a replacement for it – yet!  Although not a sun shirt I also found a lovely tunic style shirt to wear for yoga that I’m giving a trial run as a cover up.  My favorite new addition, however, is a lovely tunic from Gretchen Scott.  It is hand embroidered and simply lovely.

My beach attire would not be complete without a hat, flip flops, and sun glasses.  I usually take both a large floppy hat and a baseball cap or visor in my bag.   The cap and visor are great when the wind whips up and the floppy hat goes flying.  The floppy hat with a wide brim is my preference though to keep the sun off my face.  I’ve used a black hat for many years but at the end of last summer I discovered Peter Beaton’s hats. I have a lovely new one with a wide brim, black blow and pink under rim.  It is amazing. I opt for Channel sunnies.  There is something about the lens they use that makes them perfect for use outside.  For flip flops I am addicted to Tory’s basic black.  I have the traditional ones and the wedge ones.  The wedges are amazing and add a little something to the outfit.

My final mention is to Buckhead Betties for my suit bag.  There is nothing worse than carrying a wet suit.  I discovered a travel pouch designed for carrying your wet suit at Buckhead Betties.  The lining is waterproof and perfect for a wet suit (or your wet hair towel).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Beach · Fashion · Food · interior design · Travel

Charleston, South Carolina

 

354ECABC-1CB0-447D-BFE8-0C1C5E1AE433

Growing up Charleston was my second home.  My Mom’s family lives there and has for generations.  So when Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, or the summer rolled around, I’d find myself in a car headed to Charleston.  There is something special about the low country.  It is like this warm familiar embrace.  A feeling of peace envelopes me when I find myself in Charleston.

One thing I love to do is wander the streets below Broad.  The architecture is spectacular and the secret gardens that peek out from behind iron gates make you want to grab a cocktail and enjoy.

 

Recently I ventured back for the day and enjoyed the Charleston Sympathy Orchestra Design House followed by lunch and shopping on King Street.

The design house was wonderful.  A typical Charleston single house renovated as a fund-raiser.  I walked away with so many ideas.  Next was lunch on the river at Fleet Landing. The food was delicious , location amazing, but service – not so much.  My tip is to call ahead for reservations or pick one of the other fabulous restaurants in downtown Charleston.  There are many.  A long time family favorite is Poogan’s Porch.  Try the crab cakes!

King Street is and has been the center of shopping for generations.  In addition to Louis Vuitton, Talbots, Kate Spade and the usual luxury stops, you can find wonderful boutiques.  This time I discovered Gretchen Scott and J McLaughlin.  If you find yourself in need of a snack while you shop, check out the French Chocolate Cafe on Society Street (think King and Society).

There is so much to do in Charleston. Take a stroll through White Point Gardens and along the Battery.  Jump into a car and make your way to one of the many beaches on Folly, Isle of Palms, Sullivans, Seabrook, or Kiawah Islands.

Decorating · Fashion · interior design

The incredible light bulb

E10CA9B7-8E41-415D-8110-3E82C7FEA615

I’m on a decorating kick.  Last year I purchased a well-preserved arts and crafts style home originally built in 1919.  The first floor is in wonderful condition but the second floor needs some TLC.  I’m slowly working on it one piece at a time.

My latest discovery is the crystal lightbulb.  I “borrowed” this idea from a dear friend.The bulbs look like cut crystal.  They are slightly more expensive than your regular bulb but if you are looking for an inexpensive way to “kick it up a notch”, this is it. The bulbs are available on Amazon and Lowe’s.

I love them in my bathroom fixture.  The shine through the glass shades highlighting the cut “crystal”.  They also look beautiful when you look up at the light.  Instead of viewing a naked bulb you see this beautiful “crystal”.  Something so simple as this small detail and it makes such a difference.

 

Exercise · Fashion · Skin care · Travel

Summer is here!

1920C9FA-6229-4DE2-BC1E-83897A313D3A

I don’t believe that I’ve ever anticipated a summer as much as I anticipated this one.  Snow in April was my undoing.  I love all four seasons but I was ready for a spring that never quite seemed to arrive.  This made me long for summer and it is here!

Hot days, warm nights, long walks on the beach and visits with family and friends are all on my schedule for this summer.  The pace seems slower in the summer; time to enjoy life in a way I don’t seem to manage in the rest of the year.

I’m prepping for the summer.  Here is my checklist:

  • Mani/Pedi in preparation for flip flops and shorts
  • A case of new tennis balls as I plan to spend hours on the court.
  • 50 sunscreen  –   I’m serious about sunscreen.  I go with 50 for most of the summer and titanium dioxide as an ingredient.  I love to spend time in the sun either walking, playing tennis, or spending time on the beach or at the pool but I don’t want to risk skin cancer so it is time to lather on the sun screen.
  • Sisley Lavender body scrub for the shower.  Nothing like it to make you feel great post outing and make the bath smell wonderful.
  • A visit to the bookstore and audible for beach reads.  Audio books are a must as it is a drive to the coast.
  • Review beach gear – suits, hat, and bag to see if new additions or replacements are required.  1DF512E4-6941-4CE8-9504-CC36D58B1B00
  • Trip to the farmer’s market for fresh veggies!

What is on your summer prep checklist?

B4A7168E-C569-4FE1-B5CF-F6DD0AA3CD33

 

Etiquette · Fashion · Uncategorized

White Jeans, Diamonds, and Pearls: Fashion Rules or Fashion Faux Pas?

IMG_0608Growing up my Mother and Grandmothers lived by a series of  fashion rules they considered inviolate.

1.  No white after Labor Day or before Easter.

2.  The same rule applied to patent leather.

3.  Do not mix navy and black.

4.  Pearls were to be worn during the day and diamonds at night.

5.  Purses matched shoes.

Most importantly, you dressed to go shopping, do lunch, or go to the grocery.  Lululemon, was a definite no in the eyes of my Mother and Grandmothers.  I’ll never forget my sophomore year of college.  Sent home by the infirmary with strep throat, I arrived in sweatpants and a UNC sweatshirt; the outfit of any self-respecting college student.  My mother was horrified.  When it was time to return to college my Dad intervened on my behalf as I attempted to leave for the drive back to Chapel Hill in sweats. Mom was distinctly offended by my tee-shirt and sweatpants.  She ultimately relented to my Father’s wisdom that I would only be seen walking from the car to my dorm room.  Somehow this wisdom ruled in my favor.

I routinely break rules 3, 4 and 5.  My go to earrings are diamond studs.  I wear them day and night along with a necklace made from my grandmother’s engagement ring.  So much for the rule of no daytime diamonds.  Diamond hoops are my fall back to my studs.

My mother gifted me with beautiful pearls that are also part of my daytime rotation.  Interestingly enough, I rarely wear pearls at an evening event.  Maybe that part of my fashion education took hold?  More likely, I have dressy earrings I prefer for evening events.

I love navy.  I think that may be a southern thing but prior to living in New York, navy was a wardrobe staple.  Then I moved to the City.  There is something special about living in New York.  After about six months, I noticed that my closet was full of black.  Then I found myself mixing navy and black.  I love the combination.  Maybe it fits me, southern with a love of the City sophistication?  If the Parisians and Coco can mix navy and black, it can’t be all that much of a fashion faux pas, can it?

I routinely rebel at being matchy, matchy.  I usually select my bag based on what I need for the day.  I grab a tote for work days and a smaller bag when the occasion permits.  My bag tends to be in the same color scheme of my outfit but rarely matches my 👠 (shoes).

The white and patent before Easter and after Labor Day, this is the one rule that I find to be unshakable.  I love white jeans.  I live in them, as appropriate, in the summer but come Labor Day, they get put away.  For those that might suggest there is an exception for warm climates, it does not fly. Have you ever been to Charleston?  This is home to the maternal side of my family and the white rule stands firm no matter how high the needle on the thermometer registers.  Somehow the white rule is the one that I still see as a faux pas. It was enforced by my sorority with the clear indication that one should know better.   In the end, I guess some rules are inviolate.

P.S.  Lululemon is a regular thing in my house.

Fashion · Skin care · Travel

How to thrive when your bag takes a trip of its own!

 

IMG_0586

A good friend of mine always worries about the airline losing her bag.  I’ve never fully considered this until my most recent trip overseas.  On a trip that was jinxed from the start and when everything one might imagine going wrong does, what do you do when you finally sink down in a chair in your hotel room with  only your carry-on and a blizzard outside?

By the time I arrived at the hotel, I was exhausted.  I normally sleep on an overnight flight but sleep eluded me on this flight.  Then the re-booked connecting flights, the train, the weather and the new destination of London.  All I wanted was a hot bath and a change of clothes.  Of course the majority of my clothes were on a holiday of their own  – if only my bag could speak.

In my carry-on bag, I had basic essentials.  My makeup bag, brush, toiletries, a wrap I always include in case the flight is cold.  It always is. Things were not looking good for me.  While the idea of shopping for a new outfit is normally appealing, I’d been up for over twenty-four hours,  there was a blizzard outside, and evening was quickly approaching.  A quick word with the concierge and I was out the door to procure essentials.  Just down the block was a chain store.  I ducked into it delighted to find a clearance sale.  That might be interesting.  I grabbed a cotton tank, a long sleeve white tee, and a pair of leggings.

Next up was the pharmacy.  While I had the majority of my toiletries, I still needed a couple of things.  This was beginning to be fun.  I had no clue what one would find in  a London pharmacy in travel size containers.  I grabbed what I needed and journeyed on to one more store for socks.  I desperately wanted to get out of my shoes and socks to the point it was becoming an obsession with me.

Essentials procured, I was back to the hotel for a wonderful dinner and most importantly a hot bath.

Three days later, my bag finally arrived; a bit worse for the wear.

I am happy to say, I love my new purchases.  They were serendipitous and basic but they worked with what I had.  The tee and tank were wonderfully soft.   I was able to pair them with the sweater I had in my bag and the cardigan I’d worn on the plane.  I eventually broke down and purchased a beautiful sweater I saw as I made my way back to the hotel after a visit to the National Gallery.  I confess, I probably would have purchased the sweater regardless of my situation.  The greater point being, I added for relatively minimal expense a few basic items which enabled me to thrive with what I had.   Did I really need a checked bag or is a carry on all I truly needed?  Here is the secret I learned – I was fine with what I had.

I confess, that I was elated when I opened my bag to find all the things I’d packed.  No more washing things out overnight and leaving them to dry.  Oh the conflict- minimal versus comfort!  I know what I will have in my carry-on for the next flight.  I learn and adapt.

So my capsul wardrobe ended on consisting of :  black  cashmere  turtleneck, grey cardigan, grey poncho style sweater,  white long sleeve tee, white tank, black leggings, and jeans.  The  color scheme of black, grey, and white served me well.  I was able to mix and match for the occasion.

Reunited !

IMG_0588