Beach · Fashion · Food · interior design · Travel

Charleston, South Carolina

 

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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

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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!

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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?

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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!

 

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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 !

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Fashion · Organization

What is your “It” bag?

IMG_0574Sex and the City made certain bags cult classics, if they weren’t already.  The Birkin and the Kelly are certainly “it” bags but I’m asking a more nuanced question here.  What makes a bag or a style of bag your own personal go to bag?  Confession time, I’m something of a bag connoisseur.  I love handbags and have since I was around three years old and was gifted a Chanel inspired bag as part of my Easter ensemble.  I loved that bag and cried and cried when I discovered my Mom “gifted” it to a younger child years later.

I have many lovely handbags but I find that, time and time again, I return to a particular type.  My personal “it” style is an unstructured tote.  The Louis Vuitton Neverfull and the Goyard St. Louis fit the profile perfectly and are the bags I return to daily.  This style is perfect for the “dump”.  In addition to wallet, phone and keys, it holds files, an iPad or laptop, leggings for after work yoga or Pilates or barre class and about anything else I think I’ll need between the time I leave for work and return home.  This style also makes a perfect carry-on bag.  I can’t count the number of times my St. Louis has been stuffed under the seat in front of me on an air plane.

While the unstructured tote is my go to bag of choice, I also have a soft spot for a hobo style bag and a bucket bag.  Goyard’s fidji / hobo bag is a favorite.  Smaller than the St. Louis or the Neverfull, the hobo bag is slightly smaller but still holds everything I might need sans laptop and has the added advantage of a zipper.

Next on my list of favorite bag styles is the bucket bag.  Celine’s cabas /tote is in my bag rotation.  The bucket bag is deep and the chief flaw is its depth.  It is easy for an item to fall to the bottom and get lost but it has the same advantages of an unstructured tote.  It is another “dump” bag.

Do you see the common characteristics?  My personal “it” style bag needs to be:

  • light because I’m going to stuff it;
  • discrete; and
  • able to accommodate the dump because I’m going to fill it with everything I need for a day in my life.

So what are the characteristics that make a bag your own personal “it” bag?

Fashion

The Capsule Wardrobe

I keep hearing about creating a capsule wardrobe.  As I understand it, the idea is to embrace minimalism and concentrate on quality pieces that work together to make fabulous outfits.  I love the concept but confess that I’m having trouble with the execution.

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This fall I promised myself that I was limiting my purchases to items that met two criteria.  The first criteria was that they were basics and quality such that they would stand the test of time.  The second criteria required that any item must work with things already in my closet.  This worked well.  I walked away from some lovely items knowing that I already had similar ones in my closet or that they would not stand the test of time.  The unintended effects were great as in money in my bank account and the re-discovery of items that I loved but were no longer being worn, like my favorite black cashmere sweater.  I’ve had a ton of fun mixing old, forgotten, favorites in with new pieces. I tend towards dimple pieces that I can accessorize with simple pieces of jewelry or a scarf.   I am sold on the concept of fewer quality pieces that stand the test of time.  I also realized that my favorite pieces seem to be those that I found in January at the clearance sales at Saks and Bergdorf’s.  What is better than finding a treasure at 75% off.

In thinking about spring, I’m now trying to decide what direction to take my capsule wardrobe.  For the winter it is somewhat easy, I lean towards  pieces in neutral tones of black, navy, red, and gray.  Cashmere is a favorite and add in jeans and leggings and I’m done.  Booties, boots, and ballet flats are a must for me.

So what for the spring and summer?  I tend to be slightly more casual in the summer than the winter.  I’m thinking white denim and J McLaughlin’s Catalina cloth?  Regardless, I’m embracing the less is more and staying  with black, white, blue and red and maybe pink and yellow or orange for the spring and summer!  Cotton replaces cashmere, otherwise, stay tuned.