Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Things that just plain rock

One Favorite Thing:
The Sartorialist

Sartorial: of or relating to a tailor, tailoring or tailored clothing.

I will let the pictures from this blog speak for themselves:

This blog has influenced how I view fashion around and within myself. It is my daily dose of inspiration. Thank  you, Scott Schuman.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Things that change

One Favorite Thing:
New locks

All right, I'm calling on all you fashionable, fun & sassy people out in the blog-o-sphere .... should I or shouldn't I cut my hair? Right now, I have long, slightly wavy brown hair. Below is a picture taken just a couple weeks ago.

And it's been this way for years. The last time I've had anything but long, wavy hair was about four years ago. I'm ready for a change. But conflicted, because I know that natural long hair is fabulous. What do you think about a short-medium bob? 

I would want the cut to be long & sleek on one side and have shorter layers on the other. I wouldn't go short enough to where you could see my hairline on the back of my neck, probably just short enough that the long part on one side would graze my collar bone. What do you think?? Should I take the plunge? Or will I regret it?

Photos: Zimbio & Voila (Rihanna & Lauren Conrad)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Things that smell good & look pretty

One Favorite Thing:

As fall pervades our lives up here in Western Washington, thinking about luscious fragrant flowers brightens my day. There is something magical about peonies, those bright orbs of aromatic petals. Apparently my fascination with peonies is shared by many and goes back thousands of years. 

La Pivoinerie D'Aoust spells it out: 
"Arguably the first use of peonies by people was for their medicinal value. There is evidence that peonies were used extensively in both the Far East and Europe as long as two thousand years ago. Many parts of the plant are purported to have medicinal properties. Roots, bark, seeds and flowers were all believed to be of some medicinal use.

In texts describing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) three peony preparations are well known. The first is Mu Dan Pi, which is made from the bark of tree peonies, and is said to cool the blood as well as have antibacterial properties. Chi Shao Yao is made from the root of the herbaceous peony P. lactiflora and is also said to cool the blood and relieve pain. Bai Shao Yao is made from the same roots but with the bark removed and is said to nourish the blood.

Peony seeds have been swallowed whole to prevent bad dreams or used in a poultice to relieve stomach aches. Flower petals have been dried and used to make a tea that was reputed to soothe a cough. They were considered a panacea. In the middle ages there where not many ailments that peonies were not thought to soothe!"

There is something so understated, simple & elegant about a bundle of peonies in a simple glass vase. What is your favorite flower?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Things at Goodwill

One Favorite Thing:
A shopping spree at Goodwill

I just found out what happens when I'm let loose in Goodwill with unlimited time & an unlimited budget. It's both amazing and awful. The good news: I can share beyond fabulous Goodwill finds with you for the next year. Almost. The bad news: Apparently there is such a thing as spending too much money at Goodwill. Maybe? The jury is still out on that one.

Today, I'd like to introduce you to this vintage globe with a stand I found for $9.99. Just a few days ago, I was *this* close to buying a nearly $40 vintage globe on Etsy. The only reason I didn't go through with the purchase was because I got distracted & the session timed out. Shiny things! Needless to say, I'm darn glad I got distracted. Because this vintage globe is ten times cooler. And four times cheaper.

Goodwill, I love you.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Things that nourish

One Favorite Thing:
Pumpkin Spice Lattes

When the air starts getting crisp and its officially sweater season, the first place my mind goes is to pumpkin spice lattes. I broke in fall by getting my first with a Venti nonfat Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. How good it was. I have since moderated down to a normal beverage size and have branched out to the local coffee stands that dot every street corner in Western Washington. We are the home of Starbucks, after all. I'm pretty sure that most of us will need caffeine intravenous drip when we reach old age. And I'm plenty ok with that. 

The Kitchn has a great DIY pumpkin spice latte recipe that tastes as close to Starbucks as you can get!

Pumpkin Spice Latte
makes 1-2 servings
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin OR 1 teaspoon of Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup (your choice)
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute - you can halve this amount
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-2 shots espresso (about 1/4 cup of espresso or 1/2 cup of strong brewed coffee if you don't have an espresso machine.)
In a saucepan combine milk, pumpkin and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring, until steaming. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and spice, transfer to a blender and process for 15 seconds until foamy. If you don't have a blender, don't worry about it - just whisk the mixture really well with a wire whisk.
Pour into a large mug or two mugs. Add the espresso on top.
Optional: Top with whipped cream and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, or cinnamon on top.

Yum! What's your favorite fall treat?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Things at Goodwill

One Favorite Thing:
A mystery blazer

At Goodwill a couple of weeks ago, I came upon this mystery blazer for $4.99. No tags, no brand & no clues as to its origin. Which leaves me dying to know - what is its story? Where is it from? Regardless, I love it. It's a chic & sassy addition to my wardrobe that goes with many a things and spruces up an outfit with its texture & pop of burnished gold from the buttons. 

Oh Goodwill, how I love thee. Any good vintage finds lately?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Things that just plain rock

One Favorite Thing:
Newspaper Association of America's new campaign

"Be able to find Iran on a map. Know what the city council is up to behind closed doors. Find out how to make an icebox peanut butter pie from scratch. Get it all in the newspaper, print or digital, because a little depth looks great on you."

News isn’t really news anymore. In fact, news has become something else entirely. Talking heads pass as news. Sound bites pass as news. Opinions pass as news. Snazzy graphics pass as news. It’s time to make a stand for the one place you can still get ‘news news.’ The kind with substance. The kind that makes you feel smarter when you finish reading it. The kind that makes you a more interesting person to talk to, a savvier shopper, a more engaged citizen. That’s the kind of news we’re talking about. The kind that’s written for people who want more than just a headline. The kind you can only find in newspapers – print or digital.
The Newspaper. Get it.
Because Smart is the New Sexy.

Well played, Newspaper Association of America, well played. Here's what the NY Times reports on this campaign. So, do you want to go out & buy a newspaper now?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Things that embellish

One Favorite Thing:
Earring inspiration

There is something so infinitely sexy about earrings on a woman. I recently took note of two earring types from some of my favorite television characters and plan to incorporate these sassy looks into my jewelry habit.

Gloria on Modern Family rocking bright, chunky chandelier earrings:

I found a similar pair at BaubleBar for $26. 
I also really like this pair of Roberta Chiarella earrings at MAX & CHLOE for $58.

And Blair on Gossip Girl flaunting Bounkit drop earrings:

Bounkit is beyond fabulous but for those of us who can't yet afford to rock their jewels, here are a few options:

These earrings at BaubleBar, appropriately called Milky Way Drops, are reminiscent of Bounkit's but priced to leave a much smaller dent in your wallet at $36.
This pair of chunky drop earrings from ASOS is pretty fab at $22.
These drop earrings from BaubleBar are very glam & priced at $120.

And if you wish to dream, just visit Bounkit's website.

So beautiful. Swoon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Things that just plain rock

One Favorite Thing:
Koko the Gorilla

Koko the gorilla understands more than 1,000 American Sign Language signs and around 2,000 American English words. Naysayers argue that Koko does not understand the meaning of what she is communicating and that her expressions are used solely to elicit a reward. If that were the case, how would one explain her stringing together words she knows to describe an object she doesn't know the word for - such as 'ring', which she called a "finger bracelet" or a 'mask', which she called an "eye hat". 

Koko is also one of the few non-humans to keep a pet. Her relationship with her kitten, All Ball (which she named because she felt he was round), was featured in the 1987 children's book, Koko's Kitten


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Things that nourish

One Favorite Thing:
Homegrown goodness

I had the pleasure of dining at my parent's house last night and the appetizer they concocted was too good not to share.

Tomatoes from their own garden with fresh basil, mozzarella, olive oil & balsamic vinegar. YUM! This was paired with an organic olive baguette from a local bread shop.

Had any scrumptious food lately?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Things at Goodwill

One Favorite Thing:
Vintage Lamp at Goodwill

One of my favorite past times is digging through the bins & racks at Goodwill. A recent trip unearthed this fabulous vintage lamp, which I outfitted with a chocolate-colored faux ostrich lampshade.

Too fun. What finds have you uncovered at thrift stores?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Things that juxtapose

One Favorite Thing:
Where I was born; where I grew up

Way back in the fabulous 80s, I was born in Tucson, AZ. At five years old, I moved with my family to Washington state. The stark contrast between the two areas struck me during a visit back to my home state this weekend.

Are there any sharp disparities between a past & a present in your life?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Things that move

One Favorite Thing:
How to Say It for Women: Communicating with Confidence and Power Using the Language of Success by Phyllis Mindell

I started reading this book last weekend and it has seriously changed the way I think about my vocabulary. Language is power and weak language can seriously impede our success. A 2009 study by David R. Hekman of the University of Washington found that white men continue to earn 25 percent more than equally-well performing women and minorities. Using powerful language can give us women a leg-up on workplace success.

Building upon the book & further research at Open Forum (, I discovered five weak words that, if eliminated from our vocabulary, will empower us to action:

  • But: replace with 'and'. Using 'but' in a sentence such as "I would like to run a marathon but I am not in shape"dismisses the effort and turns the 'but' into an excuse. If you replace it with an 'and', it provokes the question of how you can accomplish said task.
  • Want: replace with 'am'. Wanting isn't a call to action. Using 'am' puts you in the drivers seat, such as changing "I want to apply for that job" to "I am going to apply for that job".
  • Hope: replace with 'intend'. As the author of the article at Open Forum said, "Hope without action will leave you empty-handed." 
  • Should: replace with 'will'. Should is passive, 'will' gives you control of the outcome. Case in point: "I should work out more" vs. "I will work out more".
  • Try: replace with 'will'. Using 'will' instead of 'try' gives you no opt out. "I will replace my weak vocabulary with strong power words!"
Phyllis suggested using strong verbs instead of fluffy adjectives in our daily vocabulary. Here is a great website at Job Skills Information that has more power verbs than one could probably ever remember in a given day: Phyllis suggested posting a list of strong verbs near your desk so if you ever are at a loss for a word, you can pick from the power list! The more you use power verbs, the more ingrained in your vocabulary they will become.

Speaking well is a life skill. I highly recommend How to Say It for Women by Phyllis Mindell.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Things that purr

One Favorite Thing:
My 8-month old kitten, Lucca

An ode to my kitten, the furry ball of love that greets me at the front door when I get home from work every day. Who head bumps me on the forehead as way of greeting. Who gives me wet nose kisses. Who makes me so stinkin' happy.

Some particularly amusing kitty quotes:
"Dogs come when they're called; cats take a message and get back to you later." ~Mary Bly
"Dogs have owners; cats have staff." ~Samuel Butler
"Cat: a pygmy lion who loves mice, hates dogs and patronizes human beings." ~Oliver Herford
"If cats could talk, they wouldn't." ~Nan Porter

Having a pet to coddle, love and bring up from infancy is one of the most fulfilling things I've experienced. Who is your special fur ball?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Things that move

One Favorite Thing:
Electron Boy & Make A Wish Foundation

To move, according to Miriam Webster, is both a transitive and an intransitive verb that has between 8-9 uses depending on its verb type. Those uses range from:

  • To change the position or place of
  • To put into activity or rouse up from inactivity
  • To stir the emotions, feelings or passions of
Today I'd like to share with you a video that is particularly moving ... it's 6 minutes long and well worth a watch. It'll cause you to laugh & to cry. Here we have Electron Boy, 14 year old Erik who lives with cancer & half a heart. His wish was to be a superhero. 

What would be your wish?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Things that embellish

One Favorite Thing:
A DIY pearl collar necklace

Women love accessories; the embellishment of self. Last night, I undertook my first fall project:

Today I am adorned. It was enough of a success for me to test the waters at work. It was fairy easy to make - it took about 20 minutes. Just enough time to sit through a 2 Broke Girls episode and giggle along while draping pearls on the soon-to-be necklace.

Note to self on the next one: not such a deep V on the neck.

The best part about creating such necklaces ... the sky is the limit! I'm thinking colorful ribbons, assorted beads, jewels & stones.

What's on the list for your first fall project?