Friday, March 30, 2007

what i want today: cowboy weekender bag by cath kidston

whenever i'm feeling especially girly, my mind naturally wanders to the queen of all things feminine: cath kidston. based in the UK, cath makes girly her staple - seriously, you've never seen so many floral prints in one place since your grandmother's kitchen. but the thing is, she does it with funk and sass....and it's completely adorable! sigh...makes me miss living in london, only a hop, skip and a bus ride away from her shop.

while i love all of her bags and accessories, the one i'm coveting today (in a big, big way) is this completely darling weekender bag. made of indestructible teflon-coated oilcloth. with cute little cowboys, horses and yes, covered wagons running all over it. i just adore it!!

not all of the beautiful things on her UK site are available in the states (wow, this is the second day i've had to say this...must blog about something american tomorrow). but, if you fall in love with something and can't find it on their US site, they will ship to the US from the UK...for a hefty fee. fortunately, this darling is available on their US site (hurray!)...and you can pick it up for $110 right here.

PS - you can also find a few of cath kidston's homewares at

Thursday, March 29, 2007

what i got today: 'by the lake' cup & saucer sets

i came across these little darlings in an old daily candy deals, and ordered them, even with the exorbitant overseas shipping from the store in the UK that carries them (i decided they qualified as a "household" purchase). they finally arrived last night, and i'm completely in love with them. so unique, and they manage to be both sophisticated and fun at the same time. the saucer is silver-plated, and is meant to be the "lake"....the design on the cup is trees, and has either a tiny little bird in a tree or a tiny horse drinking from the lake - and i adore them both! you can also get a version with a beetle, but i'm not fond enough of bugs to have them with my morning cappucino.

anyway, they're so cute that i just had to go seek them out stateside so i could share them with you all (besides, the UK seller has sold out of the little bird cup, which is my favorite!). the designer (ChilliChilly) has a few other styles as well, including this little froggy version that i think is super cute. but the bird and horse designs just stole my heart. they're $20 each, but hey, if they inspire me to drink my cappucino at home instead of at crackbucks for even a week, they pay for themselves!

Monday, March 26, 2007

weekend report: red ostrich flats

look at the cuteness that followed me home this weekend! red ostrich ballet flats from london sole, a company that does nothing but ballets, and does them incredibly well. they're known for making several different fits, and zillions of different colors/leathers/styles - if you're looking for a ballet, and haven't been able to find it anywhere, you have to check here. they're not the cheapest out there (mine were just under $200), but they'll last for years, and mold to your foot, making them the most comfy thing under the sun. they've recently opened a boutique in san francisco (on maiden lane, if you're local), and i've been dying to get down there to try some of their gorgeous styles in person. one little caveat: most of their styles ran on the small side, so i'd likely go up a size if i were ordering online (also, most of their shoes have an actual drawstring, meaning they can be tightened up if necessary). as i said, they offer several different fits - i liked the henrietta best, as it has a very low vamp, but the pirouette was also very cute.

seriously, aren't they the most darling things you've ever seen?? i've been eyeing these for a while, so they may be next on the list...although, i tried these on at the shop, and they were incredibly fun too!

Friday, March 23, 2007

what i want today: personalized stationery by iomoi

i'm the first to admit that i'm a huge stationery snob. i love it. i love gorgeous, thick paper with a nice texture to it. i love the feeling that comes from sending out a card that has your name engraved on it. and, in this age of technology, i love sending an actual card to someone - i know receiving them makes my whole day!

i've had iomoi's stationery on my radar for a while, but i got an email from them this morning, and as i was browsing their site for the umpteenth time, i fell in love all over again. everything they sell is amazingly fun, but i especially love their personalized note cards. you get to choose not just name vs. initials, but a picture or decorative image that really sings to you. the only hard part is that there are about 14 that sing to me! the one above seems like it would be the most versatile, 'all purpose' option - i could use this one as a thank-you card, a "hi, how are you card", any number of things. and it wouldn't be too weird to send it to someone that wasn't a girlfriend.

but really, life isn't supposed to be all-purpose, now is it? how fun would the eiffel tower be? or the black stiletto - classic and sexy at the same time! or hey, you want something a bit more traditional? they have classic monogram styles too...and they've even managed to make those fun and different!

and we can't overlook the gift-giving opportunity here....i squealed just a little when i saw the darling mama-to-be cards. what a great present for a newly pregnant girlfriend! as would these , which would be so much more fun to send out than those regular boring baby thank you notes.

this wouldn't be a post from me if there weren't a discount code floating around. today through monday, use code springthing2007 to get 20% off any order over $100. hey, i never said their stuff was cheap...but most personalized stationery isn't. and this is much cuter than your run-of-the-mill monogram dreariness, don't you agree?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

the first signs of summer....

i've been a little blasé about clothes's been all about accessories for me. but, as i was leafing through the new shopbop catalog that just arrived at my door, i saw a light at the end of the tunnel. there's something about this gorgeous ella moss "corsica" minidress that just sings to me in all the right ways. i love that it has that gauzy look without being sheer, and it has the crochet/lace detail without being too precious. and the length is that "just right" in-between to work as a babydoll dress (on the more svelte among us) or as a tunic over shorts or jeans. i can see this piece fast becoming a staple of my summer wardrobe, which is why i think it will be my first spring clothing purchase of the year.

it's already sold out at shopbop, sadly, but can be yours for $154 at saks, and you'll get free shipping through sunday with code WANTIT.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

deal of the day: 25% off at the laundress

time to share one of my favorite recent discoveries - washing my favorite sweaters at home. that's right - no more $300 sweaters coming home either stuck to one of those adhesive pants hanger things, or worse, hung on a (gasp) wire hanger. and my cashmere has never looked so good. truly, the laundress has easily cut my drycleaning bill in half....and my cashmere sweaters (yes, i now hand wash them) have never been softer, fluffier, or happier.

normally, i buy their products from other sites, because they charge a pretty hefty shipping fee, and we know how i feel about that. but this week, using code DCDEALS (thank you, daily candy!), everything on is 25% off. that's more than enough to cover the shipping, plus you'll actually have the ability to choose from their full line of products, and not get stuck with a scent you don't love, just because it's all that another store has in stock.

i love their wool and cashmere shampoo - and it has the added bonus of having a bit of cedar extract, keeping your gorgeous cashmere moth-free all summer. i'm also completely addicted to their stain solution, which effortlessly removed a grease stain from the bottom of my insanely fabulous burberry cashmere coat with nary a trace. i still don't have a cleaner i'd trust with that coat.

and if you're just too scared to put your favorite sweater anywhere near a tub of water, well, just watch their handy-dandy instructional video. even my insane paranoia was tamed after seeing them actually go through the process. and it really does work! these ladies are definitely on to something.

everything i've tried so far has been fabulous, so pick something up while it's on sale and give them a try - i think you'll be hooked!

Monday, March 19, 2007

item of the day: a post script on shoes

these didn't make the cut for the spring shoes post (even though they were my faves from the bunch) because they didn't meet the price threshold - by a measly $18. but, rules are rules. doesn't stop me from featuring them today, though!!

i am so in love with the colors on these stunning flats, i can't even begin to tell you. and, while they do break my 'no suede shoes, ever' rule, i think they're well worth it. the colors are so rich and fun - i can imagine them going with all sorts of great spring outfits, especially for those of you that can't bring yourselves to wear pastels just because the weather turned warm. and the gold trim really brings out the luxe factor, making them look much more expensive than they actually are - a feature i always love.

as is too often the case, anthropologie has seen fit not to stock my size in these beauties. so, could someone shop vicariously for me?? pick them up here, and wear them out with your favorite jeans immediately!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

spring accessories for the rest of us: shoes

so many shoes, so little time! i promised shoes under $100, and boy do i have a fabulous crop of beauties for you, so let's get to it!

flats: as they have been for several years now, flats (and especially ballet flats) are everywhere for spring. and the good news is, they're incredibly easy to score for prices well under our $100 limit.

first things first, what's not to love about these ballet flat espadrilles by banana republic? incredibly comfy, removable ankle wrap, completely darling toile pattern? they're about as perfect as it gets for a true spring winner, especially with their $78 pricetag.

these cuties just scream warm weather to me, but they're a great carryover shoe - they'll be perfect with jeans now, and great with cute little spring skirts in april. the peeptoe, the d'orsay style....they're so feminine, i can hardly stand it! only $62, by jeffrey campbell - and nordstrom is giving you free shipping on all shoes during march.

when it comes to flats, nothing's more classic than a ballet flat. and i have a couple of beauties for you. it was love at first sight when i laid eyes on these gorgeous champagne ballet flats by shellys london, which is something like the UK's answer to nine west. i love the little toe cap, and they have just enough shimmer to stand out, even though the color's incredibly neutral. i predict these will be your go-to pair for the entire season, and for $50, you can't ask for much more than that!

and, speaking of ballet flats, it's hard to go wrong with a classic pair in red patent...for under $20. these are such a bright, happy color that they're bound to carry over to your summer wardrobe as well. something tells me you won't get years of use from these beauties, but hey, if you're looking for an on-trend piece without spending a lot, these are the way to go!

wedges: a classic espadrille wedge just screams warm weather, but i think wedges are the ultimate spring shoe even if they're not made of rope :) after all, how are you going to attend that fabulous garden party/wedding/barbecue in heels? you'll spend the whole day sinking into the grass!

where to begin? how about with these adorable espadrille peep toe wedges from banana republic? i have the same shoe, in a flat style, from last summer, and i have to tell you they got more wear than any other summer shoe i owned last year - and i think the low wedge heel makes these even more wearable than last year's version. they also sold out faster than any other pair, so pick them up now for $68 :) they're available in all sorts of darling colors, but my favorite is this chocolate polka-dot pattern. floaty white blouse, linen pants, and these? classic chic.

these are just so girly and fun, they had to make the list. plus, you know i love a good target bargain, and these ankle strap rope wedges by isaac mizrahi are definitely the best of the bunch from target this spring. only $29 - which makes them pretty hard to argue with! they'll be perfect with the cute little spring skirt of your choice, and they're bound to match darn near anything.

okay, i'm probably stretching when i class these with the wedges, but i can't technically call them flats, now can i? these snakeskin peep toe flats by are by all black, a shoe designer i have a bit of a crush on right now. best of all, they're nearly 50% off right now at urban outfitters, bringing them in at a very comfy $79! available in 3 colors, but i just adore them in yellow - the color, the itty-bitty wooden wedge...just perfect.

flip-flops: i had to leave my favorite category for last. as much as i adore my cutesy spring shoes, the truth is that my favorite day every year is the first day it's okay to wear flip-flops outside without looking like a moron. so i'm thrilled to report that the day is finally here!

while my classic flip-flop staples are my jcrew capris and my havaianas, i'm thinking of adding these to my spring lineup. the color, the studs, the little bow...they just make me smile! the only thing i'm not crazy about is the price...$98 for flip-flops is a lot, i admit. but if past performance is any indication, i'll be wearing these babies at least twice a week between now and october...that's a pretty great "cost per wear" purchase, if you ask me.

you might think i've lost my mind here, but i'm a little bit in love with these rope thongs by a company called gurkees - they're supposed to be just amazingly comfortable, and hey, they're $26. they come in a few colors (traditional 'rope' color, pink, and a brown/tan combo), but i think they're most fashion-forward (if there is such a thing when it comes to flip-flops) in this fun canary yellow. they'd be just the thing for a beach vacation: comfortable, beach-friendly, and cute.

these vineyard sandals are another new favorite of mine. leather sole, and the grosgrain ribbon is lined in leather as well - so these will be a really durable choice for summer, unlike many other options out there. plus, how can you not love that darling raspberry ribbon? $48 at your friendly neighborhood jcrew.

whew! my work here is done...if you can't find something you love here, well, you might just be as hard to please as i am. but if that's you, drop a comment....i have other picks that didn't make the post :) like, for example, these.....and these....and......

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

as long as we're doing things we don't usually do here.....

wow, a beauty post and a personal post, all in the same day? craziness, i know :) but i told K that i'd post this so she could reply, and i'm a woman of my word. i hope the rest of you will as well...i think it's so common for us to get so comfortable with our friends that we don't know some of the basic, "what makes me, me" things about each other. so, please post a response to these quite fun questions, if only so that i'm sure people are still reading this crazy blog :)
1. Can you cook?
2. What was your dream growing up?
3. What talent do you wish you had?
4. Favorite place?
5. Favorite vegetable?
6. What was the last book you read?
7. What zodiac sign are you?
8. Any Tattoos and/or Piercings?
9. Worst Habit?
10. Do we know each other outside of this blog?
11. What is your favorite sport?
12. Do you have a Negative or Optimistic attitude?
13. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
14. Worst thing to ever happen to you?
15. Tell me one weird fact about you.
16. Do you have any pets?
17. Do you know how to do the Macarena?
18. What time is it where you are now?
19. Do you think clowns are cute or scary?
20. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?
21. Would you be my partner in crime or my conscience?
22. What color eyes do you have?
23. Ever been arrested?
24. Bottle or Draft?
25. If you won $10,000 dollars today, what would you do with it?
26. What kind of bubble gum do you prefer to chew?
27. What's your favorite bar to hang at?
28. Do you believe in ghosts?
29. Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
30. Do you swear a lot?
31. Biggest pet peeve?
32. In one word, how would you describe yourself?
33. In one word, how would you describe me?
34. Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same for you?

item of the day: mascara alternative

okay, i know you're all waiting with bated breath for the next spring accessories installment - that'll be here tomorrow (think shoes!). in the meantime, though, i had to share this recent discovery. we don't talk much about beauty products over here, because, frankly, things rarely "wow" me to the extent that i think they're worth writing about. but, i've always had "issues" with mascara. it clumps, it's thick, but most of all, it's impossible to get off without really stressing out the oh-so-delicate skin around your eyes.

so, during a recent browse of my friendly neighborhood drugstore, i was looking around for another option, and came across this neutrogena clean lash tint. i can't really explain it, other than to say it's like mascara without any of the negatives. it's not thick - it just colors your lashes. it doesn't double the length, or double the thickness...but it also doesn't clump, doesn't come off if you rub your eyes, doesn't give you raccoon eyes, and comes off magically with your nightly face wash. trust me - if you're 90% happy with your lashes as they are, this lash tint plus a little shu uemura action, and you're set! and, it's only $7 at your local drugstore of choice, freeing up all kinds of money to buy some of those shoes you'll be reading about tomorrow!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

spring accessories for the rest of us: handbags

okay, as promised, i'm working hard to come up with all sorts of goodies that will be perfect for spring and will all (with only one exception so far) come in under $100. an arbitrary number, perhaps, but we have to start somewhere!

so, today's focus is on spring handbags. there are sooooo many options out there that i'm literally mentally flooded right now, but here are a few of my many, many favorites:

wanting something bright and cheerful, but not too "out there"?? try on this framed satchel-style bag from urban outfitters. the color name is "tan," but it looks like a bright, spring-y yellow to me, which is just what i want this time of year. i love that it can be hand-carried or you can use the strap, and it's only $58...leaving you more than enough to pick up a pair of spring shoes (or two) and still stay comfortably under that $100 mark! this little beauty is also super cute in red!

now, i freely admit that this printed straw tote wouldn't work in all locales, but if you happen to live in the right spot, or heck, just love bright colors, i think this is the ultimate summer tote. i think this is one of those bags you have to see "on"....the standard website pic just wasn't doing it justice. $39 at target - another hit for them by rafe!

this linen shoulder bag just screams 'summer classic' to me - i can picture it perfectly with some crisp white pants and a pink T-shirt. this is a great choice if you feel like some of these others are great, but maybe a bit too young for you. i know i tend to chicken out on a lot of spring/summer trends in particular, because i think i'm too old to pull them off - but this bag says chic without trying too hard. and it does a nice job of looking much more expensive than it's $39 pricetag. once again, thank the rafe for target line for this beauty!

i wouldn't really be doing my job as a fashion blogger if i didn't include at least one clutch in this list. clutches are definitely the hot bag for spring - seems everyone's backs are finally giving out from the ginormous bags we've been schlepping around all winter. this spring, it seems less is more. i actually tried this little cutie by monsac out for a while - in the 'opal' color - and, while the style didn't allow me to carry as much as i wanted to, i think for most normal people, this is a great summer buy. and really, how can you resist a color called "dandelion"?? you can take one home for $98, from your friendly neighborhood nordstrom.

last but not least, i almost didn't feature this bag, since it's sold out. but they're getting more in stock, and i think it's worth a mention. anya hindmarch might best be described as the marc jacobs of the UK. her handbags are very high quality, sometimes timeless/sometimes funky, always in demand, and definitely well over our $100 threshold. however, to help raise money for a great environmental org called "we are what we do," anya has released a bag that's quickly become the hottest thing going. for a measly $10, you can pick one up too - they're incredibly high quality canvas bags, with rope handles - for the price, you can't do better for a simple tote bag. and you'll be about as "on trend" as a girl can be this spring. so, keep an eye on anya's website - they're due to be back on sale any day now!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

item of the day: vintage 'vogue' covers

so, we don't do a lot of home decor on this blog, but a friend (thanks, M!) has alerted me to the coolest thing i've seen in a while, and i just had to share. apparently conde nast has discovered yet another way to make money...but i'm more than willing to contribute, because i think it's a fabulous idea. they're letting you order prints of vintage magazine covers - they have several to choose from, but my favorite (of course) are the vintage covers of vogue. they're just gorgeous! they remind me of the days when magazine covers really were a work of art, and weren't just photos of celebrities, crammed behind headlines like "100 brand new sex tips" and "how to sculpt your abs in 6 easy steps". ah, the good old days....LOL.

my personal faves are the covers from the 1920s - to me, that's when fashion really turned into an 'art form,' and design ruled. the cover above is from 1924. but i also love this one from 1919, and this one from 1931 just screams henri matisse, one of my favorite artists of all time - i adore it!

you can buy 20 notecards for $30, a 7 x 9.5 print for $125 and a 16 x 22 print for $250, including matting. a frame will run you another $100. but check out how hot these look on the wall...seriously, i want at least 5 of them. and...wait for shipping!

have fun...the browsing alone should keep most of you busy for a while!

Monday, March 05, 2007

spring 2007: gryson

if i decide to splurge on a pricey bag for spring (it's still too soon to tell), i have a pretty good feeling it'll be a bag by joy gryson. i've talked about her before on this blog, but her spring 2007 collection has more than earned her the right to another mention.

joy gryson, a former designer for marc jacobs, has really gone all out this spring. she's bucked the "white or metallics only" trend, and has all sorts of wonderful COLOR in her spring line. and i, for one, can't get enough.

one of my favorites is the heidi tote - i covet it in this gorgeous blue color. retail is $995, and if past experience is any guide, her bags don't go on sale at the end of the season (unlike her former mentor's creations, which are routinely at least 50% off by july and january). it's a hike in her prices that i expected, but am still not terribly excited about.

gryson has also taken one of her incredibly popular styles from fall 2006, the skye bag, and recreated it for spring, replacing the classic brown trim with white. and let me tell you, it's a sight for sore eyes. especially (again, i know) in the teal blue color, this bag will turn heads everywhere you go, for the not-unreasonable price of $725. remember, girls, these bags are lined in suede, and the leather quality is so well-controlled that word on the street is if they can't find enough of the right leather, they just make less of the bags! incredible concept, i know.

the thing i'm loving about both of these bags is their inherent "grab and go" flexibility. want a hand-carried bag? great, wear it as a satchel. or, if you have crazy plans or just don't have a free hand, sling it over your shoulder (or, with the skye bag, possibly across your chest, messenger-style). gryson has really thought of everything we need, and has taken care of us beautifully. plus, i think she does an amazing job of designing something to be youthful, without looking "young"...a fine line to walk, but she does it beautifully. plus, i'm a complete sucker for suede-lined bags....they're like crack. once you try it, you'll never go back.

all of the new spring styles can be seen on her website, but the line should be hitting stores this month - look for joy gryson's wares at your friendly neighborhood neiman marcus (a few spring styles have already shown up, including 'heidi', featured above), shopbop, active endeavors (don't forget to use their perpetual 20% off is your friend), steven alan...heck, all kinds of online options. but don't wait too long - her styles all but sold out last fall, and i've only ever seen one of her bags hit the sale rack. mark my words: strike while the iron is hot, and before her prices go up even higher!

PS: i promise to post on cheaper accessories for spring later this week. really....