Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Style Essentials

Glendale Junior College students dancing on the beach, 1947, from LIFE.

This weekend was such a tease, tempting us with long days and hot temps and hours of free time. One can't help but start thinking about barbecues and swimsuits and sand between toes and road trips. I personally am very seriously looking at hatchback cars, so I spent my entire weekend researching car stuff, and the prospect of a new car has me itchy to go road tripping.

Esther Williams, 1951, from LIFE

Sophia Loren picnicking in 1961, LIFE.

I'm also fantasizing about the perfect summer wardrobe. Most of these things are way out of my price range, but are good inspiration pieces. My ideal summer look would have a twist on the striped top, a seersucker dress, a bright silk blouse, espadrilles and gold sandals, oversized tortoiseshell cat-eyes, a modern and sculptural druzy necklace and most importantly, neon nail polish! Add a pair of cropped jeans and you've got an entire travel bag, packed and ready to go!
Summer day dress
$58 - fredflare.com

Sonia by Sonia Rykiel long sleeve top
$219 - my-wardrobe.com

Marc jacobs shoes
$445 - barneys.com

H&M wedge shoes
15 GBP - hm.com

Metal ball necklace
$178 - maxandchloe.com

Forever21 tortoise sunglass
$5.80 - forever21.com

Neon Nail Polish
$6 - americanapparel.net

Monday, May 30, 2011

Perfect Picnic Dinner for Outdoor Movies

On Friday, I had one of those nights where everything I love collided into a picture-perfect evening. My sweet friends and husband agreed to join me to watch one of my favorite old movies, "The Philadelphia Story," under the stars on the grounds of the Hermitage Museum, a gorgeous mansion located on the North Shore of Norfolk. It was the perfect spot to watch the movie, which stars Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart.

Picnics, I think, are particularly difficult to pack. Eating outdoors is, for some reason, a great treat, but you have to think about food that keeps well, packs well and pleases a wide range of palates. I think we might have landed on a close to perfect menu.

For discreet sipping, you can't beat the canned Sofia champagne. It comes with a straw!

 Enjoying the spread! We had BLTs, salad, cherries, cheese and crackers, lemon pirouette cookies, longboard chips and onion dip from Trader Joe's, pita chips and hummus. Honestly, it was too much food, but that's better than too little!

I prepped the BLTs the night before, pre-slicing the bread, the tomatoes and the lettuce and then had Sean cook the bacon 20 minutes before we left. After that, all that needed to happen was assemble the sandwiches!

I also bought a mini jar from World Market and mixed mayo and pesto for a special mayonnaise option.

And packed the picnic basket with peach Izze and Lorina French sparkling lemonades.

The salad is my new favorite, a concoction Miranda served at our last wine club, so I'm dubbing it "Salad Miranda." It's arugula, sliced strawberries, shaved parmesan and champagne vinaigrette. It's tangy and sweet and spicy all at once, and delicious.

All in all, it was a delicious feast and everything kept well and traveled well. I hope we'll be able to make it to some of the other outdoor movies this summer!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Best v.59

Spotted this gem on Pinterest, but it was originally posted on Outblush. It reminded me of my husband, who walks out of every movie saying, "It was okay." 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Today I Like ... Follies Girls

 Picture from Tarnished Lady.

Ever since I saw the most recent revival of Follies last week, I can't get those amazing showgirls costumes out of my head. The show was inspired by the magnificent and over-the-top shows produced by Florenz Ziegfeld, the starmaker of his time. He was famous enough that not one, but two biopics were made about his life and work. 
Now I'm daydreaming about unlimited glamour.

 Picture found here.

Picture found at Feather Girl.

Get the Look:

  1. Gaze at the amazing illustrations in this book on artist and costumer Erte. $10.17 at Amazon.
  2. Vampy red lipstick is a necessity. $34 at Nordstrom.
  3. Any showgirl needs her vanity set, $30 at Amazon.
  4. Get glittering skin underneath the lights with Vera Wang's powder puff, $35 at Amazon.
  5. A glorious headpiece is a must, although this is a bit diminutive comparatively. $42 at Etsy.
  6. Deck yourself in a fabulous art deco-inspired pendant by Kenneth Jay Lane, $225 at Net-a-Porter.
  7. Every Follies girl knows the power of soft pink lighting, $3.99 bulb.
  8. Dancing feet will look great in the footlights with these sparklers by Stuart Weitzman. $225 at Shop the Shoebox.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Auction Score: Cockatoo Lamp

I just went to my very first auction (as a buyer; I've been as a reporter before) and bought this fine looking ceramic cockatoo lamp for $40! It was priced to sell at $170, ya'll. 

I had never been to an auction, and it was really, really cool. It really showed me that if you are willing to wait on something, you can get it for a steal later by looking at ebay, thrift shops, Craigslist and auctions. This particular auction was for a stationary store that was foreclosed on, so all the contents in the store were sold with very low opening bids. One woman bought a tin outdoor table priced at $350 for $15!! She also got a pair of ginger jar lamps, priced at $190 each, for $25. It's worth it to keep an eye on the legal ads and classified pages in your newspaper, folks.

I had hoped to scoop up some ribbon and stationary, but it was all being sold in very large lots and I didn't want to go through the hassle of getting rid of the stuff I don't want. Otherwise, though, it was a great experience and sort of fun. I definitely jumped up and down when I won my lamp!

For comparison's sake, here's a similar lamp sold on Amazon:

It's $245 here.

Anyways, the point is: I am going to become one of those crazy auction haunters-turned-hoarders. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Watercolor Giraffes, Berries and Bow Ties

Some days I'm like, "geez, stop being such a girl" and other days I just embrace it. You'll see what I mean in these recent paintings:

Brightest Brights at H&M

H&M has some fabulously bright clothes this summer. I think a trip might be in order. I'm loving these yellow flats, which would give every outfit a pop. I picture them with a chambray dress or cropped jeans and a sailor stripe shirt.

This dress is so great. You could wear it with a belt, wear it with tights and a turtleneck in the wintertime, wear it to the market, wear it to a show. Seriously, loves it.

And I'm loving the bright bright two-tone tote, very similar to this much more expensive one at Kate Spade.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Stockley Gardens Art Festival

On Saturday, I dragged Sean to the Stockley Gardens Art Festival this weekend. I was looking for a little inspiration, and found quite a bit. We couldn't afford to drop any more money on art (seriously, we're like a wayward home for paintings and prints), but I thought I'd share some of my favorites.

I loved the vibrancy of Ed Fadool's work. The hot pinks had me totally smitten, and I like how it has an electric current that is often missing from landscapes.

I seriously was walking away backwards from the work of Benjamin Frey. His mixed media works were interesting and intriguing; I seriously tried to convince Sean to drop $800 on one, but he reminded me I want a new car.

If I regret not buying anything, it was this photograph by Jim Spillane. All of his photographs were taken in India, Nepal, Tibet and other parts of southern Asia and the colors were mesmerizing. I loved all the action in that shot above. People were mobbing his booth!

These wall hangings by Scott Supraner were so beautiful and unexpected; they're actually pieces of pottery puzzled together into what looks like prints. They would make such a big impact in any room.

Milenko Katic's works reminded me of Robert Rauschenberg's combines, and he had several great pieces with horses. Artists can't resist horses; I should know because I can't, either!

The show is unfortunately over, but there is another one in the fall and I hope to attend that one, as well, hopefully with more moolah to spend. I did buy some lovely coral earrings from Mari Collection, who had the prettiest jewelry around, in my opinion.

Hepburn and Hepburn Film Festival

By sheer coincidence, two Norfolk museums are showing my ALL TIME FAVORITE movies, starring Audrey and Katharine Hepburn. On Wednesday, the Chrysler Museum will show "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and on Friday, the Hermitage Museum will show "The Philadelphia Story." Both events have a cash bar, and the Chrysler Museum will have a photo booth!!

I'm inviting everyone to come out and join in on the fun! On Wednesday, bring your own food but on Friday, I plan to bring a picnic. Anyone can RSVP here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mid-Week Vacation to DC

After work on Tuesday, I zipped up I-95 to the DC area for a mid-week vacay. Let me just say, why don't we all take mid-week vacations? They're awesome. No crowds, less traffic. Just great all around!

The reason for the jaunt was that my dear friend Bret had bought us tickets to see a new revival production of Follies, a Stephen Sondheim show from 1971. It's about a reunion of former showgirls from the era of the Follies between the world wars, and is staged in a spectacular way, with the present-day older women shadowed by their younger, glamorous selves in AMAZING costumes. There's talk of the show moving to Broadway, and I certainly hope it does. 

Bret had never really spent any time in DC or done the touristy stuff, so that was top of our list. He wanted to see Fonzie's jacket and Archie Bunker's chair, so we went to the Museum of American History, my personal fave. We pretended to be presidents, of course:

And we popped in at Julia Child's kitchen, which is a master class in organization and space solutions.

Bret's bringing stovepipe top hats back.

We decided the memorials were a must even though the walking was even more burdensome than usual because the Reflecting Pool is under construction and the entire perimeter is blocked off. It also rained in the morning just long enough to ruin my hairsdo and make the ground muddy. But c'est la vie!

We wandered up to the White House and ended up listening to a school group's history lesson, then hopped a train up to U Street to eat at Bar Pilar, a great little drinks and dinner spot recommended by my friend Shayna. It has an excellent casual vibe, with good food at decent prices and a great drink menu.

Bret had scallops and a small plate of morels and I tried both! I'm a big kid now! I had a little arugula salad to start, and then bucatini with ramps in a cream sauce. It was delish, and filling without leaving me overstuffed. For drinks, I had the Chicago, which had rum and port and lemon juice and something I'm forgetting. Bret had the Lost Year, an absinthe mixed drink that came in a teeny tiny port glass.

We timed it perfectly to get down to the Foggy Bottom Metro station and take a shuttle to the Kennedy Center. The shuttle is a free and super easy option, and there seemed to always be one waiting when we needed it. We arrived with about 20 minutes till curtain, so it was perfect. I loved the light fixtures in the Center; they look like earrings!

On Thursday, we took it a little easier and just had a great hibachi lunch at Tokyo Japanese Steak House, which was really nice. Hibachi is always fun, don't you think? I hadn't been to a hibachi place in probably four years and now I can't remember why! We made a quick stop at our favorite shop in Old Town Alexandria, Red Barn Mercantile, and then packed it in to head home.

It was a fabulous little visit, but my favorite part has to be that both nights, we stayed up till 5 a.m. talking with Katie, reading old live journal entries about our previous trips to see Broadway shows and giggling. So fun! 

Zara Bridesmaid Dresses

While we're shopping for wedding dresses at J.Crew, why not look for bridesmaid dresses, too? I spotted these two on the Zara website. Each costs $79.90. They're not actually bridesmaid dresses, which is part of the beauty of them, but of course limits the sizes available.

I love the colors and the delicacy, especially of the second one. Could be WONDERFUL for a ballet-inspired wedding. Unfortunately, Zara doesn't sell its clothes online, but they have storefronts in several major U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C., New York City and San Francisco.

J.Crew Short Wedding Dress

Because it's my personal mission to share every lovely short wedding dress option I come across, I HAD to post J.Crew's glamorous Lizza dress. It's $995, a bit pricey, but I love the shape, the detail and the sparkle.

When I was on the hunt last year, J.Crew didn't have any lovely short dresses, so I was happy to see they've added a few to their collection. Short dresses aren't for everybody, but I loved the freedom to move and showing off my shoes.