Saturday, October 29, 2011

When life gives you ( a lot of ) apples...

While I love going to the pumpkin patch as much as the next person, the one fall festivity I absolutely cannot forgo is a trip to the apple orchard. This fall I brought home a very large bag of apples, and after my family and I had eaten our fair share of them, we were still left with quite an abundance. What to do? Apple crisp is usually our go-to dish, but this fall I wanted to make something different. When I stumbled upon this Apple Spice Cake recipe, I knew this was it. This recipe is great for entertaining, especially during the season when family and guests are in town, as the cream cheese allows the cake to be stored for quite some time without drying out. It's also great paired with coffee for an afternoon snack or an after dinner dessert. 

1 3/4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs of cooking apples
1/3 c brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cardamom
2 tsp cinnamon
8 tbs unsalted butter
8 ounces of cream cheese (full or low-fat)
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 c confectioners' sugar 
3 tbs sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
cinnamon to taste
For the Cake: 
Preheat the oven to 350ยบ F.  Spray a 9-inch round springform pan with non-stick baking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
Peel, core & chop the apples into thin 1 inch slices. In another bowl, toss the apples with the  brown sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon. (I threw in a dash of nutmeg & cloves too*) Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. (A handheld mixer will work fine too)  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again.  Add the flour in 3 additions and beat until smooth.  
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the apple mixture just until evenly distributed; do not over mixSpoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 60-70 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.
For the Glaze:In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, warmed sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon and vanilla until smooth and pourable adding more milk if needed.
Remove the sides of the springform pan and place the cake on a wire rack set over a piece of waxed paper to catch drips.  While the cake is still warm, drizzle with the glaze.  


Friday, October 28, 2011

Looking orange is only okay if you're a pumpkin.

Well folks, here it is...the moment you've all been waiting for. Okay, if not you, then definitely me. Alas, I found a place to get a spray tan at a decent cost and I don't look like I walked out of the J-shore.

For those of you who read our blog, I posted one back in the summer about how important it is to stay away from tanning beds, and how anyone can rock the so called "pale" look. Well, as some of you know, since I watched that video, I haven't tanned in a tanning bed. :) I actually feel super accomplished even though it may come off a tad on the weird side to some. I like being able to set an example for all my tanning bed going friends. Hopefully they can eventually catch on to me guilt tripping them!

Watch and learn please!

It's been about three months for me, (since the summer provided with me a smidge of color, OF COURSE, while wearing sunblock) where I've been my natural color, and I can honestly say I don't hate it. I'm starting to embrace it and it feels soooo gooood!

So here's the 411, I bought a Groupon ($25 for 2 spray tans) for Shine Day Spa because I had been told a couple of times that it was the place to go. I thought, eh, what the heck, the only thing that could go wrong is that I wasted 25 bucks and I come out looking orange.

I decided to save the Groupon so I could have a little glow for Halloween weekend of course (a tad risky for a first timer I know,) but I made sure to call ahead to schedule an appointment. Another bonus might I add. The gal was super friendly over the phone and gave me advice on when to schedule my appointment depending on when I was planning on going out.

Fast forwarding to my appointment...she took me back to a room and told me to take off basically whatever I didn't want a tan line from and that she would check back. I put on my fashionable hair cap and was ready to go! She came back a few minutes later and before I knew it I was a light bronzed beauty.

The thing that set Shine apart from just another spray tanning booth is that because someone is actually doing the spraying for you, there is less of a chance of streaking and not getting all of you colored. They tell you to do different poses and flip your hands a certain way so that you don't have to worry about it looking funky when you're done! I remember a slight warrior yoga pose for all you yoga experts out there.

Not to mention you choose the level of color you want. She recommend the lightest, and told me it would give me slight color and a bit of a glow. It turned out perfect and I was extremely pleased.

Now for those of you who were not lucky enough to catch the Groupon, a single full body spray tan starts at $28, and will last about a week. Totally worth it.

Just a side tip for newbies: before you spray tan, always use a body scrub and keep your skin free of lotion to ensure the best possible look.

Check the Shine Day Spa link above for hours, locations and specials!

So which one do you choose?

Changing Colors

One of my favorite parts of Autumn is the changing colors of the leaves, but I much prefer the changing shades of hair color this time of year. Fall is the time to update your look. Whether it be the simmering crimson route or that of sultry chocolate, the season offers endless possibilities. I spoke with my friend Sarah Pithan, National Educator with Primary Syn, about her thoughts on the season's hottest color trends.

"Fall always reminds me of spices. Nutmeg, curry, cinnamon," Pithan said. "Fall hair colors should be spicy and rich, warm and solid."

For a bold look, try a fiery paprika red like Christina Hendricks (above) or if you're not quite ready for that big of a jump, try a subtler cinnamon shade like Drew Barrymore (left) instead.

As the weather cools into winter hair tones tend to as well, Pithan added. "You'll still have daring bright golden blondes and fiery redheads in the bunch," she said. "It's about sticking out in the winter and having fun in the yuck of the gloom."

Color blocking (whole sections of hair breaking up allover looks) is also very hot, Pithan said. "There will be lots of mixing cool and warm tones next to each other for contrast and movement."

Pithan recommends color blocking with triangular sections where you want to attract attention or add movement. Above one ear, on one side of the nape, a whole side with just a veil of the allover color everywhere else. "It can be darker, lighter, just a different tone or a fun, funky color. It can just peek out from one side or when parted different can add a huge section that screams fun!" Pithan said.

Photos courtesy of American Salon and People Magazine.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A True Gem in the heart of Omaha

I can't believe it's taken me a year to blog about this, but I guess better late than never! Last November as I was organizing my old house, I came across some of my jewelry that needed some work. Two of the pieces were Chanel costume pieces that were missing stones. The first is pictured above. One of the circle amber stones is missing from this otherwise perfect chunky "brooch" style necklace. I first thought to go to some bead stores. So off I went to a few places all over Omaha. But none of these stores offered anything even remotely close to what I needed.

I had another necklace that had a broken chain and was able to be fixed on-the-spot by a nice young woman at Mangelson's. I showed her my Chanel necklace and asked her if they had any loose stones that were close to a match. They didn't. But she tipped me off to a place that is now my favorite go-to place for all my custom jewelry repairs. Coincidentally, it's called Custom Gems and is located across from Mangelson's on 84th Street (8487 Frederick Street; 402-397-9606). 

There is so much to say about Custom Gems. First off, they're awesome! It's the type of store that you could spend an hour searching through their plastic bins for stones. It's like a card catalogue system at the library. You tell them or show them what you're looking for and they go back and pull out a tray with a bunch of similar stones and you have to dig through to find the closest match.

They not only had a piece of amber that fit perfectly in my Chanel necklace, but the price of the stone and repair costs were unbelievably affordable. And they were all so nice and friendly. And fast.

I also had this Chanel brooch fixed. On the left, one of the baguette clear stones is missing and on the right, it is replaced with two smaller emerald cut stones side-by-side to fit the setting. Unfortunately they didn't have a perfect match for this, but as you can see, it's hard to notice.
I also took a pair of Vera Wang citrine drop earrings where the stone had become loose. Again, Custom Gems tightened it and if I recall, they didn't even charge me for it. Seriously, they're that nice!

I love how Mom and Pop the shop is and there is so much to see there. And to buy too. So the next time you're in need of some jewelry repair, go check out Custom Gems on 84th Street. You won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Faux Fur Pas

When the cold sets in I begin to prepare my warm nest like a little squirrel. The image that comes to mind is looking out the window at the snowy landscape in front of a warm and cozy fire with a fuzzy blanket. Now, I think that the fur look can be done wrong, so very wrong but when I picture Audrey Hepburn's ski lodge look a la "Charade" movie with Cary Grant (1963) I just know that winter won't be so dreadful.
What better way to keep your head warm in style with a faux rabbit furry pill box hat, L'Agence faux fur bomber available at Barney's , the ever popular waterproof Ulu boots are the surest way to go to keep your feet the warm and dry. The look wouldn't be complete without a vixeny pair of cat eye glasses with UV protection.

So get those fires going and if it's going to snow let's make the most of it!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fashionable Halloween Costumes That Aren't Overtly Sexy, For a Change

Every Halloween, I sigh at the idea of store-bought costumes for women. Mass-produced disguises seem to sex up even the most bland of themes, from slutty eskimos to skanky bumblebees. Rather than participate in a parade of inappropriateness (and deal with any feelings of self-conciousness!), I prefer using Halloween as an opportunity to channel fashion icons and moments in history in a more literal sense - I've sewn a homemade Bjork swan dress and sported the head-to-toe Breakfast at Tiffany's ensemble in years past.

This year I'll be participating in a group costume, but it hasn't stopped me from brainstorming on some individual ideas that may come in handy for last moment parties!

fashion halloween costumes

(from left to right)

Jackie Kennedy: There just aren't enough occasions that allow you to sport a pillbox hat. Classy, fashionable, and super-comfortable...this costume idea, like Jackie's style, is timeless. Complete with the right wig and you'll be ready for anything!

Joan Jett: I'm not very "rock n' roll" by nature, so I love the idea of pulling on a pair of leather pants and channeling a totally different person for the evening. Choppy, dark hair and thick black eyeliner are not optional! 

Carrie Bradshaw: If I wasn't going in a group of seven girls, I would jump on the opportunity to be the starring character of Sex and the City. The outfit ideas are endless, but if you purchase the Carrie necklace online and sport her signature frizzy blonde curls, it'd be easy to peg you as this fashion icon. 

fashionable halloween costumes pt 2

(from left to right)

Annie Hall: Probably the easiest costume to assemble - make sure you have the spectacles, as well!

Cruella de Vil: I love the idea of modernizing this iconic character just a bit. Of course you'd need to purchase the dual-colored black and white wig online (or find some sort of creative hair solution), but accompany this costume with a vicious laugh and you're sure to have a good time. 

Twiggy: This one is, of course, all about the eyes and long, bare legs. A little blonde wig would complete the look perfectly. And again - comfortable, fashionable and doesn't command the wrong kind of attention on Halloween night! 

What will you be wearing for Halloween? 

Friday, October 21, 2011

No need to sink your teeth into these apples!

Caramel apple taste = yes!
Caramel apple eating process = no!

You'll be pleased to know I came across today on Family Circle a solution to the caramel apple eating process. Go mini or go home!

I decided to take the idea for a test spin since Halloween is right around the corner. I wonder how alcohol infused caramel apples would taste? Hmmm, something to think about for an upcoming Halloween party.

Basically here is what I used:

The one step that will stay the same is using the melon baller to scoop out your "mini apples." Other then that the rest is up to you!

I read a tip that said after you scoop out the apple, pat it dry with a paper towel, otherwise the caramel won't stick! (I read this after they were already gone, go figure.)

I went ahead and dipped the mini guys into the melted caramel, and after they had about 30 minutes to firm up in the fridge, I dipped them again into my melted peanut butter & chocolate mixture.

Next, I coated them with either crushed nuts or crushed graham crackers and let them firm up once again. Of course, when it comes to waiting around for something of this sort, my patience is slim. I let them sit a good hour in the fridge, but if you can stand it, leave them a smidge longer to ensure the coating doesn't get ruined.

Volia! Mini caramel apples!

Let us know if you have any ideas to make these apples even sweeter!

Mixing it up

When it comes to clothing, I love to mix up patterns. So it isn't a big surprise that I love mixing patterns when it comes to furniture too. Recently we updated our family room and it was fun to take one item from one set and combine it with a piece that was totally "different but similar." The key is keeping it "all in the family" in terms of tones and textures. I love the vibrant and larger ikat/batik print contrasted with the pillow in the gray with white squiggle. And I especially like this off white/grayish chair with gray French words scribbled horizontally.

I love ikat and batik prints too. This chair in charcoal with an off white pattern is the last addition to our new family room set. It seems to be the chair we all want to sit in too. Maybe because it's the most cozy. I also like that it's the darkest piece in the room; easier to disguise spills and stains (it's easy with three children under 10 years of age!).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blog of the Moment: The Beauty Department

I may or may not have watched Laguna Beach and The Hills more often than I care to admit. Whether you're a fan or not, Lauren Conrad has certainly launched her reality show stardom into a multi-industry success story, with her own clothing line, four books and a whole host of endorsements.

Her latest venture, The Beauty Department, has definitely proven to be a favorite for me. The blog-site is a collaboration between Lauren, her hairstylist, Kristen Ess, and her makeup artist, Amy Nadine.

The incredibly well-designed website features tutorials, videos and inspiring images on all of my beauty obsessions, from nails to hair. The step-by-step hair guides in particular keep me coming back, with an easy-to-follow, printable layout that makes trying out complicated styles a breeze.

If you're stuck in a beauty rut or are just looking to mix up your morning routine, I'd highly suggest a scroll-through for some inspiration! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What I LOVE Now

When I was in Cape Cod this past summer, I was shopping along the Main Street in Chatham and popped into a little children's store called Frances Johnston. I immediately fell in love with all the children's toys and decorations that lined the walls, cupboards and crib. There were a few standouts and they all happened to be from a company called Maileg out of Denmark.

The funny thing is that I've always been obsessed with Danish products. You've heard of Danish modern furniture, right? Well, let's just say that the Danes know a thing-or-two about great design. When I opened Trocadero 4 years ago, I knew I wanted to stock some items from Denmark. I carried a line of hand made ceramics from Anne Black and some baby clothes from Holly's of Copenhagen. I loved that they had clean lines, were unique to Omaha and just weren't the usual offerings you'd find in a more commercial store.

So it wasn't a surprise that all thee items I picked up at Frances Johnston and oohed and ahhhed over were from a company based in Denmark.

I couldn't help but fall in love with the Hans Christian Andersen Princess and the Pea toy set. A wooden bed with 7 beautiful mattresses in 7 different fabrics, a bedspread, a pillow, a Princess and of course a tiny pea. It came with a small Princess and the Pea story book translated in three languages. I had to have it. We have a joke that our little baby is like Princess and the Pee because it seems as if she cries if there's even a drop of pee in her diaper.

I decided I couldn't live without this toy and so I purchased it knowing it would make a beautiful addition to the nursery as a decoration (for now) and a toy (for later). I love just looking at it on the shelf in baby Annabel's room.

The owner of the shop, Frances Johnston, told me that I should stock the brand too. She said they were great to work with and just wonderful products. It wasn't hard to convince me. So now as we're venturing into our 5th year of business, I'm happy to introduce some of my "new favorite things" (to steal a line from Oprah!). I'm obsessed with these Danish rattles for babies. My little Annabel has the Prince (every Princess needs her Prince, no?) and chews on his toes (they have pellets for teething). How romantic, right? The "Belles Amis" box has a ballerina, a toy soldier and a pirate among others. The box to the right is the Jungle Team and there are monkeys, giraffes and elephants. You really cannot go wrong with any of them and they make the perfect gift for any new mom-to-be or any baby or toddler.

I didn't order the Princess and the Pea set for the Troc. At just about $120, I thought it's a little too out-of-the-price-range for a shower gift or any practical mom's check list. My justification? Well......I was on vacation and could afford to be a little extravagant. :-)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Fabulous Fours!

Four years may not seem like a long time, but for a specialty boutique in an economic downturn it is quite a feat. Trocadero is lucky enough to be celebrating its 4th birthday this Thursday the 13th. Since we opened our doors back in 2007, we have made it our mission to bring customers unique brands and items as well as to help promote what we feel is "the good life." Whether it's a pair of Seychelles boots that boosts your height and your confidence, a John Derian decoupage tray that inspires you, a Simon & Schuster pop up book that takes you back your childhood, or a Kidrobot key chain that simply makes you smile; thank you for allowing us to contribute to your own personal version of "the good life."

We'll be celebrating all day long from 11AM-7PM with sparkling wine, macarons from Cuppycakes Couture Cupcakes, and of course special deals and prizes for all of our fabulous customers:

- The first 4 customers to visit the store Thursday will receive a Kidrobot zipper pull.
- Buy any 4 items and get the 5th half off (on lowest priced item)
- Receive 40% off selected items.
- For every $40 spent, get a free gift with purchase
- Every purchase automatically gets you entered to win a $40 gift certificate!

Please, join us in celebrating and thank you for a wonderful 4 years! 

(Photo courtesy of Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts. Shane Bainbridge Ready, Steady, Go.)

After enjoying refreshments and a bit of retail therapy with us, be sure to swing by the Bemis UNDERGROUND for their Annual Art Auction, starting at 6:30. This is the 13th Bemis Annual Art Auction and this year marks the second year for the UNDERGROUND auction. Enjoy simultaneous silent and live bidding, DJ spun tunes, appetizers and an open bar. Happy bidding!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Day of Firsts

I consider myself pretty lucky when it comes to my personal accessories closet. Through the years I have amassed quite the vast collection of shoes, bags and jewelry. So when trends happen, I can dip into my drawers and shelves and pull out something that is "au courant." Such as these Manolo Blahnik high-heeled loafers. If you look at the September Teen Vogue page, you'll see that it's all the rage right now (once again). The story behind these babies is that I was working at Harper's Bazaar and most likely went home to celebrate my birthday over the long weekend in January. I presumably went to Neiman Marcus' Last Call Sale and saw these Manolo Blahnik brown tassel loafers and fell in love immediately. Even at the tender age of 26, I knew these were the bomb. I didn't own a pair of Manolos and I really, really wanted a pair. And they were $485, marked down to $290, and then marked down again to $165.
But the practical (Capricorn) side of me (and my hovering around $20K yearly salary) definitely gave me pause to purchase them. So off I went back to my tiny studio apartment on NYC's Upper East Side Manolo Blahnik-less. I was working at Harper's Bazaar at the time and didn't get the coveted invitations to the $100 Manolo Blahnik sample sales that are legendary (second to the Chanel and Louis Vuitton ones from years past!). But as I've learned and taught others, "Walk away and sleep on it. If you can't get the item out of your head, it's kind of meant to be."

It looks like it took me about two weeks to make the decision to place a phone order. Lucky for me, they were still in stock. Two funny things, though. The first? I have yet to wear these shoes. Yup, they're still brand spanking new. Fifteen years later, these beauties are fresh out of the box and still rocking in style.

The second funny thing? It looks like I purchased my first Manolo Blahniks on 1/31/96. An auspicious day that will always be known as a day of firsts, I suppose! (Daughter Annabel was born on January 31st of this year!)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall Nail Polish Faves

I'm a huge advocate of nail polish, as its one of the easiest and least expensive ways to have the latest trends literally at your fingertips. Now that fall is officially here, these are the five colors I'm reaching for in my ever-expanding collection.

Butter London Rosie Lee: This rose-tinted glitter polish has quickly become one of my staple shades. The subtle color is suitable for any time and any occasion, and Butter has one of the best glitter formulas I've ever used. It's absolutely packed with shimmer but is still easy to work with, and it doesn't chip for weeks with a good topcoat.

Essie Nice is Nice: This is from Essie's limited-edition spring French Affair collection, but you should still be able to find it on eBay and Amazon. Somehow I wound up with all the colors in this collection, but this one definitely comes out the favorite. Even though it's the last one I purchased, this happy-go-lucky lavender just brightens my day. Although fall is generally the season for darker shades, I think this color will remain in my regular rotation just for a bit of refreshment.

OPI Uh Oh Roll Down the Window: If you can get past the tasteless title, this military green nail polish is a must-have. As a redhead, I will sport a great olive green as often as I can, and this is no exception. I love using it as a neutral and pairing it with everything from neon to rich berry colors.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Recherche: This color actually came out in spring but is just impossible to pass up for fall. Trocadero is a longtime fan of Rescue Beauty Lounge nail polishes and this stunning shade reminds us all why. The smoky purple hue is rich and dramatic without looking too dark. Plus, as usual with many of RBL's formulas, you can get away with one coat and have an absolutely flawless manicure.

Sinful Colors Love Nails: These $1.99 polishes are my guilty pleasure whenever I go to a local drugstore. Though I hate the name of this one as well, I had been looking for an iridescent blue ever since I saw a friend sporting Sephora by OPI's Mermaid to Order, and this one does the job. It doesn't last more than a few days without chipping and it needs three coats to be opaque, but for the price it's hard to argue with it.

What nail polishes are YOU loving for fall? 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bravo for Brian!

What can I say except that I am so proud of my friend, shoe designer extraordinaire, Brian Atwood! It seems like he's finally gotten all the recognition that has been deserved for some time now. I've known Brian since the late 90s and was one of the first editors to really support his line. It's amazing the (good) power that fashion editors hold in the world of commercial and critical success for designers. I love that good things are happening for so many that I knew "way back when" just when they were starting out or on the brink of "making it."

When I first opened the Troc, I stocked Brian Atwood shoes. Boy, were they lovely! Unfortunately, many Omahans did not know the brand and even worse, they definitely didn't want to pay the price for a designer they never heard of. Yeah, I could have stocked "household" brands (known because of a little show called Sex and the City) like Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin, but my store was all about stocking the hidden gems, the brands that are editor favorites that might not be on the beaten path quite yet. Some brands at the Troc have done wonderfully, others haven't fared so well.

In my fantasy world I would be thrilled to restock Brian Atwood. Unfortunately, as a retailer I need to know my "retail climate" and have realized that these red carpet beauties with the red carpet price tag just won't sell enough in conservative-minded Omaha.

But if I could foresee an uptick in the economy, I would definitely consider stocking Brian Atwood's new "B Brian Atwood" diffusion line, right now available on I'm especially crazy about the Paramour ankle boot in two textures of burgundy with a stacked heel and exposed zipper. But for $450, I still don't know if my customer is willing to spend that type of money (I, of course, think it's totally worth it. I'm a huge believer in spending money for investment pieces/wardrobe staples.) This boot is timeless perfection.

What do you think, Omaha? Would you be willing to shop in town instead of online if we brought some amazing designer brands back in stock?

source: Everyone is Wearing Brian Atwood and Celeb Photos
source: B Brian Atwood at

Monday, October 3, 2011

Studly Sam

Over the weekend I took a stroll through the shoe department and a pair of sassy studded heels caught my eye. I immediately made a B-line for them and stood for a few seconds imagining how they would look upon my feet.

It was love at first sight, so I decided to try them on JUST for looks, since Sam Edelman isn't exactly in my budget at this point in time. Heartbreaking if I do say so myself. Needless to say, the fuchsia color studded heel was right up my alley, I didn't want to take them off. "Just call up your mother, tell her to combine Christmas, birthday and groundhogs day all in one," said the dark haired mustache salesman. Funny thing is, I had literally just got off the phone with my Grandpa saying I found a pair of sunglasses as an early Christmas present. If you're curious, this tactic of mine is still a work in progress. I sadly slipped the precious pups back into the box and handed them back to the just as sad salesman and walked away. A proud moment in my life where I didn't give into temptation!
Since then, I have have done my research and found other shoes, still with the stud factor, but minus the WOW cost.

Here are my top two picks, and I even found a little spunky flat!

For those of you who read the Dear Sun Worshipers post, stay tuned to see how my spray tan experience went and where to get a little glow without the damage!

Wardrobe Staples

It's been a few years that I've been searching for the perfect leather motorcycle jacket. Even before I was a fashion editor, I used to want items in my closet that didn't actually exist in the current marketplace. Chalk it up to an innate sense of what's to come? I just remember back in the early 90s when I moved to NYC and all I wanted was a pair of knee high zip up boots in a caramel brown leather with a slightly rounded toe that were like the ones I wore in the 70s. Needless to say, I couldn't find anyone who made any boots that were knee high. I'm not kidding. They just weren't available. Fast forward a few years and it seemed like everyone now made that silhouette and a knee high boot was not like trying to locate a needle in a haystack.

Well, it's been the same thing for this leather motorcycle jacket. I found a really great one in December of 2008 in San Francisco. It was even a really reasonable price and the store was willing to give me 20% off too. But I was cash poor and really couldn't justify spending the $350 on myself. Of course in retrospect I am upset that I did not take my own advice and just buy it on the spot. I know how it is. If you find the item you've been looking for, and it's not a fortune, grab it!

I remember contacting the store when I returned to do a phone order and they said they would have a manager call me back. Well, that never happened. And as I always say, follow up is soooo important! A lesson I learned far too well when a week later I called back and they said the jacket had been sold. ARGH!

I decided to contact the company of the jacket to see if they could locate one in another store, in another city, or even directly from them. No such luck.

Ever since that debacle, I've been in pursuit of the perfect leather jacket. I wouldn't say money is no object but I definitely learned my lesson and decided that I needed to have an open mind (and pockets) if and when I found the piece.

Two and a half years later with random searches at stores across the nation both in person and via online purchases, I finally found a reasonable version of what I've been in hot pursuit.

My Twenty8Twelve "Aldridge" leather motorcycle jacket was pre-ordered back in August with a delivery date of mid-October (per To my surprise, it arrived on the last day of September. All I can say is that I acted like a little girl on Christmas morning. And that's not pretty on a 41 year old woman...

It's pretty darn close to "near" perfection. It ain't perfect. But it has a lot of what I wanted: a fold down collar (opposed to the many collarless versions I found), classic asymmetrical zippers, a longer/regular length (opposed to the many cropped styles), side zipper pockets. I would have liked zippers on the sleeves but instead I got two vertical zippers in the back (like vents) which actually provide some "let out" for wearing the jacket with something more bulky underneath (or in my case, providing more room for my continued top-heaviness from nursing!).

I paid towards the top end of what I wanted to spend but it didn't matter. I got what I wanted and now I can "be at peace" (haha) knowing that I finally have the jacket I've been looking for and can start wearing it all the time, especially with the weather starting to finally turn crisper.

Next up on my search for the perfect wardrobe staple? A champagne sequined shawl collar long cardigan in ivory. If you happen to find it, let me know.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Making the Workday Work for You

It may be hard to believe in the Big O with weather like we've been having, but it is Fall. Among fun and festive Autumn activities like hayrack rides, pumpkin patches, and leisurely strolls amidst the fall leaves this also brings new school and office routines that hopefully we've all settled into by now. Whether you work in a confined cubicle or from the comfort of your own home, it's important to have a work space that is both functional and inspiring. Give your desk some personality and keep it fun with bright colors, fun textures and charming details. Here are eight items to turn your workday from drab to joyous.

1. Hold Everything. This ceramic New York City Greek deli cup is a perfect hold all for everything you need to keep at your fingertips.

2. An office with a great view is hard to come by. So, why not bring the outdoors inside. We think this grass vase from Normann Copenhagen just may be prettier than the real thing. A great idea to beat the [soon to come] winter blues.

3. Recycled Thoughts. Keep those bright ideas fresh in an Attic Journal made from recycled books.

4. Keep your friends close. What better office friendship to form than one with success. Keep it on your mind and on your desk in the form of this John Derian paperweight.

5. Everything has its place, keep desktop odds and ends in sight with a chic and quirky ceramic "take-out" dish from Lorena Barrezueta.

6. The best thing since....well, regular sticky notes! This charming office themed sticky note set from Cavallini is sure to help you remember all of those important details.

7. All the right words. Daily affirmations keep your mind on the prize at the office. So why not surround yourself with positive and inspirational thoughts. This John Derian decoupage tray is a smart addition to any desk.

8. The Magic word. Thank you notes like this one from Jonathan Wright are always an office staple. Nothing says thank you like a handwritten note, great for that coworker that always brings you coffee in the morning or for the potential client who you just met.