If the World’s Most Interesting Yachts were Celebrities

Fancy cars, expensive watches, sprawling estates and designer clothing. These are just a few of the things that come to mind when one imagines the lifestyles of the rich and famous. But at a certain stratospheric point, champagne wishes and caviar dreams are merely child’s play and there’s only thing that truly separates the wealthy from the uber wealthy: the Super-Yacht.

Custom designed from bow to stern, these floating palaces are as unique as the power personalities that pay for them, thus making each vessel an exquisite extension of the very empire that built it.  Not surprisingly, privacy is of the utmost importance for the high profile guests that spend time onboard but despite high-tech security systems and contractually tightlipped crew, often times you can figure out whose boat is whose in the sea and be seen crowd just by looking at the design. In fact, not only do these billionaire’s boats host a bevy of famous faces from port to port, but some of the most famous yachts seem to be inspired by celebrities themselves.

Motoryacht VENUS

Commissioned by Steve Jobs, sleek and stunning VENUS stays true to the Apple CEO’s celebration of simplicity with it’s minimalist aesthetic. The collaboration between Jobs and renowned designer Philipe Starck resulted in a modern, radically designed boat that literally looks like it was made in an Apple factory. It should come as no surprise that instead of the usual nautical navigational tools in the captain’s bridge, there are instead seven 27 inch Mac computers used to operate all systems onboard. And while the boat was named after the Roman Goddess of Love, which is a beautiful and ethereal idea, I can’t help but point out a few other names that would have possibly been more fitting considering the company this vessel so clearly represents. (“I-Yacht” or “Mac-Daddy” for example?) Regardless of the name, Stark proudly described the finished product as ‘the elegance of intelligence’ so clearly, if this boat were a celebrity it would be Cate Blanchett: modern, strong and otherworldly in its perfection.

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Motoryacht MAIN

MAIN is the impressive boat belonging to fashion powerhouse Giorgio Armani. In a sea of primarily white boats with shiny stainless steel curves, Main’s sharp lines and dark green hull is a one of a kind vision on the design horizon, although ironically, Armani’s goal was to have his boat blend in as much as possible. Being a person who places a high value on privacy and steers away from anything that attracts too much attention, Armani spent 30 months and over $60 million making sure his pleasure cruiser maintained ‘a military like sense of discipline’. After seeing the end result, I can only say ‘Mission Accomplished Private Armani’. With its angular lines and trim physique, Motoryacht MAIN’s celeb match is most definitely Angelina Jolie. Sexy yet Tough. A lean, mean traveling machine with a defiantly dark exterior.

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Motoryacht RC

While this yacht may not be as big as the rest of the ones on the list, what it lacks in length it makes up for in style. BIG TIME. Basically the exact opposite of Armani’s restraint and desire to blend in, fellow Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has made his yacht impossible to ignore. If you’ve ever seen an episode of ‘Pimp My Ride’ on MTV then it will be easy to picture the outrageous iridescent color changing paint that Motoryacht RC is unmistakably covered in. The exact shade is hard to describe as it ranges from a deep emerald green to rich purple with moments of navy blue and sparkling gold, all depending on the angle of the sun. Even Cavalli himself has been quoted to say he’s not sure what color his boat is…but what he does know is that he likes it. So much so that he painted his helicopter to match! The custom color coating costs a whopping $500 a quart, which may sound expensive but perhaps not so much when you consider the fact that you are getting an entire rainbow of colors at once.  The interior of the boat is just as flamboyant with a collection of leopard print pillows, mink rugs and snakeskin upholstery. The entire colorful boat is the perfect wild backdrop for all of Cavalli’s star studded parties in the South of France. (although probably not any PETA events). Sexy, glamorous, carefree and provocative if the RC were a celebrity it would be Rihanna.

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Motoryacht ECLIPSE

Holding down the number one spot as the world’s largest and most expensive yacht until being surpassed only recently, Roman Abramovich’s ECLIPSE is the standard of excellence for all yacht owners. This boat has every amenity under the sun including a system that can detect and destroy paparazzi cameras by firing laser beams directly into the unsuspecting lenses. (I think it’s safe to assume there aren’t a whole lot of selfies being taken on Motoryacht ECLIPSE) In addition to the light saber like photo blockers, there are also German built defense missiles strategically installed around the boat, panes of bullet proof glass completely surrounding the master suite and underwater submarine entrances to ensure complete and utter security. All of these safety measures must make the Russian Oligarch feel pretty comfortable and able to cut loose which explains the swimming pool that transforms into a dance floor. I bet you can really dance like nobody’s watching when you have Russian vodka and destructive lasers on your side. ECLIPSE has recently been overshadowed by a boat only 57 feet longer thus losing its title as the world’s largest private yacht, but that doesn’t change the fact that for a long time, it was the biggest and brightest star in the yachting universe. And even though it’s no longer #1 in the world, ECLIPSE and its lasers will still be able to block any shade thrown its way as it sails off into the sunset, always knowing that it was once the best of the best. So clearly, this boat is the Oprah of the ocean.

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Motoryacht SEVEN SEAS

When you’re the biggest name in the movie industry, simply one movie theatre on your yacht just isn’t going to cut it. That’s probably why Steven Spielberg had his boat SEVEN SEAS designed so that the 15 foot panel of privacy glass that extends vertically from his infinity pool can also be turned into a film projection screen in addition to his cinema room. Makes sense….sometimes you just need to watch a movie while you swim. I get it. Spielberg’s blockbuster of a boat has a tasteful blue hull and easy, graceful lines which much like his films, makes for pleasant viewing from all perspectives. SEVEN SEAS is a truly magnificent boat with strong character and therefore deserves top billing in any list of Super-Yachts. Unlike many of the yachts similar to its size that end up looking like mini cruise ships or cargo freighters, SEVEN SEAS is larger than life but still somehow avoids being overbearing. If this yacht were a celebrity it would have to be Julia Roberts – Beautiful and captivating, but not trying too hard. Expensive but worth it. The ultimate dreamboat for every movie director from sea to shining sea.
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Sail yacht MALTESE FALCON

A groundbreaking feat of engineering and forward thinking design, the MALTESE FALCON is not only the largest private sailboat in the world but also one of the most famous boats ever built. Three 190 foot carbon fiber masts offer the framework for 25,791 feet of sails, which luckily for the crew, are electronically raised and unfurled in a mere six minutes with just the touch of a button. Originally commissioned by Tom Perkins for a price he won’t disclose, the yacht has been since sold to Elena Ambrosiadou who appreciates the mix of tradition and technology despite some people’s opinions that the two should not be merged. Ambrosiadou doesn’t let critics of the MALTESE FALCON take the wind from her sails however, saying “Whenever you push past the current envelope of people’s experience, they sense that risk of unknown.” While it is a breathtakingly beautiful sight to behold what the FALCON’S proud owner loves most about her boat is that it is a record breaking example of how an open mind and technology can make even the most impossible sounding ideas a reality.

If this forward thinking hybrid yacht were a celebrity it would without a doubt be Caitlyn Jenner; and elegant and sophisticated combination of both traditional and modern capabilities. Courageous and progressive, its one of the few yachts to be turned over from a man to a woman (owner).

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July’s first Love List

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I can hardly believe that we are already halfway through 2015. WTF.  Time is just moving way too fast for all of the things I want to accomplish and my non existent tan is proof that I am not embracing the summer season as much as I should be.  Before I know it, school buses will be holding up neighborhood traffic during the weekdays and weekends will be filled with conversations about football and pumpkins spice lattes; all of which I’m just not ready for quite yet.  While it is impossible to slow down the hands of time anywhere other than the Department of Motor Vehicles, there is one thing I can do to ensure that Summer 2015 doesn’t completely escape me and that is to continue celebrating the little things that make this time of year special. LL628little 1) Keratin Hair Treatment

Summer in Florida isn’t humid….it’s suffocating. Once you leave the climate controlled safety of an air conditioned space and step outside, the hot damp air envelopes you in it’s inescapable grasp.  I actually kind of like it because as a native Floridian, I associate the feeling with freedom from school and homework after a lifetime of summers spent in the Sunshine State.  ( I even came up with my own term a few years ago for that moment you get into a car and it feels like a full blast sauna.  I call it ‘the Florida Hug’. Cute, right?)  Anyways, while I don’t mind the intense temperature, my hair on the other hand doesn’t react as well. LL628humidity Not only does my hair puff out to electrocution level frizz upon contact with the outdoors, but even in the comfort of my own home the thought of using any kind of heat to style my hair seems like some kind of hideous self imposed torture session.  Luckily I recently discovered the girl’s ultimate summer hair GAME CHANGER: the Keratin Treatment.  It’s a deep conditioner applied at salons with long lasting results.  This was my first time having a Keratin treatment done and I can honestly say I will never go another season without it…..it has changed my hair life.  I used to have to blow dry for 20 minutes followed by a combination of flat and curling irons to achieve the perfect “I woke up this way” tousled hair after 45 minutes of work.  Now that I have the Keratin treatment, I can literally air dry and not look like a cavewoman. I don’t mean to sound all info-mercially but I can’t help it. Keratin Treatments are that good as you can see in the following before and afters: LL628hair1

Me Before Keratin:

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Me After Keratin:

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Me Before Keratin:

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Me After Keratin:

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My hair even looks good when I climb trees.

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Me Before Keratin:

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Me after Keratin (just hanging with my favorite TV host)

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So basically if you want to feel like this:

LL628hair2Go get a Keratin treatment.  Trust me.  LL628HairGif2) Libbie Summers

About a week ago somebody posted a cute #BelowDeck instagram.

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Impressed by the artistic organization and styling, I clicked on the Instagrammer’s profile and 4 hours later had a new official girl crush.  Libbie Summers is Martha Stewart with a sense of humor. (something I relate to)  Libbie Summers lives in Savannah.  (The city my grandparents grew up in, so again something I relate to.)  In fact, I was originally planning on naming my daughter Savannah but my cousin beat me to it.  WHich is totally fair considering the fact that she is already married and has children and I’m still trying to figure out how to keep cacti alive.  Instead, I’m going to name my daughter Georgia. YOU HEAR THAT ALL OTHER COUSINS. DIBS ON GEORGIA!!!!!!!) Where was I? oh right Libbie Summers.  So after watching every single charming video on her website, and reading 2 months back into her blog, I also discovered that she used to work on yachts.  (yet again, something I relate to.)  Even if you have no ties to Savannah or have never worked on a boat, my guess is you will still enjoy Libbie’s refreshing take on all things domestic. She’s a refreshing mix of whimsy and irreverence and still manages to pay homage to the classic traditions with a unique,modern spin.  And I just realized her last name is Summers which is obviously even more perfect for this blog post.  Some things are just meant to be.

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I once made fortune cookies from Scratch for a Chinese New Year celebration when I was the Chief Stew on the Amway family’s yacht.  They are the NICEST people ever so I just put personalized messages inside, but I think I like Libbie’s idea a little bit more.  WATCH THIS:

 

Check out Libbie’s website here and laugh your way to Domestic Goddess level life.  (after you read the rest of my blog of course)

3)Bagels

Within one mile of my apartment there is a Target, Home Goods, Chick Fil A and Einstein Bagels which might be the best thing to ever happen to me (and simultaneously the worst thing to happen to my wallet and bikini collection).  There are plenty of options for food in the area as well: (high end, low end, Italian, Greek, Japanese and Thai….) but for some reason, at least twice a week I find myself craving one of these bad boys:

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Until recently I always hated the “What would be your last meal?” question because I thought it was impossible to answer.  But I believe it was Einstein himself that said, “when you find the one, you just know.”  Or maybe that was an E-Harmony commercial……either way, I can honestly say that a Lox bagel would be my last meal of choice.  The colors are beautiful, the textures are varied and something about it just feels so civilized.  It’s like the best dressed of all baked goods and it tastes indulgent but not too heavy.  The lox bagel: Fashion and Function.

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Which got me to thinking…..bagels are so easy, so satisfying and so versatile.  Why don’t I set up a bagel bar when I’m entertaining guest more often? It beats the hell out of turning on the oven or getting a pan dirty.  It’s the classiest DIY food station with the least amount of work!  Just set out a toaster, a few different spread options, and ramekins of different toppings and boom. Brunch is served. Mark my words: Bagels are the new Doughnuts.

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4) Capri Sweatpants/Wedge Combo (words I never thought I’d type….)

Kate was slammed on the internet for her pairing of knee length lounge wear with less than loungey heels but I don’t care. I think the look is easy, breezy but not completely sloppy.

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Kate Hudson always embodies effortless beachy chic to me and this ensemble is no exception.   The secret is in the platform wedge sandals. It takes the comfy pants up a notch….prefereably about 6 inches worth.  I’ve owned many pairs of this model footwear.  They are just so freaking comfortable and daytime appropriate  AND still let me feel like aisle 5 of the grocery store is a catwalk.  LL628kate2

 I like this pair by Abercrombie and Fitch

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Or even this pair by Roxy

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A python print similar to K. Hud’s shoes by Michael Kors

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The perfect, goes with everything wear every single day for the entire summer wedge. By Stuart Weitzman.

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I think my heart skipped a beat when I discovered the next little beauty.  Of course it’s Christian Louboutin, of course it is. I would literally wear these with everything in my closet. Stripes, polka  dots, sweatpants, gold sequins…..everything.

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5)Watermelon
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Cheerful and refreshing, watermelon is basically the patron fruit of summer. Just enter the word in your interest search bar and seemingly countless cool and delicious ideas come up. Here are some of my favorites:

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Watermelon is more that just a snack item, it’s a color scheme and a cultural icon that automatically brings a smile to anyones face.

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So now that I’ve posted my first Love List of July, I’m headed out to the local shopping plaza down the road to buy items to place in welcome baskets for 4th of July guests visiting from New York tomorrow.  I’m thinking cheesy Florida post cards, sunblock, beach towels and champagne…..but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I also stop and have a lox bagel for dinner, end up checking Target for a pair of grey sweatpant capris and leave Publix with a large green melon……And a bottle of vodka to go inside it.  It’s summer!

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(somewhat) Weekly Love List

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Okay so maybe I was overly ambitious with my plan to post a weekly lust list.  It’s not that there was any shortage of things I loved lately, more that there always seemed to be a shortage of something far more valuable: time.  First I picked up a last minute freelance job on a yacht in the Bahamas (plenty of things to love there) and was too busy working to play on my computer.  And then when I did have the luxury of time, I was working on Bahamas Wi-Fi which is comparable to trying to start a fire with a coconut. Pretty much pointless.

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Then when I got back from the Bahamas, I was behind on all of my real life stuff like laundry and book deadlines and general grooming. Every time I’d set aside precious time to do a blog post, the phone would ring and an email would arrive or there’d be a housewives marathon on Bravo.  Priorities people, that bottle of sauvignon blanc wasn’t going to drink itself. So now I’m feeling more caught up and I am finally ready to post my 2nd weekly lust list. A month later.  So maybe time management isn’t my strong point but I’m not going to worry about that, I’d rather celebrate the little things in life.

1) Flamingos

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Maybe it’s because I was raised in Florida that I have such a fondness for these kitschy things. Or maybe it’s because it’s literally impossible not to smile when you spot one in their natural habitat, like the lawns of retired people.  Either way, there’s just something about a bright pink flamingo that ruffles my feathers in all the right ways. Obviously the preferred type is the plastic variety sold at every home depot in the sunshine state, but lately I’ve noticed these retro chic birds popping up everywhere from fashion to home decor. Kate Spade has an entire line infused with flamingos this season! (Sometimes I wonder if Kate Spade is my soul mate……first she did a holiday collection dedicated to Space themed things and now this. It must be a Kate thing)

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FUN FACT: a flock of flamingos is called a flamboyance

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Maybe you also appreciate a good flamingo like the rest of us but just aren’t quite sure you are ready to commit to full retro kitsch they require.  I get it, a pink lawn flamingo is a bold statement.  That still doesn’t mean you can’t have your own flock. Instead spray paint them gold and keep up with the trending migrational pattern in a more subtle way. I love it because it takes something unexpected and makes it even more unexpected. Whoa.

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2) Tibetan Terriers

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I want a Tibetan Terrier so so sooooooooooo bad.  The only problem is I don’t want to have to walk it, train it, feed it, be financially responsible for it or bathe it. Life can be so unfair sometimes.

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Basically I want a dog that looks like a stuffed animal that is as low maintenance as possible. Considering the fact that I’ve already killed one of the cacti I received as a house warming gift 2 months ago, maybe a stuffed animal is my best bet after all.
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#3) Amal Clooney’s Style

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She’s gorgeous. She’s a human rights attorney or something else impressive and noble.  She’s married to George Clooney. Let’s face it, just when you’re feeling pretty good about yourself all it takes is one photo of this woman and then you realize you are more of a basic bitch than you ever thought possible. Compared to Amal Clooney, we’re ALL basic bitches. Even you Anna Wintour. BASIC. So obviously that’s while I hate Amal. On the other hand I LOVE her style.  Somehow she has mastered looking both feminine and powerful and whimsical and polished all in one perfect outfit after another.  Her style is so unique and effortless and flirty and high fashion.  The way she puts things together are always unexpected but still feel so right.  Honestly I think she’s an alien.

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when I saw the above two photos for the first time my self loathing level skyrocketed to new heights. Why didn’t I ever think to dream of wearing a floral appliqué avant garde structured lace dress?!?!?! It’s like staring straight into the sun during an eclipse, it hurts but I can’t help myself and just keep looking not wanting to miss a thing.

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I don’t even like the outfit above, but because it’s Amal I’m just going to assume that my small, inferior brain simply cannot comprehend the genius behind it.  If anybody else wore this I would say they looked like a walking test for color blindness or epilepsy; the tap-dancing musical.  But because its her, I say “I want to understand!!!!!!”

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” …..then I told George that I didn’t have any clean clothes so I just made his clothes into a super cool outfit and I’ll be there in 5 minutes…..”

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Because you know she literally just threw this on at the last minute to go get some coffee and still looks like an ad for French Vogue.

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4)Well Styled Bookshelves

a bookshelf is more than just a storage device for all of your old “Microsoft for Dummies” guides and embarrassing collection of every Harry Potter book. It’s a focal point for a well dressed space and an opportunity to express your personality.

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What better way is there to make yourself look like, totally super smart than a collection of books.  Let’s face it, the books are just as much for decoration as the rest of the items of visual interest you’re going to add but when done well, a super stylized book shelf is textbook chic.

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The above photo was taken at a friends house, although it would belong in the same dewy decimal section as professional interior design books. I love the perfect imperfect symmetry of it.

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clearly somebody cool lives here

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Grouping by color, what a novel thought. It definitely seems to be the way to go.  Who cares if your Cosmo Guide to Kama Sutra is next to the Holy Bible. As long as the covers are the same color, it works.  bsf

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The above photo was taken at Baker’s Bay when I was in the Bahamas not creating blog posts….which brings me to my next point.

#5) Baker’s Bay

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I had the unique privilege of visiting Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club while working my last yacht job and fell hard for the beauty, charm and joie de vivre of this private island paradise. Between the organized yet organic landscaping, crystal blue waters from nearly every vantage point and unexpected delights dotted around the property (like a free tequila bar or a miniature golf course where brightly painted conch shells mark the holes) , I can totally see why celebs like Reese Witherspoon, Gisele Bundchen and Mr. Amal Clooney himself have homes there.  I’ve never had a near death experience but after visiting Baker’s Bay I can honestly say I’ve seen heaven and it is worth the wait to get in.

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Oh what’s this, a fort with bottles of tequila on ice and an ocean view glamping set up on the roof? It would be rude not to stop.

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This has inspired me should I ever have to organize another f$&*ing beach party for yacht guests again.  Just send this over with some towels and wait for everyone to pass out.  Genius.

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So there you have it my weekly lust list.  I know that originally I planned on doing ten items a week but we all have more important shit to do than looking at pretty pictures on the internet so I feel like 5 is a happier medium.  I’ve never been one to be suffocated by things like exact numbers or times, I’m too creative and easily distracted for things like that.  So until next week (fingers crossed) I’ll be on the lookout for things that brighten my days and hopefully yours as well.  Check back in November and I’m sure I will have managed to blog about them by then. Unless there’s another Bruce, I mean Caitlyn, Jenner special on.  In that case don’t even bother calling me because I’m obsessed.

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My Weekly Love List

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I’m introducing a new segment to my blog: a Weekly Lust List.  I used to do this on FB years ago, not only is it a fun way for me to share the things I love, but it makes me pay attention to what makes me happy throughout the week.  I’m hoping I can commit to posting my weekly lust list every Wednesday as a mid week pick me up, but only time will tell.  Anyways, here are my current 10 favorite things to get started. Until next Wednesday…..

1) These emoji balloons. Because they’re just so flipping’ cute!emoji balloons

2) Free People’s ‘Long Beach’ tank.  I have it in black and white and am thinking of ordering multiples in every color so I can wear it every single day.  It’s the perfect top for the warm florida summer weather and the racer cut front is super flattering.  It’s so much more stylish than just your average ribbed tank but every bit as comfortable.tankmaintanktuck

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3) Early summer thunderstorms. Around this time of year in Florida you can practically set your clock by the weather pattern.  You know it’s 3 p.m. when the afternoon rain rolls in.  It’s the perfect excuse to take a relaxing siesta and afterwards the blazing temperature drops at least a few degrees.  Not to mention the fact that I count it as a mini car wash for my white car every day.  I love it when Mother Nature does my chores for me while I take a nap.
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4) this one might be my favorite.  I am OBSESSED with geometric glass terrariums lately.  I love how it’s a mix of nature and structure.  Organized Organic as I like to call it. There’s just something so other worldly and futuristic about the alien looking plants showcased in the faceted objets de art.

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5) I feel like God is basically yelling at me to buy these Christian Louboutin pumps.  I’ve always loved this certain outfit Blake Lively wore to a film premiere, the burberry skirt is both glamourous and simple and the tucked tank looks effortless yet polished. However I especially love how her heels just seem to disappear and make her legs look about 5 miles long.  So imagine my excitement when a google search revealed that this dream shoe is actually named the ‘So Kate’.  Obviously they’re just meant to be in my closet. I don’t even feel like I have a choice at this point.

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6) Using letter cookie cutters on melons. It’s G-E-N-I-U-S ! what a cute way to make table settings or drink garnishes for a summer party!  You could make a melon name skewer for every guest and throw them in the freezer beforehand, then hand them out in individual cocktails.  These deliciously delightful decorations will not only keep your guests beverages cold, but also serve as way for everyone to keep track of which drink is theirs. 

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7) Brittany Snow’s Brandon Sun dress at the 2015 MTV Movie Awards.  I just love everything about it, the clean lines, the perfect tailoring, the skirt length and the color combo.  Red and pink can be a dangerous mix to attempt. If it’s not done right you can end up looking like a Valentine’s edition Barbie doll gone wrong, but when done well it’s both striking and innocent and totally chic. I already have a Badgley Mischka dress that celebrates this irreverent pairing of hues and it is one of my all time favorite frocks but I might break down and get this Brandon Sun number as well.
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8) I’ve been framed!  Okay so maybe I am a bit guilty of a fashion crime….. I recently started wearing glasses even though I don’t really need them. They’re strictly for vanity.  There is no prescription, the lenses are just clear glass, but whenever I wear them I instantly feel smarter and like I have my shit together. My only regret is that I didn’t get them sooner so that I could have worn them all these years working as a Chief Stewardess.  My glasses make me feel like a boss, I admit it. I guess this means I’m a little bit hipster, guilty as charged. At least I don’t eat kale.

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(Notice I’m wearing my Free People ‘Long Beach’ tank….all day, errday)

9) gold sideways initial necklace by Albeit.  One initial is cool but I think it would be even cooler to wear one of each of your initials for a layered effect.  

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10) This song has been on replay for the past 5 days in my car.  It was just released last week and NPR was quick to sing it’s praises in their ‘Songs We Love’ segment. I can’t help but completely agree. 

“Love Again” feels a world away. It’s compositionally spiritual, with piano chords that would be equally suited for an organ, and flashes of lyrics that could ring true in church pews. Whichever way you read the lyrics,  the Detroit singer vocals feel like a hand outstretched, an acknowledgment of the trials of the past, and an invitation to move toward a better future: “Give it time, give it time / This ain’t no race.”

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home is where the art is

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I will never forget the conversation I had with one of my favorite cousins in a Texas Roadhouse nearly 10 years ago. Leslie ia a few years older than me and has always been the ‘cool cousin’ I looked up to….the way she dressed, the way she spoke, the way she could command the attention of an entire room of people with either her hilarious stories or captivating dance moves (Leslie, if you’re reading this, don’t worry: I won’t mention a certain amazing Tina Turner routine you are begged to do at every wedding reception, that will be our family’s little secret) Even this past weekend I called my cool cousin for some advice because when faced with life decisions from outfits to etiquette I often think “what would Leslie do?” Anyways, back to the life changing chat we he had in that chain restaurant where they throw peanut shells on the floor with reckless abandon. She had just left her friends and family back home and moved to Florida in hopes of finding in work in the (at the time, mysterious to me) yachting industry.  While we waited for our margaritas and bloomin’ onion to arrive, I asked her what in the world had made her decide to leave everything familiar behind and start a new adventure in an unknown world. Her answer was inspiring. She said something to the effect of,

“Let’s say my life is a painting and I am the only artist that gets to decide what that painting is going to look like. I can do whatever I want with this painting. I can make it bold and colorful or I can make it calm and peaceful.  Maybe I want to put some bright pink over here or some pretty blue over there….whatever I want to do it’s my painting. Everything I do in my life is adding something to that painting, and I can make it look however I want. The only thing that matters is that in the end, I step back and say, I made something beautiful.  I guess lately, I just didn’t love how my painting was turning out. I wasn’t feeling inspired by what I saw anymore so I decided to start with a blank canvas and make a new painting.”

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Now that wasn’t a verbatim account of what she said but the sentiment is the same.  At first when Leslie stared telling me that her life was a painting I wondered if maybe she’d had too much tequila already but when she was done explaining I could only wonder what I wanted my ‘painting’ to look like. The thing I loved most about Leslie’s metaphor was the idea that we all have the freedom- and ultimately the responsibility- to make our personal painting as beautiful as possible. And if you don’t like how it’s turning out, you can always rinse off your brushes, choose some new colors and paint yourself a new life.

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“Everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.” ~Helena Bonham Carter

“Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It’s all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self-portrait. Everything is a diary.”~Chuck Palahniuk

Art, at its simplest, is a form of communication. 

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whatisartThis is an especially pertinent subject in my life at the moment as I redecorate my boyfriend’s apartment.  Actually ‘redecorate’ might not be the right term because I’m not sure that what he already had in here really counts as decor.  Basically I am starting with a blank canvas which is great, but somewhat overwhelming.  I find myself having an existential identity crisis every time I’m in the throw pillow aisle of Home Goods…. “Which pillow defines my personal style?A bright chevron or a subtle neutral ? Maybe a black and white graphic? Am I more bohemian-modern or eclectic-classic?!?!?”  tp1tp2

As if choosing the perfect throw pillows aren’t enough to keep me up at night, there was an even bigger problem I had to face. Unfortunately the only thing the boy had hanging on the walls was a HUMONGOUS monstrosity of a painting that some friends had handed down to him.  Right away I could see why they’d decided to part with it. 4 feet x 5 feet of hideousness dominated the main living space in his apartment and made my life a living hell. It was like having an offensive roommate that never left.  After a few weeks I realized the thing was giving me anxiety and finally I decided I just couldn’t live with it staring at me anymore. It is currently resting against the wall facing in, mostly because I don’t think it can fit thought the door but also because the boy feels bad about throwing it out. Warning: the following image may trigger those with a sensitive gag reflex.

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it’s just so bad

As a compromise, I suggested that I would buy some canvas to COVER the beastly piece and paint a new focal point for the room.  You know, one that doesn’t look like it belongs in a strip mall chinese buffet from 1987? So that’s the plan and I am so excited, except now that opens an entire world of possibility. What to do with my blank canvas?

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In preparation for my creative endeavor, I’ve done what any girl would do: I started a pinterest inspiration board.  Here are some of my faves:

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At any rate, I’m certain that whatever I end up painting will be better than the horrible rust and mustard colored thing that I’m covering up.  And I guess if I end up not totally in love with what I create I can always ask myself “what would cool cousin Leslie do?” She wouldn’t be afraid to paint whatever she wanted on that blank canvas.

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Days of Christmas Holiday Shopping Guide: Days 4-1

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4 CALLING BIRDS

4 This is a gift for literally  anyone in your contacts list regardless of their area code. Whether they are on your daily speed dial or just more of an ‘in case of emergency’ loved one, I think it’s safe to say everyone has a cell phone these days.  Rather than spending your time roaming and incurring excess charges searching for a personal yet affordable present for your receiver, check out Society6 collection of decorative phone covers.  With over 80 pages of $35 options, you’ll be sure to find at least one that is perfectly dialed in to even the most quirky tastes and guaranteed to have a good reception.  I’ve never used a phone cover before, but here are some of my faves…just in case 😉 case1 case2   call8

I think the one below was created especially for the citizens of the Space Coast: a surfing astronaut should be our unofficial official mascot. #321pride

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 The next one felt familiar to me for some reason, like I’d seen it before or something…..

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This one might be my very FAVORITE…..It must be a Kate thing.

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3 FRENCH HENS

3a3   The only thing more French than macarons would be a man named Pierre in a striped shirt ,wearing a neck scarf and a beret, drinking a glass of wine and eating macarons.  No need to go le crazy though.  These delicate yet palette striking confections are like creme puffs on their best behavior.  As my mother has always taught me, nothing says “it’s a party!” like creme puffs and Macarons share the same festive sentiment, their bright colors and cheerfulness proudly proclaiming   “c’est une fête!”.  They’re perfect for the holiday season!  The tiny merengue sandwiches of ganache or jam are a delightful mix of whimsy and elegance, yet another example of how the French are the masters of beautiful simplicity. french5 french3 french7   french1   As with most beautiful things, Macarons are not as simple as they appear to be.  In fact, I would say as far as making desserts go, they have an intermediate to advanced level of difficulty (but nowhere near the highly advanced, expert-only level of prailines – those delicious but high maintenance little f#$%ers (pardon my french)are nearly impossible to get right).  Any pastry chef worth their salt (and sugar) will tell you that baking is edible chemistry and requires specific tools, timing, temperatures.  Maybe for you this means putting the half eaten remnants of  the pre made cookie dough slab that you bought with secret intentions of eating raw (we all do it) on a cookie sheet in the oven until they look done enough – Everyone has their own degrees of precision – but for the more ambitious recreational pot stirrers, a macaron kit can take your cookie game from “Le Miserables” to “Ces’t Magnifique!” french6 macset french4 In case you heaven’t noticed, I love a good themed anything, all I need is a jumping off point and I get carried away, my mind running wild with all the related possibilities. It seems to be, for lack of a better word, a running theme in my creative life…..which brings me to that extra ooh la la item to include with the macarons for added je ne sais quoi……a pretty apron. There’s a reason the idea of a french maid is coquettish and flirty while the term ‘maid’ just sounds a bit depressing (trust me, I’m a yacht stewardess) and I think it is the frilly apron…..which has me thinking, maybe I should add some ruffles to my uniform on my next boat….. Aprons2-757058 apronapron3cest noel 2

2 TURTLE DOVES

turtle-doves-card Turtle Dove   A little bit earthy and a little bit polished, I am in love with tortoise shell anything!  Despite my natural inclinations, it’s not really appropriate to wear leopard print every day….that would be a little too crazy cat lady.  And super slutty. But that’s where tortoise shell comes in……exotic yet understated, neutral but noticeable, it’s timeless beauty isn’t going anywhere anytime soon….slow and steady wins the accessory fashion race. turlte 8   turtle2 30_Louis-Vuitton-Minaudiere-Bijou-Evening-Clutch_32616_left_angle_zoom_0 tort1 turtle5     this might be my soulmate necklace: turquoise, gold and the leopard print of hard textiles?!?!?! Imagine this with a white almost grecian draped dress, a good tan and beachy waves….my favorite look of all time, ever. Thanks for coming out every other outfit option, but you can hit the showers. GAME OVER we have a winner. tort2 1

And finally, everyone sing together!…..or not… Fine be that way, Grinchy McScrooge

& A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE!!!!

1pt   I’m not going to pretend to know what I’m talking about here. I was born without the sense of smell so the products that follow may actually be disgusting but the photos are pretty, the brands are high quality and they go with the pear theme.  It was either this or me suggesting everyone to buy the complete Partridge family DVD collection.  I think I made the right choice but who really nose, not me that’s for sure. At least I’m not so scents-ative about my smelling handicap that I can’t appreciate the fact that everyone else enjoys a good nostril party and put my two scents in, though it may not be worth much.  I know what you’re probably thinking, “Poor Kate, I can’t believe she can’t smell anything. That stinks!….er….awkward…..”  But they say that when someone is missing a sense the other ones are heightened I’m here to tell you that is 100% true.  I have perfect vision, acute selective hearing, and God obviously threw in a fashion sense as a consolation prize…..along with a sense of humor 😉 Here are a few of my perfect pear selections, though you’ll have to sniff them out yourself.

 Jo and Malone seems to be a popular brand with yacht owners.

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I think these are crystal Lamp Bergeres, a beautiful and functional work of art for the special people in your life (i.e. the people you are ready to spend real money on)  I gave my mom one a few years ago, and so far that’s the only person that has made the cut….you can find inexpensive ones though for as low as $40-$50

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It’s a pear candle….and that’s really all I can think to say about it….i got nothin. But again, it goes with the theme so just humor this not so humorous description.

pear6Maybe you like Jo and Malone, and you like pear, but you prefer the weird pseudo zen stick method of aromatizing a space.   I think of these as the cacti of scented devices…..pokey, low maintenance and usually shoved in a corner and completely forgotten about until the bi-annual dusting (if you’re a domestic over achiever like moi’) pear5     This next product is really promising a whole hell of a lot…..calm down bath gel, calm the f#%k down.  You’re liquid soap with a little shimmer.  I’m just looking for a dose of enjoyable hygiene not a lifetime original movie after school holiday special in a bottle.  You seem a little desperate.   pear4

Artisanal pear scented bath bars: it’s the hipster of soap…..

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Hey look another pear candle….because, it’s a pear themed gift and I can.  It’s my blog and I’l post what I want to.

    pear   Crabtree and Evelyn seems to have a very popular line of Pear and Pink Magnolia products. I’m no smell expert but something tells me this would be crisp and fruity with notes of floral.  Just a guess.  And the picture was pretty. pear7 So there you have it!  My 12 Days of Christmas Holiday Shopping Guide is complete!  Coincidentally, today is December 13 which means there are actually 12 days until Christmas so that worked out well. I love happy accidents!  Unfortunately that means I only have 12 days to do my shopping which I haven’t even started yet……don’t judge me, I’ve been a little busy -you think blog posts just grow on trees?  Because if they do, I’ll take 2 blog trees and one blog cactus for when my blog trees dies as most of my plants eventually do …..or even better than a blog tree, someone to do my shopping for me while I spend my days playing on my laptop.  A girl can dream. xoK   hgend hgend3 hgend5   hgend2 anchrgft

Days of Christmas Holiday Shopping Guide: 8-5

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8 MAIDS A MILKING

cow decalf coffee There’s just something about frothed milk that transforms a regular cup o’ joe into an udderly amazing treat.  Working as a stewardess, I have made my fair share of cappuccino’s over the years. I’ve used almost every aerating, steaming and frothing device available from battery operated, hand held wands to huge, industrial steaming machines yet none of them create a finer foam than my Bodum milk frother….I like it a latte! It’s the perfect gift for any coffee lover.

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latte6 Why not add an extra shot of joy to the gift and include a kit of latte stencils and decorating utensils so that your at home barista can espresso her creative side and take her morning beverage from depresso to coffee talk conversation worthy.

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lattetree latte1 latte3 And if you really want to get a handle on perfect gift giving, complete your java-licious present with a pretty decorative mug. mug2

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Anthroplogie has tons of beautiful options. milk5

I’ve really bean enjoying the one my sister got me for Christmas a few years ago.mi

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 7 SWANS A SWIMMING

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Let’s face it: we all have days where we feel more like an ugly duckling than a stunning swan, so it’s nice to find products that can help us put our best faces forward.  These are some of my favorite tricks of the beauty trade that I’m sure pretty much any girl would love to add to their cosmetic arsenal.

A Quality Set of Makeup Brushes

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CONICAL HAIR WAND

Whether you have pin straight hair or bouncy ringlets, I think every basically girl wishes for the same hair look; effortless flowing waves. Hair that says, “I woke up this way: gorgeous”.  Unfortunately achieving this unstyled look is not so effortless. I’ve tried everything from saltwater spray to moroccan oil trying to achieve the perfect imperfect hairstyle but it never came out quite right.  If used a curling iron the curls were to curly, if i used a flat iron they waves weren’t curly enough.  I was aiming for sexy tousled but usually ended more toddlers and tiaras…until I discovered THE WAND.  It’s called a wand because of it’s obvious shape resembling a light saber but it could also be because the results are nothing short of magic.  It doesn’t matter what hair type you have, once you wave this device around your strands, your hair type is officially perfection.  Now that have this device, my curling and flat irons have been forced into retirement, now just collecting dust under my bathroom sink with their older and never ever used relative, the crimping iron.

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Clarisonic

This hand held, rechargeable oscillating brush offers spa treatment results right at your fingertips. They say beauty is only skin deep, but you should probably exfoliate to make it shine it’s brightest.  After I used my Clarisonic for the first time I couldn’t get over how smooth my face felt and now I can’t imagine life without it. swan8swan9 Maybe it’s just me, but I seriously believe there is no such thing as having eyelashes that are too long…. well at least I used to feel that way until I started using Latisse.  This stuff is a bit pricey but worth every penny.  Originally designed as a treatment for glaucoma,  doctors began to notice that their test patients all seemed to have one thing in common……the product wasn’t helping their glaucoma as much as they’d hoped but everyone’s eyelashes looked Amazing! I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I hadn;t seen it with my own (gorgeously thick lashed) eyes…the stuff is magic.  It works so well I eventually found myself applying mascara one day and thinking the impossible; “Are my eyelashes too long? Should I maybe trim them?” Of course I didn’t but buyers beware: Do not use Latisse unless you are ready for compliments from strangers on a daily basis.  This stuff is basically miracle grow.  You know what a great problem to have is?  When it’s annoying that your eyelashes keep hitting your sunglass lenses because they’re JUST THAT LONG. swans Once you’ve been using Latisse  for a couple of weeks and have eyelashes that are nearly touching your eyebrows, might as well take it next level and use a great mascara. There are so many options that I find myself confused….volumizing, lengthening, curling, defining, smudge-proof, thickening, clump free, waterproof, extending, new and improved wand shape, separating bristles…..which one do I want?  How about one that does it all, is that too much too ask? Unlike a lot of beauty products where you can get by with a drugstore version just fine….quality and design really does matter when it comes to mascara.  There’s a fine line between  feminine pretty battable lashes and scary, chunky embarrassing  Tammy Faye Baker-esque disasters, a good mascara makes the difference.  My little sister recently turned me onto this brand and I  must say it’s the best mascara I’ve ever used.

ARBONNE IT’S A LONG STORY MASCARA

arbonne mascara The lightweight yet dramatic coverage makes it easy to see why Vanity Fair beauty blog picked this mascara as one of their top 5 picks.  If the rest of Arbonne’s products are as great as this, they are surely an up and coming company to keep your gorgeously lashed eyes on. lashes1 beautiful 6

6 GEESE A LAYING

I’m going to warn you ahead of time, I’m about to shell out and lay some egg-stroidinarily rotten puns but at least omletting you know in advance.  I just can’t help but crack these jokes, though I’ll try to get this section done and over easy as possible.  Just try and look at the sunny side, this is merely a quick segg-way that might crack you up a little bit before you get to number 5, which I promise is a hard one to beat.   eggs There are a few things in life you should own that mean you are officially an adult who has her shit together:

  •  towels of various sizes in your bathroom that all match
  • quality pots and pans
  • proper sets of wine glasses (red, white AND champagne)
  • a nice iron/ironing board
  • coasters

None of these items are necessities by any means but they are things that represent an intentional, curated grown up lifestyle versus just getting by.  Nobody wants to live like a college student forever and it’s the small things that make a world of difference.  This is one of the reasons I absolutely adore Egg Cups. egg Egg cups have been used since prehistoric times, achaeological recovery discovering the presence of egg cup use as early as the 18th century BC.  Despite their archaic roots, egg cups are refined defined. Practical and usually decorative, they are the rare perfect marriage of  both fashion and function which to me, is ultimate elegance. eggcup2 An egg cup is used when serving soft boiled eggs, another favorite thing of mine although I’m not sure if I love soft boiled eggs for their taste or because the whole presentation feels so civilized.  It’s almost the classic question: which came first my love of egg cups or the egg?” eggs10 The egg cup has to be one of the world’s simplest and successful ideas produced in countless 1000’s but really has become ‘collectable’ during the past few decades. Collecting egg cups is called “pocillovy.”  And you can use them for more than just eggs! They are an eegs-cellant way to stay organized and keep all of your office supplies from getting scrambled together.  ( warned you about the puns) eggart3

Egg cups are also adorable bud vases. They can be a perfect tiny arrangement for a guest bathroom:

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 …or a colorful, charming  addition to any tabletop.

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Succulents + Egg Cups are almost too perfect together, I practically can’t imagine succulents any other way. eggs12eggs13

The egg cups above clearly use Latisse!

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5 GOLDEN RINGS

When it comes to accessories for me they might as well be call EXCESSories, I always pile way too many on.  Understated is not the look I go for and I often end up  resembling a Christmas tree myself, sparkle and ornaments hanging from every limb. I went through a pretty major ‘arm party’ phase where my left wrist was piled with bangles and bracelets of every kind.  I think I eventually had tan lines from the ever-present collection of cuffs,  the 4 inch section of  my wrist pale from never seeing the light of day under all of my arm flare.  I’ve finally managed to grow out of that addiction, although every now and then I regress when getting dressed and think to myself “what does this outfit need…more bracelets!!!”.  Considering my bohemian bauble ‘more is more’ taste when it comes to all things that glitter, I am totally feeling the new trend of wearing rings on every finger that is sweeping style blogs  at the moment.  If you also like it, then you better put a ring on it.  Or 5 for that matter, just keeping piling them on…..the look is like fancy brass knuckles and a definite knockout gift to hand out. rings7 rings1 rings3rings5 rings2 ringz2

A perfectly foamed latte, products that make me feel pretty,

 elegant egg holders and stacks of gold rings.

These items may not be for everyone on my shopping list

but they are certainly a few of my favorite things.

anchrgft

Days of Christmas Holiday Shopping Guide: 12-9

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If you are anything like me you will wait until there are WAY less than 12 days until Christmas to start shopping for friends and family. But instead of hitting the mall on December 23 like a mad woman, buying anything that will somehow pass as thoughtful and pre-meditated, I thought why not get a head start for a change?  My goal this year is to get the perfect present for everyone on my list and spend Christmas Eve relaxing with a glass of wine (or 3) rather than staying up until 2 a.m. frantically wrapping all of my last minute purchases like I usually do with a glass of wine (or 3).

Another thing that makes shopping so difficult for me, besides my tendency to procrastinate, is simply not knowing what to get for people.  I needed some inspiration so, (always one to love a theme!) I turned to the classic holiday song ‘The 12 days of Christmas’ as my holiday shopping guide for 2014.  Sure, most of the items are gifts I would want to receive, but hopefully my choices will at least help you find something for the wine loving, procrastinating friend or family member in your life or even be something to add to your own wish list.  xoK

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12 DRUMMERS DRUMMING

I love music.  I would probably live most of my life with ear buds in if it was socially acceptable.  And because I’m all about that bass, a good pair of headphones is imperative.  The fact that there are super stylish options out there would make any gift recipient want to rock this musical accessory 24/7 and live their entire life marching to the beat of a different drummer.

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11 PIPERS PIPING

I’m no Martha Stewart, but as my best friend’s 3 year old will tell you I have quite the reputation for enjoying a good ol’ fashion cookie decorating party.  What’s not to love? Its arts & crafts where you can eat your art supplies! I say why use paint and paper when you can use frosting and cookie dough. If you make a mistake, just eat the evidence: WIN/WIN. The secret to perfectly decorating cookies, cupcakes or any dessert item for that matter is piping tips.  They’re relatively inexpensive and will surely make any beginner baker feel like a Cake Boss in the kitchen.

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***Helpful Hint**** Remember to refrigerate your icing or you will walk away for a second only to return to a less than charming mess as I learned at my holiday party’s cookie decorating station last year.

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10 LORDS A LEAPING

Men are difficult to shop for.  Luckily for anyone reading this post I have had to buy presents for a variety of exes throughout the years.  Here are some of the gifts I’ve given to my boyfriend ghosts of Christmas past that will be sure to have your current lord of the manor leaping for joy.

R.I.P The CEO

2013-2013, parting gift: engraved cufflinks.

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These are the same exact cufflinks I gave to the businessman I briefly dated.  I chose these Alfred Dunhill mother of pearl beauties for him on a trip to NY.  I love custom engraving but unfortunately there wasn’t much room in their simple design so I opted for a simple ‘XO’ on the back of each one.  I couldn’t help but laugh to myself when the lady doing the engraving asked if I wanted my letters capitalized or not……..I told her that I trusted her with that executive creative decision. She could flip them around, reverse image and engrave them upside down for all i cared as those are the only two letters where it wouldn’t even make a difference.  But it was nice of her to ask.

R.I.P. The Sports Fisherman

2009-2010, parting gift: fishing supplies

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After much mental de-bait and subtly fishing for suggestions, I had no idea what to get for the outdoorsy, ocean lover that I once considered my dreamboat.  Though he was more of a catch and release for me, I hope that he reel-y enjoyed master-baiting his rod for the other fish in the sea with all of the fishing accessories I got him at West Marine that year.  I nearly bought the entire store out, hook line and sinker, so I’m sure he was able to lure and tackle himself a keeper for shore.  My favorite part of the gift was when I used all of the green and red sparkly pseudo squids as the “bow” of the present, he informed me that those lures were actually useless for the fish in our area, not understanding the brilliance of my themed gift wrap. That probably should have been a sign.

R.I.P. The Hipster

2011-2011, Parting gift: cool-but-not-too-cool Sunglasses

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I don’t care who you are, where you live, or what kind of underground indie music you listen to….you can never have too many pairs of sunglasses.  Every man, woman and child should have a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers. They are timeless, classic and add that perfect amount of subtle badassery to anyone who wears them.  Think about the Pope…now think about him wearing Black Ray-Bans…see? instagrammable insta-cool.  No filter needed. The second pair is by Persol, an Italian eyewear brand that just says “I mean business, and business is good”. Persol sunglasses are it. Whatever girl is now dating my tattooed, arcade fire and skinny jean loving ex is a lucky girl but I hope she knows I did all the leg work, I dated him before he was cool.  Does that make me a hipster?

R.I.P. The Yachtie

2012-2012, parting gift: Swims Shoes

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I once dated a lucky sailor who was my first mate (on a boat, not in life). Though he ended up not being my soul mate, I hope his soles are at ease every time he slips into the gorgeous pair of Swims I gave him.  Swims are basically the hotter, more stylish big brother of Crocs; they are everything Crocs are proud to be but with a tad more sophistication. Waterproof and machine washable these go anywhere loafers are marketed as ‘the modern galosh’ and have become increasingly popular in the past few years.  Men love them for their rugged durability and women love them for their sleek style, they’re like the Brad Pitt of shoes.

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 If a guy can pull of the royal purple below, he just might be my sole mate (size 10 and up preferred)

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9 LADIES DANCING

Shoes are usually one of two things: Fashion or Function.  I learned this the hard way when I wore my first pair of Louboutins to a family wedding.  They were fabulous throughout the (mostly sitting) ceremony but by the time appetizers were being passed at the reception, I was ready to amputate my own legs off with the nearest butter knife. Once the entrees rolled around I would have killed anyone in the wedding party for a pair of flats and eventually I ended up finding a hidden rest stop where I could briefly take the expensive torture devices off for a just a second. Hear me when I say: Red soles are less impressive sitting on a bench by yourself in miserable pain while very one else is living it up on the dance floor.  That being said, I still love my fancy heels for special occasions (that don’t involve a lot of standing) yet I place even more value on footwear that are both comfortable and cute.   Sex and the City is fiction, no one is meant to wear heels 24/7 but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice in the style department. Ultimate elegance to me is being comfortably stylish so here are some of my flat out favorite footwear finds that any girl can assuredly dance for days in.

Tieks

“the ballet flat, reinvented”

Crafted from fine Italian leather for both beauty and comfort, Tieks ballet flats should take center stage in every girl’s shoe closet. While their signature teal bottoms are reminiscent of a certain other shoe brand’s marketing technique, Tieks offer more than meets the eye. Lightweight and lithe, they are the most ballerina of all the fancy footwork contenders.  Each pair  folds compactly and is easily stored in the built for travel bag it comes with making it the perfect thing to keep in your purse at all times….(especially when wearing stupidly overpriced uncomfortable shoes to a family wedding).

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Birkenstocks

They’re so wrong they’re right.

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All Black Converse

so fly

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especially in leather….fresh to death

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okay so the shoes in that last photo probably aren’t too comfortable but I love them and need them and promise not to complain that they hurt when I wear them……too much.

#’s 8-5 mañana…..

anchrgft

The Perfect Tree

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When I was a little girl I always envied the Christmas tree at Jessica’s house. It was tall and full and perfectly symmetrical (it was fake). All of the ornaments and lights were perfectly coordinated in either pale blue or silver, like the tree was wearing an elegantly matched outfit of diamonds, ice and snowflakes. Jessica’s mother didn’t allow home-made ornaments on the tree, only store bought ones that went with the pretty motif, which seemed to annoy Jessica but I couldn’t understand why. Their tree was magnificent- like something out of a magazine or a department store and I vowed to myself that when I was older I was going to decorate my Christmas tree just like it, or even better! I’d drift off into imagining all the different themes I would do; a pink and purple tree, an under the sea tree, a safari tree……….

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Every time I’d hang out at Jessica’s house during the holidays, I’d return home disgusted at the sight our family tree and it’s hodge podge collection of homemade ornaments. While Jessica’s tree was diamonds and ice, the only motif our tree had was “elmer’s glue and construction paper”. Sure we had a few pretty ones in the mix, usually gifts from my parent’s friends, but for the most part it was a collection of the ghosts of christmas crafts past. And most of them weren’t exactly aging well. Googly eyes had fallen off turning once cheerful elves into creepy cyclops. Noodles had broken off macaroni wreaths with the rest of the dried out pasta elbows hanging by a thread of glue. Opening the cardboard box every year was like witnessing ornament survivor; you never knew which ones had made it another year.  I don’t even know where some of them came from, like the skiing panda bear (now with only one ski) that says Aspen ’87. Unless there was some family vacation I didn’t know about, none of us were even in Aspen in ‘87.

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     Finally one year I’d had enough. I offered my creative design services to my mother when we were out holiday shopping. I had a vision. I called it “Starry, starry night tree’, a tasteful yet glamorous outer space themed tree, with glowing star lights, swirly and sparkling marbled glass planet like orbs and shooting star garland….it was going to be out of this world! and elegant , of course. I was only seven years old so my mom was going to have to pay for all of the supplies, but that was just a minor detail.

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I explained my inspiration and design plan with unbridled passion in aisle 5 of that wal-mart but alas, it was to no avail. No matter how hard I tried to convince my mother that our tree situation needed a major makeover, she refused. She said she actually liked all of the ornaments her children had made and she didn’t want a tree full of matching store bought ornaments. I wondered how I hadn’t realized sooner that I was adopted…..that would explain why I didn’t remember Aspen……..and glumly placed the pieces for my masterpiece “Starry, starry night tree” back on the shelf.

Just today I was in that same Wal Mart buying the usual cleaning supplies and toiletries when on the way to check out I noticed the Christmas decorations were already for sale. I picked up a box of pink and purple glittery ornaments and the part of my brain that’s still six years old said “Pretty, pretty, buy them!!” Then I looked over and saw a fuschia, metallic, miniature tree and my 6 year old brain squealed “It’s pink and shiny and perfect!!!!!” These were the makings of one amazalicious tree! But I didn’t really want any of it. It would have matched my apartment perfectly but for some reason it all seemed so……..fake.

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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to love all of those old handmade ornaments for the same reason I once hated them…..they weren’t bought. They were all made by me and my siblings when we still believed in Santa Clause or were gifts from friends who loved us (and thought of us even on their ski trips to Aspen, whoever they were). I look forward to opening that old cardboard box to discover which ornaments are still hanging on after all these years.

Our tree always looks the same. It’s not a perfect, fake, store bought tree of diamonds and ice. It’s a quirky, real, one of a kind tree of memories and I love it. I love how my family respects the fact that every year since 1991, I’ve placed the yellow star with my 2nd grade picture on the most centered, eye level branch for prime viewing by all visitors to our home. I love that we still have the strangely cute ornament my little sister made when she was young enough to decide a felt Christmas tree cutout should have a bunny on a leash attached to it, as only a four year old can imagine. I love how every year my mother offers us warm apple cider while Manheim Steamroller plays even though we all know she just goes in the kitchen and microwaves some apple juice. I love the adorable picture of my sweet little brother at age 6 in a red angel costume. I grow nostalgic over how I used to enjoy explaining to anyone that remarked how cute he looked that red angels are obviously evil just like the place they came from, until eventually I moved it to the back of the tree. Aahh, memories they can’t be bought and that’s what really makes an ornament special.

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This year, instead of buying matching pink and purple ornaments, I decided to buy supplies to make my own. Until I have a tree full of ornaments that come from a place of love and not a store shelf, I’m going to make ornaments for my friends and family to add to their collections. I’m excited to start this new crafty tradition and one thing is for sure, I’m going to use super hold glue and lots of glitter so my friend’s daughters will love my ornaments more than any store bought ones year after year.

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Naughty and Nice

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I’ve made my list and (spell)checked it twice….Here’s my charming holiday guide to what’s naughty and what’s nice.

naughtynice lts holiday NAUGHTY – Getting Christmas Festive in Mid-November Glittering garlands, twinkling lights and all of those familiar songs make the holiday season feel magical, but when the candy canes are displayed on store shelves before the candy corn has even been cleared away, it’s too much too soon. Just imagine how annoying the song would be if it was called “The 47 days of Christmas”, even the current 12 seems almost gratuitous.   I’m just not ready to hear ‘jingle bell rock’ on the radio or have a toy Santa waving at me when I enter a store until I’ve spent an entire day eating turkey and pumpkin pie while a big inflatable Snoopy is floating down 34th street. NICE – Taking Down Christmas Decorations Before Valentine’s Day It’s January first and you’re exhausted from the holiday season. You got the cards sent out on time (thank you overnight express!), you found perfect gifts for all of your loved ones (thank you American Express!) and you rang in the new year staying up past midnight and drinking champagne (thank you advil and espresso!). Finally, life can now go back to normal and you can focus on your new year’s goals to procrastinate less, spend less and drink less; it’s almost a relief to have the past month behind you……. Except for one thing; the last, big, time consuming remnant of the holidays is staring you right in the face from your living room…..that darn tree. Hopefully you’ll get the dry, pokey thing on the curb before it’s completely brown and an embarrassing mid January announcement to the neighborhood that you are gently easing into your ‘procrastinate less’ resolution. On the other hand, keeping the Christmas lights on the exterior of your house up but turned off is just as good as taking them down…..you’re only going to have to put them back up in 11 months! flamingos GIFT giftgive NAUGHTY – Giving Plastic Gift Cards As Presents The only people who can get away with this gift are single uncles who are used to living the bachelor life and have no idea what to get their nieces and nephews. It’s impersonal, thoughtless and the equivalent of throwing your hands up in the air and saying “I give up!”. The little cards that promise twenty bucks worth of itunes or frappucinos come in handy, but are basically just little plastic coupons…..not the most exciting thing to open up. I’d even say cash is better, at least then the recipients get to decide for themselves how to spend the gift of money. NICE Giving Monogrammed Cards as Presents For about the same amount of money you’d spend on an impersonal gift card to the Gap or Starbucks, you can go online and order stationary beautifully embossed with your loved one’s initials. It is an affordable, thoughtful and elegant gift that anyone would love to unwrap and it’s more than just a gift of stationary – it’s the priceless gift of manners. Once I received my first set of personalized stationary, my etiquette level skyrocketed! I was so proud of the beautiful and very ‘fancy adult’ feeling cards, I looked for any excuse to send out a hand written ‘Thank You’ note. gift2moncard2 moncard3 giftbox vntg NAUGHTY – Sexy Santa’s Helper outfits ‘Tis the season for holiday parties and dressing festive but unless you want to look like a girl who might know how to dance like a pro around the North (ahem) pole, dressing like a ho, ho, ho is a no, no, no……at least when you’re out in public. Sure there is a saying “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” but imagine how less enticing presents would be if they were just hanging out under the tree, completely unwrapped and on display for everyone to see. It’s the mystery that makes this family oriented holiday so magical, no need to take the Polar express yourself train to sexy town. NICE – being a Modest Mary Christmas and a Classy Christmas Carol Inject the holiday spirit into your wardrobe with more fun and glamour. December is all about tinsel and twinkle and things that glitter…. It’ my perfect excuse to wear sequins EVERY DAY!! Go for rich colors, luxurious fabrics and super sparkle. Red satin pants and a white angora sweater would make you the jingle belle of any ball. Don’t be afraid to deck yourself out like a Christmas tree with sparkling ornaments and accessories hanging from every limb; piling on shiny bling and pretty little bows is the perfect finishing touch to your Christmas presence. WB seqme:nicole seq2 swtr In the end, the holiday season is all about spreading joy and celebrating the gifts of family and friends because after all, it’s a wonderful life. So just for the next month, don’t count the calories or the minutes you will inevitably spend waiting in a shopping line, count yourself blessed to share this time with others and count on seeing everyone at the gym the first two weeks of January when we’ll all be workin’ off those holiday cookies together.

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