Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shoe lust

I had my blood taken today, so instead of spending the whole day napping or perking myself up artificially with caffeine, I decided to compile my 2012 shoe lust list (for that natural high).

1. Bonanno's Palm Beach sandals

Top of my list is a pair (and for the record, when I say a pair, I mean a pair in every color, but I will limit myself here to showcasing just one or two each) of Bonanno sandals. 
Now I won't go into the whole history of how Bonanno's are the real Jackie O sandals, about how Jack Rogers is a shameless imitator, nor the fact that Stephen Bonanno is the rightful son and heir to the Bonanno empire, yet divorcing Monica Bonanno left the leather dyes, stamps and even the Palm Beach factory in her hands (how the *** did her divorce lawyer manage that?). No I won't go into that. What I will do is a quick heads up for anyone who is still buying JR's or contemplating them instead of Bonanno's:
  • Bonanno's use ONLY leather throughout, JR's use part man-made materials
  • Bonanno's use rich dyes to color their leather, JR's "paint" the leather, so the color flakes off eventually
  • Bonanno's are all handmade in their (new) Stuart, FL location, JR's are made...where exactly?
  • Bonanno's are the only sandals Lady Lilly Pulitzer wears, as did Jackie O. JR's are NOT.
  • Bonanno's will completely resole your sandals for you, JR's will not
  • Bonanno's leather softens and molds to your foot with age, JR's will crackle, crumble and eventually tear
If you are still considering buying JR's, I am sorry. You are beyond reason.
Stephen Bonanno Palm Beach sandals in gold/gold
My order of priority for Bonanno's is gold/gold, silver/silver, white/gold, red/gold, light pink/white aaand then every other color.
2. Belgian Shoes

Second lust item on the 2012 shoe list are Belgian shoes, natch. I am still debating between Midinette Lizard and Midinette all calf, plus I have heard conflicting reports on sizing.... any insights from readers?

I really want a navy version, since I have waaaaaaay too many brown loafers and I wear a lot of navy jeans... Black with color trim would be my second choice, as I think these would be great for going on a trip where you want comfort and style and don't want to pack more than a couple of pairs of shoes.

3. Ferragamo Varina

Third on my lie awake at night trying to justify buying shoe shopping list is a pair of Ferragamo Varinas. I am super attracted to the color versions, but as an investment shoe, I don't know if I'd dare veer off the black path. Then again, these are a bit more special, so I guess I wouldn't be slumming in them during the day. Then again, my aunt swears by these flats, she's worn her pairs since the 80s and literally just gets the soles replaced, so she doesn't have to break in a new pair!
Drool. Ferragamo Varina's. Essential - no?
I'd probably start with the black calf (not patent) with black bow, cross over to a cream with black bow and then head into candy land with a pair of bright orange, green and pink to round out my Varina family.

4. Tory Burch Reva ballerinas

The next selection is probably a bit chewed out by the prep-set by now, but I do still covet a pair of Tory Burch Reva's. Again I'd love to hear your opinion about their fit, because I'd be ordering online, untried!
Tory Burch Reva's in black calf with gold
Tory Burch Reva in tumbled leather
Again I'd start off with the black with gold medallion to have my Reva base covered, then I'd definitely get a red pair, since I live in both navy and black striped nautical shirts during spring and most of summer.  I love the above pair but wish it had a gold medallion instead.

5. Tod's Gommini mocassin

These driving mocs have been on my shoe lust list for about a decade now. They are the softest, most comfortable slipper shoe you can wear out in public EVER. They are beautifully made, supple, understated and an absolute classic in my book. It is the idea office, travel and driving shoe. As far as I am concerned, these are pure luxury. Naturally I want. every. single. pair.

6. Gucci Horsebit/logo ballet flats & heels
Gucci Mayfair ballet flats
Unfortunately it appears that Gucci no longer makes my dream pair. It was the black logo ballet flat with the green/red webbing across the toe box, topped by a horsebit. They also did a matching block heel with identical logo/webbing/horsebit details that were awesome too. Looks like I'd be hunting down vintage ones... urgh. Is it just me or is wearing someone else's used shoes gross?

So there you have it! My shoe lust list that will bankrupt me for years to come ;-) Fortunately my taste and style preferences are enduring, so I shouldn't feel guilty for buying multiple pairs of $500 loafers, right? Ha!
Have a good week, guys!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Apple hates fun things

I have no problem admitting I spend way too much time on my iPad (Gen 1). I do everything on it, from reading magazines, browsing websites, watching Netflix, checking email, reading blogs and bidding on eBay.
I really do love the iPad. What I haaaate (let me rephrase: HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE) about it is the proprietary restrictions courtesy of Apple being Apple.
My first gripe materialized when I was trying to change a route on Google Maps while on the iPad. Yeah, dragging to change a route on the iPad? Not happening. Perhaps they have improved this on iPad2, I don't know.
Irritation number two happened when I couldn't load any Flash content. That means NOT watching Downton Abbey for free on PBS.com. Oh no. You can't. But you can download it for $$ on iTunes. Why, how generous. Thanks Apple, I think I will use my ASUS mini and save my cashish instead.
But my fiiiiinal straw occurred when I fiiiinally got on Pinterest, thrilled to unload about two years worth of click-and-saved images stored on my iPad, only to discover that oh by the way, loyal iPad user, you cannot click to browse your iPad images through Pinterest. Supposedly there are a couple of Pinterest apps out there, but none that do what I'd like, which is the most simple thing in the world: Browse and upload my photos from my iPad onto Pinterest. Why is that so hard? Are there any web developers out there? Could I commission a custom app, please? I'd be willing to pay $5. Seriously, big money.

Meanwhile, all my pretty pictures are gathering virtual dust and my Pinterest account remains boringly unpopulated while Apple gets off it's proprietary throne and gets with the real world on these issues!!

Thanks for reading my rant. Here are a few pictures I saved on my desktop instead of my iPad to reward you for reading.

(that's right: there are none. you can thank Apple)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

One of my resolutions for 2012 is to be more creative, as opposed to merely stockpiling arts and crafts supplies. Since we're already close to Q2 2012, it was high time I put my paint brushes where my mouth was and get crafting.
Inspired by a Lilly Pulitzer instore mural I started by painting this little floral number:
Lilly Pulitzer-esque tropical flowers
I was considering writing Ladies in a Lilly-style font across the middle and using it as a bathroom sign... any opinions about this? Next I went back to my nautical roots and painted a fairly simple coral painting, based on a Lilly Pulitzer fabric (might be bedding?) that oddly took a whoooole lot longer than I thought it would!
This coral one was going to get emblazoned with a Gents in LP type writing...
(Perhaps I ought to explain this obsession with bathroom paintings: At our current abode, the master bathroom - for females - is immediately adjacent to a guest bathroom - for men - which always causes confusion when guests see the identical white doors one next to the other.... so I need some sort of directional signs).
Anyway, once I had completed the first two, I got a bit braver and grabbed a larger canvas to paint this Lilly Pulitzer jungle book style painting... I would imagine if I had kids this would be perfect for a nursery. I will likely gift it to a dear friend who is having baby number 3 and who has already received the standard baby blankets, rattles and diaper wreaths in multiples. As the baby's sex will be a surprise, pink, green and yellow is gender-neutral enough, wouldn't you say?

Lilly Pulitzer inspired nursery painting
Please excuse the Dixie plate used as palette and packing paper used as furniture protector, the border wasn't dry yet!
Please also excuse my complete lack of knowledge of LP print names and therefore inability to credit my source adequately! Finally apologies for my big gaps in blog postings, hopefully your week wasn't as hectic as mine :-)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sundays are for Pretty Things

Sundays have a tendency of passing by without much to report on. Indeed, laundry, cleaning and organizing seem to be the only things I do on Sundays. Yet every Sunday I want to be surrounded by pretty things and do nice things. So here's a few suggestions on how to cheer up a drab Sunday:
Enjoy tea for one with homemade orange marmelade on wedding gifted Acacia tray
How about starting off your Sunday on a Downton note and breaking out your antique china, homemade jam and a full pot of tea? If you're a purist, only bitter orange marmelade will do. I would have gone all the way and had breakfast in bed, but that pot holds around 1/3 of a gallon of piping hot tea... you do the math.
Next, channel your inner Martha and organize something that doesn't rrrrrreally need organizing.
In case you are wondering, I do not own stock in Office Depot. You just never know when a shortage of staples will cripple the economy, and I will not be caught with my stationary pantaloons around my ankles when that happens.
Having accomplished the only chore-related task permissible on a Sunday (prettifying by way of organizing), the rest of the day should be wiled away combing through the latest catalogues, magazines and of course Matchbook mag.
Matchbook March edition now on virtual newsstands!
When that's all done, you may reward yourself for a Sunday well spent by scouring either the local flea or antique markets or failing that head to eBay and etsy for some unique vintage and antique finds to complement your decor.
Vintage cast iron Dachshund doorstop
I am currently obsesssssssed with High Street Market's Etsy shop. Every time I look at her shop, I find something else I covet. I mean, a cast iron Dachshund doorstop. Seriously, do I even need to explain why I NEED that?
Giant brass walnut nutcracker
Why hello there, brass walnut nutcracker! Has anyone called you genius lately? May I just drop you into a bowl of nuts at Christmas, please? Kelly Galvin Robson has some of her shop's items featured in Matchbook aaaand has the most adorbs blog too. Awesomeness.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Are your notebooks SAFE?

I was browsing Barnes & Noble to get my Moleskine fix in an effort to organize my ever growing pile of magazine "rippings". I love Moleskine: The look, the texture, the colors, the simplicity and the stylishness. I recently bought a couple of extra small pocket notebooks in pink to keep track of things like emergency phone numbers, passwords and such.
So imagine my intrigue when there is a "California Prop 65 warning" on each Moleskine page on www.bn.com.
Out of curiosity, I clicked to find out more and this is what I found.

Errr what? My notebooks could be causing me to have cancer later in life? Have I contaminated all my purses? I am completely baffled and pretty spooked by that warning and I can tell you that I definitely won't be buying any more Moleskine! Scary. How are they allowed to produce a product that could cause cancer? Yes, yes, I know that sounds naive. Still, everyone knows about cigarettes and sun exposure and the usual cancer culprits but NOTEBOOKS? Who knew your paper products could be killing you? I don't even know if I need to be wearing gloves and a mask to transfer the info contained in my Moleskines to my (hopefully non-cancer-causing) Graphic Image notebooks.
Random lady prepares to transfer notes from Moleskine notebook {missing source}

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Birds of L.A.

I love birds. The chirp of a bird in the morning signals Spring time to me. In fact, there's nothing quite like hearing your favorite birds sing outside while you wake up or watching a bluebird take a birdbath in a rain puddle.
However, you know what they say... too much of a good thing... can be creepy rather than chirpy (adapted proverb for my own purposes, don't sue me). Pictures below from my cross-country road trip archives.
Those little dots... all birds
Target must be having a seed & nuts sale...
I know what you're thinking: Birds of a feather...
Since this was just outside L.A. I wasn't sure if we were inadvertently witnessing a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds...
...but I was sure glad to be sitting in a car! Have a great Sunday everyone :-)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mild closet update

Have you heard of Chez Larsson? I randomly came across this Swedish Martha-approved blog while surfing Pinterest for huggable hangers and closet organization. Yes, I'm sad. 
This lady makes my closet obsession seem tame. Yet I can totally relate to her need to organize every nook and cranny when storage real estate is less than ideal. I am perpetually frustrated with my pathetic closet situation, so I rearrange my clothes....oh, probably twice a month. Again, we've established I'm sad.
Today I rearranged my sweater closet. I only rearranged it, because unlike some very admirable people who are able to completely detach themselves from their belongings and radically purge their unworn clothing, I actually like 98% of what is in my closet, so parting with something isn't always my goal. More space would be great though, hence my HH research.

Sweater love
In an effort to keep my stacks neater for longer, I have organized my sweaters by most likely to wear at the top, least likely to wear at the bottom (in each cubicle). Chunky cableknits and sweaters in muted tones to the left, brighter and thinner cardigans to the right. Since it's still officially winter, I won't be wearing many of the brights yet, except the cashmere cableknits, which I've respectively stacked on the top.
On another note, did your mother teach you to store clothing turned inside out? I know it makes sense when you don't have closet doors, but I like seeing patterns... I love you Mom.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Crushing on Kate Spade

Typically, Kate Spade lures me in with their sales emails. Occasionally I venture to their website without being baited by discounts and holy amazeballs did they hit the nail on the head with the current selection of clutches!
The absolute front runner and now object of sleepless nights is the All Aboard Ship Clutch. Need I say more.
Kate Spade All Aboard ship clutch
Not oooonly is this just about the cutest clutch from the outside, but when you take a peek inside....
Red, white and blue stripes, steam chimney clasp and a gold anchor. This, my friends, is what we call a nautical trifecta. This.clutch.must.be.mine.
If you prefer less nautical and more Chanel-esque two toned, the Mount Perry Adira clutch will hit the spot:
Kate Spade Mount Perry Adira raffia clutch for strolling along the French Riviera
Finally for maximum princess-gone-disco impact, wear a pink tulle skirt with the I Kissed a Frog clutch.
Kate Spade I Kissed a Frog clutch in Multi.

So now I bid you ahoy as I return to gawk at my the ship clutch. Really, it's art, not a purse. I mean, this could be...this could be.... my blog mascot! Nobody said you can't have a purse for a mascot. Nobody. Quiet back there! Keep shoveling coal! That steam engine requires about 350 lumps of coal.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Needlepoint Love

This week's theme is definitely needlepointing! I already showed you the needlepoint collars I've made for pup Sherman here. Then EAS blogged about Stina Stitches and Allie continued the thread by posting about her never ending needlepoint belt project (that soooo sounds like my Christmas stocking project... started sometime in 2010... estimated completion date 2013... if I'm lucky).
So to round out the needlepoint show-and-tell, I thought I'd post about the needlepoint keyfobs I did for my hubster and I. I didn't use a pre-printed or pre-packaged kit, so it's not quite as perfect as it probably could be, but designing your own allows you to customize size, color and topic to be completely unique!

Patriotic for him (already looking quite grubby lol!)
American flag needlepoint key chain with leather

Tropical for moi (just completed!)
Flamingo needlepoint key chain

I could definitely use more practice in stitching leather, but it wouldn't be handmade if it looked too professional, right? riiiiiight?
I'm just finishing off another collar for Sherman (to be premiered shortly) and my sister has already placed an order for a crab needlepoint key fob.
Here's two needlepoint pictures my grandma made probably 50 years ago.
Lady wearing traditional German Tracht

Traditional man in German Tracht
Phew, do those look time consuming, or what!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, Knots and Knotettes!
Is there anything nicer than being woken up by a kiss, a pretty bouquet and lovingly written card on your bedside table? Ok perhaps those Meg Carter studs woulda been a nice touch...
Unconventional Tulips!
No, your eyes are not deceiving you! My beau opted for Valentine's day tulips instead of roses this year. I've been telling him for yeeeeeeears that roses (particularly the long stemmed variety) are toooootally overrated. What's the point of a long stem? Is it pretty? I much prefer little pink button roses - but those are hard to come by in a bouquet form. Generally speaking I prefer pink over red flowers, buuuut red is the only color permissible for Valentine's day for most men (fearing a year of chastising looks for picking the wrong shade of crimson). Baby steps, people.

Wishing everyone a lurrrrrrve filled day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Homemade Chai Latte

The other day, we discovered a hole-in-the wall Asian grocery store. I love those kinds of hidden gems, in part because they stock so many things I've never even heard of, but also because we love Asian food, so buying ingredients where the "locals" (expats, in this case) buy them is always reassuring. I would have taken photos of the inside, but the aisles were so narrow and crowded, it felt too intrusive to start clicking away.
Asian grocery loot
We picked up three kinds of chili sauce (sweet, onion and regular), as well as lemongrass powder, green cardamom pods, cloves and Oolong and Pu-erh tea. Oolong tea is, based on this sample alone, not going to make the pantry cut. It tastes bland yet oddly herbal and required a considerable amount of honey and milk to make it drinkable. I've heard good things about Pu-erh tea, so I can't wait to try it.
I always stock up on green cardamom pods and cloves so I can make homemade Chai. No, it does not taste particularly similar to Starbucks Chai, but has a gazillion fewer calories, is caffeine free and is a suitable alternative in Chai emergencies.

Homemade Chai  Latte (makes 2-3 mugs)
2 Roiboos (redbush) tea bags
3 mugs of freshly brewed water
6-7 green cardamom pods (roughly crushed)
6-7 whole cloves
1/2 tsp (or a splash) of vanilla extract
2 cinnamon sticks
Milk and honey to taste
(have not tried it with black pepper, star anise or ginger juice, all of which are contained in the Starbucks version)

Directions: Boil the water while putting all ingredients and tea bags, except milk and honey, in a small saucepot. Pour boiled water into sauce pot and simmer lightly about 5-8 minutes. Turn heat down and add milk until it has a nice warm latte color. Let seep a little longer, low heat, just until the milk is warmed through and the Chai is hot. Add honey to taste (I usually add around one or two tablespoons for 3 mugs), serve with one of the cinnamon sticks in your mug.That's it! Super easy and honestly, tastes delicious. Not to mention, it costs a fraction of Starbucks or Oregon Chai.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cambridge Satchels

Today we decided to brave the masses and head into the big city.
What's that dent, you ask?
One look at the crowds and I wanted to go back into hibernation, but there was no turning around. At the very least we had to find out what that dent in the side of the building was.
Why, it's just your run of the mill glass portal (to a galaxy far far away, natch!)
Rock star parking for the two-wheelers
Sherman was not loving the icy temperatures, nor being forced to wear a sweater...
Why put a sweater on me, but leave me to walk around bare-pawed? hmm? Can you explain that to me?

Next stop was Urban Outfitters, which always seems to have an eclectic mix of overpriced 80s leftovers (MC Hammer Levi's jeans? errr, pass...Shredded spiderweb acrylic sweater? errr, no thank you.).
These tribal-y friendship bracelets sure brought back memories, minus the spikes that is. I felt completely uninspired until I spotted the Cambridge satchels.
Leather Cambridge Satchel in tan
They come in a variety of colors, UO stocked the black and tan, of which I much preferred the tan. It's part schoolboy gamine, part stuffy Oxbridge intellectual biking to a lecture.
Lately I've been struggling with slippery straps on my Barbour and other puffy parkas, so I'm seriously considering getting a Cambridge satchel for the winter months.
11" Cambridge Leather Satchel
I like the look of the 11" (if you can ignore the lopsided cuffed jeans...), but considering the amount of stuff I like to tote around, I think I would go with the 13" satchel instead. For being all leather, they are surprisingly lightweight. I love that you can customize your satchel with a gold embossed monogram on their website! That fact pretty much seals the deal. Now I just need to decide on a color. Tan is a classic and goes with every winter coat I own. I also love the navy....and the red. Really, I love the green too, it's a bright Kelly green. Oh, who am I kidding, I love them all! So while I save my pennies to splurge on a Lotuff & Clegg, I think a Cambridge Satchel will do nicely!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hibernation activities

Aside from reading interior decorating magazines (if looking at pretty pictures counts as "reading") and watching the original Grey Gardens (errr... eccentric is all I can say to that), I've found myself picking up long forgotten needlepoint projects.
Nautical needlepoint dog collar
Sherman is now sporting his nautical crab collar and for Valentine's he will be the most fashionable pooch on the block with his pink and green heart collar.
Nom nom... is it Valentine's yet?
Yes, I know he is a male dog. The collar is for me, ok? Dogs are colorblind anyway...
Now resume the hibernation lounging position and zzzzz........
Kindness to my readers for putting up with my lousy photography skills compounded by a model who won't sit still.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The only solution...

... to a never ending winter that looks like this...
 ... is to put on one of these...
...some of these...
... brew up one of these...
... grab a few of these...
...and a couple of these... 

... and then make like one of these...

... and hibernate until it's Spring.

Who's with me??