Friday, July 30, 2010
Fashion shows aren't meant to be duplicated on just any street in your town. They're meant to inspire a particular trend or emphasis, serve as a public relations blitz to build buzz and excitement for the designer and current collection, and to entertain. Think about it - if your hairdresser wore head-to-toe McQueen or Dior to cut and style your hair, you'd be so distracted and probably wouldn't trust him. Imagine a grocery store full of customers all clad in couture - you'd be so distracted that you'd forget why you were there in the first place.
Fashion to me is like a diet. Your doctor might recommend a new food to eat, or foods to avoid, or a special exercise plan. Your friends and family might also all try to chime in (whether asked or not) on how you should be living. And there's an unlimited stream of internet, radio, television, and print advertisements by an even bigger supply of companies trying to sway your dietary decisions as well. But only you know what's best for your diet. As for fashion - designers create months and even years in advance collections that might be totally wrong (or totally right!) without you particularly in mind. Stylists share their ideas. Magazines and television programing highlight what they think. And advertisements tell you what they think you can't live without. Everyone weighs in and wants a portion of your closet space, and more importantly, your wallet.
Sometimes I think the information en masse now available, thanks to the internet, satellite television, and mobile communications devices, has really done us a disservice. Does it really impact your life and livelihood to know that the price of raisins in Montana is $.30 less per pound than the price of raisins at your local grocery store? By the time you 1) figure out how to get to Montana, or even order some for shipment, you've spent much more than you could have saved.
Look at the varying food categories. Do you only buy "organic" or "natrual" or "low-sodium" or "low-calorie" or "low-fat" or "locally grown" or "hydroponic"? Do you buy from a wholesale warehouse, a locally owned grocer, a speciality shoppe, or a farmers market? No matter what your spending choices include, someone's going to weigh in. Some farms go out of their weight to be ECONOMICAL in growing their crops - so they may try to use environmentally friendly techniques - but sometimes they need reinforcement to control/protect their goods (I read in July's GQ magazine about a farm in New York that tries to use organic preventative measures, but sometimes only chemicals or manmade options are effective, just like honey and lemon can do only so much for a sore throat before your doctor needs to prescribe antibiotics to get the job done properly!). So technically the farm isn't considered "natural" or "organic" - even though they've gone out of their way to be fiscally and environmentally responsible.
The same can be applied to fashion. As much as the folks at Peta want to stop the incorporation of fur and leather, it will never succeed. Think about it - back in the day, before the widespread availability of nylon, polyblended everything, and synthetic fabrics - everything was "all natural and organic" - from the leather, cotton, silk, and fur. That's pretty much all the materials available. And they were earth sourced. I'm not saying we need to walk around like cavewomen with fur pelts and leather loincloths.
What I am saying is that WE NEED TO LIGHTEN UP! Eat what you want, when you want. Wear what want, because you love it - not because a poorly dressed stylist who is getting paid to tell you what they think is trending for the season says so. When you start living for you, making educated, thoughtful decisions, you'll really look good. Because we all know - when you look good, you feel better. And when you feel better, you look best.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Loving these boots. Hunter has made the most wonderful Wellies since the 19th Century. Available to the common citizen all the way to private appointments by the Queen of England, these boots are great in the garden, resilient in the rain, stellar in the snow, and perfect in the pasture. Add a pop of colour to the dull, gray day - and put your best (dry) foot forward!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
In a recent live webchat with fans, Beckham expressed his love for the building blocks saying, if I was not a footballer I would love to be a Lego model builder. Why is this important you ask?
Well, following Beckham's statements expressing his love for the tiny toys and admission that during a recent stay in Italy he occupied his time by building Legos exclusive replica of the Taj Mahal, sales of this particular model rose a whopping 663 percent in one day, said Emma Owen, the spokeswoman for Lego UK. "As a fan of the product, David Beckham and his family have been invited to tour the Lego headquarters in Billund, Denmark, and contribute new ideas to the Lego Group," Owen said. The Beckhams have not yet responded.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Lean into the services a good hotel offers as if it were a way of life and it will be. On the first day, order the same breakfast to be delivered to your room at the same time, every day thence. Tell them you like the newspaper on the cart, with no plastic bag. Take long showers. Stop in at the front desk for messages. Greet the doormen with a twenty. Take walks. Take saunas. Learn the name of the room-service manager. Establish a routine involving a cocktail, the balcony, and a bowl of olives. Tell the concierge to make you seven dinner reservations for seven nights. Tell him to surprise you. After you leave, go back a year later and they will remember your name. At a hotel, it is good to be known.
So I'm curious. Where do you think I should check in? Kindly leave your suggested favourite hotel name and city in the comment sections.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
(in no particular order)
-- Chicago's Rush Street is doing more than it's part. With a bold and beautiful new location, Barneys New York is taking Chicago by storm. The six level department store features many of the world's best brands and must-haves. And Hermes has just relocated their fabulous flagship boutique to the intersection of Rush and Oak Streets, bringing one of the most exclusive, sought after French brands to the Windy City in all of it's grandeur and glory. There's even an extremely limited edition silk scarf called "Paddock" available solely in this location (for a mere US$375). Chicago also boasts boutiques by Marc Jacobs, Burberry, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo, Jimmy Choo, Tiffany & Co., Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Chanel, and La Perla to name a few.
-- Luxury powerhouse Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton is hiring again. The luxe conglomerate has posted a handful of opportunities on their corporate site for positions in media relations, project management, training, and public relations. Is the brand looking to further expand its reach in North America? Regardless, investing in internal improvement and productivity is definitely a positive sign of growth and success.
-- The Waldorf=Astoria, one of the world's most luxurious hotel brands, is expanded to new locations. Joining the historic New York location, Waldorf=Astoria Orlando brings the world class service you expect with the perfect Floridian atmosphere. Also set to open within the next several months are Waldorf=Astoria Shanghai, Waldorf=Astoria Berlin, and Waldorf=Astoria Jerusalem. Long term buzz also includes locations in Beverly Hills and Philadelphia, among others.
-- Cosmetics and Fragrance mecca Sephora has struck a deal with the storied American department store JC Penney. While the chain isn't typically considered a luxury player, the new partnership with Sephora will bring luxe brands to the retailer from favourites like Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Bliss, and Armani. The move definitely signals an increased desire for luxury brands across all demographics, especially in the health and beauty segment.
-- Tiffany & Co., one of the most recognized and sought after jewelers around the world, is set to expand their product ranges with a collection of high end leather goods. The iconic retailers will begin selling handbags, wallets, coin purses, and other small leather goods by the famous duo Richard Lambertson and John Truex. “Richard Lambertson and John Truex are the latest in our tradition of inviting the world’s best designers to work exclusively with Tiffany,” says Jon King, executive vice president of Tiffany & Co. “Their vision and mastery of the craft combined with the skill of the finest Italian artisans have produced a leather collection of timeless simplicity, with all the quality and luxury of the Tiffany experience.” Highlighting the collection is a glazed crocodile Manhattan satchel for US$17,500. Other bags and brief cases will be available in various animal prints, full grain calf skin, lambskin, and python. The collection is set to launch September 2010 in 12 exclusive locations and online.
-- Electronics giant Apple sold more than 1,7 million 4th generation iPhones - setting a company record product release. Additionally, the big mobilephone companies in the US are investing millions of dollars to upgrade their networks to 4G. Currently American customers only receive cellular data transmissions at 3G speeds.
We're not in the clear yet. Unemployment rates are still at record highs, people are still starving, and homes are still being lost. But there is definitely light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. The more you shop, the more you eat out, and the more you spend in your local community, the more jobs you support and the more growth you provide - which are always en vogue.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I don't believe in reincarnation. I hope when I die, I go to heaven and that will be the end of it. But I do think sometimes that I've had several past lives. I know that sounds a little odd. But it's true. There are some things I love, some things I'm infatuated with, and some skills I am able to perform that I people of this age normally don't acquire. For example, how many heterosexual men know how to sew? Or bake a pie? Or know the most random details about how Christian Dior made his first couture dresses? Or cared about the brilliance of diamonds? Maybe I'm just in training to be the perfect husband.
Over the past several months, I've become friends with the fabulous ladies (and gentleman) at Be On Park, a luxury jewelry boutique in Winter Park, Florida. Incredibly personable, warm, and friendly, these lovely ladies are as smart as they are beautiful. They know the story. They love the romance. And they know their jewels.
I don't pretend to know much about jewelry. I like what I like. I know you're supposed to pay attention the colour, the cut, the clarity, and the carat weight, but I doubt I'd know the difference between a high quality and a not-so-nice version.
There are several pieces in the store that I really love. One, in particular, is a necklace from A. Link. And you know me - I had to know more about the company, the story, the romance...
The origins of A. Link & Co. predate 1900. Mr. Adolph Link, son of a Viennese goldsmith, came to New York City in 1894. Growing up on New York’s lower east side, he met the youngest daughter of a rabbi, Anna, whom he married in 1912. Adolph apprenticed as a platinum jeweler with Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. His wife’s diligent work enabled him to purchase raw gold and platinum to fabricate his own designs along with Fifth Avenue’s greatest craftsman.
In the early 1940’s Adolph’s two sons joined their father in his business. Seymour becoming a jeweler and Marvin apprenticed as a diamond cutter in Antwerp. It is from these two trades that A. Link derived its reputation as a dealer in the finest made diamonds and a manufacturer of traditional diamond jewelry. Renowned for creating elegant and timeless diamond jewelry, as well as providing superb customer service, the company has been family operated for generations. Currently managed in their U.S. office by Jeffrey Link and Douglas Sills, A. Link continues to supply the finest jewelry retailers worldwide. Dali Diamond, a Diamond Trading Company sightholder since 1967, manufacturers diamonds in compliance with the highest professional and ethical standards. In 2003, after 15 years of supplying 60/60 diamonds to A. Link, Dali Diamond was proud to announce a full and comprehensive partnership with A. Link.
I am in love. Finding something you're passionate about, dedicating your life to mastering the craft, and having an unending dedication to producing only the best-of-the-best products is so inspiring and fascinating.
Just like the fine details and personalized products from couture ranges like Dior, Hermes, and Armani, not all diamonds are created equal.
The quality of an A. Link diamond is immediately visible, even under the most remarkable conditions. Any diamond can sparkle in the light of day, but an A. LINK diamond will sparkle in the dark, needing only the most minimal light to share its brilliance. Such dazzling effects are due to the A. LINK signature 60/60 cut diamonds, where the table and depth percentages are the same, maximizing diameter weight and reflectivity. These diamonds have table sizes from 58 to 61 percent with depths of 59 to 61 percent. These percentages average 60\60, all other parameters, i.e., polish, symmetry, culet, and girdle specifications are “good” or better. We grade our diamonds for color and clarity with expertise comparable to the Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A.) and the American Gem Society (A.G.S.)
Diamonds are so much more than a girl's best friend. They're my friend, too. If you haven't met, the lovely ladies at Be On Park will be glad to introduce you...
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery - but I really must say that imitation is hazardous... to your health; to your economy; and to my livelihood.
I'm watching a programme on CNBC called "Crime Inc: Counterfeit Goods." It is an examincation of the counterfeit-goods industry, and includes a profile on the Los Angeles Police Department's anti-counterfeiting unit; inspections at ports for counterfeit goods; backroom factories where counterfeits are produced; and a couple who was paralyzed by faux Botox.
I never really used to care much about the act of counterfeiting goods until I worked at Christian Dior. When I'd see people with fake handbags and luxury items, whether from Dior or any other brand, I'd get so upset. Why? Because I know that those skilled artisans who have mastered their craft and create the real versions were missing out on money that should be rightfully theirs. Let alone the shipping companies who lose out on transporting legitimate goods, the countless people employed by those luxury houses who manage, promote, market, analyze, track, and sell those oh-so-fabulous goods.
Counterfeit goods extends so much farther than luxury knockoffs. From fake Disney toys, to computer parts, to appliances, to extension cords, to laundry detergent, if there are products in demand, you can assume there are counterfeit versions available. And these goods are potentially hazardous to your health. Think about it - those who produce counterfeit goods only have one thing on their mind. Not your safety. Not brand integrity. Not quality materials. PROFIT! The counterfeit industry is in existence solely for one purpose - to make money.
In 2005, nearly US$ 500 million dollars in tax revenue was lost due to the counterfeit goods industry. Whenever you buy fake goods, not only are you putting your own health at risk, but you also directly support economies other than your own. Your neighbours suffer. Your local government has less resources.
Among the most lethal counterfeits are medicine. From fake cough syrup to cancer treatments, the counterfeit medicine industry is nearly US$75 million this year alone. These ingredients are also very toxic, rarely tested, and incredibly harmful. Drugs appear shiny and clean, because counterfeiters hope you can't tell a difference.
Caveat Emptor: Buyer Beware. I can't help but think of the song "The Boy is Mine" from singers Brandy and Monica - "From the truth you can't escape, I can tell the real from the fake!"
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
No matter where you live, whether the weather is summer or winter for you now, you must protect yourself from the sun and damaging light rays. Whether your weather affords a teeny weenie bikini, or necessitates a parka, scarf, gloves, and hat, you're skin is still exposed to damaging light.
You must protect yourself. Ladies - choose a foundation or moisturizer with an SPF. The best are natural minerals like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, because they literally create a barrier on the skin that reflects rays, preventing those awful sun spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Men - choose a moisturizer with SPF, or consider purchasing a sunscreen specifically for the face. It will be more gentle, and the lovers in your life will appreciate the added suppleness.
But sunscreen is not just for the face. You can't neglect your hands (and the rest of the body for that matter!). Your hands get some of the most exposure of the entire body. Think about driving a car - your hands are closest to the windshield, whilst your head and body are usually shaded by the roof. Hence, sunscreen on the hands is essential.
If you need a good recommendation, I love Supergoop! You can get it at Sephora.
SPF 30 Quickstick with Vitamin C for Face & Hands Have you ever seen an elderly person who has obviously had a face lift? Their face might look more youthful, but their hands are often wrinkled, splotchy, and show signs of decades of neglect. But you can act now. Stop the clock on aging by wearing sunscreen, moisturizing daily, and exfoliating at least once a week. Your skin will thank you.
What it is:
A water-resistant, 100%-natural SPF 30 sun protection stick for face and hands that protects from UV damage and photoaging in a non-greasy formula.
What it does:
Doctor T's SPF 30 Quickstick shields over-exposed and sensitive areas, including scars and cuts, from UV damage quickly and easily. Through the use of both Titanium and Zinc, Doctor T's Quickstick delivers full-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. Antioxidant Vitamins A and C improve skin smoothness while controlling photoaging free radical damage.
What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Synthetic Fragrances
- Synthetic Dyes
What else you need to know:
This fragrance-free, natural formula suits all skin types. No Animal Testing. Very Water Resistant. This product is free of oxybenzone.
Friday, July 9, 2010
It's a general understanding that people want to feel good. We want to experience success and happiness, good health, and harmony. So when someone creates a dynamic product, presents it in a mind-blowing manner, and goes against the grain of complacency and mediocrity, I am more than pleased to not only patronize the business, but tell everyone about it.
So I wanted to know more about Crate and Barrel. I found the most charming story on their official website:
Back in the '60s, a young Chicago couple by the name of Gordon and Carole Segal had just returned from a honeymoon in Europe. One night, while washing their dishes after dinner, they lamented there was no place at home to buy the contemporary, affordable housewares they had admired throughout their travels.
Passionate to make these designs available to others, the Segals hired one employee and leased an abandoned elevator factory on Chicago's Wells Street. They traveled throughout Europe buying directly from glassblowers and ceramicists, from factories making beautiful French copper pots and simple white bistro dinnerware. With no money left for displays, they stacked the shipping crates as shelves and filled the overseas barrels with fun merchandise. So out of necessity came the unique Crate and Barrel style…and name. And on a cold December day in 1962, just moments before the official opening, Gordon and Carole realized they had forgotten just one thing–a cash register (no kidding).
A lot has changed since that first store opened. Instead of the one employee we had in 1962, we now have 7,500. Instead of one small storefront, we now have 160 spectacular stores in markets across the US.
And now, we’re honored to share our passion with our first international Crate and Barrel store, now open at Toronto’s exciting Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
Coupling this lovely story with the many years I've shopped C&B and their hipper, younger minded CB2, I thought I needed to shop the website and see what was new. And what did I discover that I'm absolutely LOVING?! Crate and Barrel has teamed up with Tumi, one of the most durable and delightful Italian luggage ranges for their very own T Tech by Tumi for Crate & Barrel.
Durable and lightweight, with tons of pockets and zippered compartments, and accented in my favourite bright red piping, this collection is perfect for those jaunts across Europe, those African safaris, those adventures to Asia, and that mid-week business trip to St Louis. Affordably priced from just under US$100 to US$350, this collection is sure to exceed all of your travel needs.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
One of my favourite shows of all time is Absolutely Fabulous, a brilliant British comedy about two fabulous friends Patsy and Edina and their luxurious and over-the-top lifestyle. It's one of those shows that you enjoy watching most by yourself, because you don't want people to judge you for laughing hysterically at inappropriate jokes, behaviour, and portrayals.
I'm saddened to report that Jennifer Saunders, who plays public relations mogul Edina Monsoon, is fighting breast cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ms. Saunders during this tremendous fight.
Cancer is never en vogue and it's certainly fabulous, either!
To learn more about cancer prevention, to donate crucial funds so desperately needed for research and advocacy, and find out more about making a difference, join my team at Stand Up 2 Cancer.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Whether it's a backyard barbecue, a feast for family and friend, or a glamourous gala, here are some tips to ensure stress-free success (and to snag an invitation to the next event!):
(in no particular order, of course)
-- check the weather and the venue before you leave. Summer showers and blistering heat can make for tricky fashion choices. Be sure to keep an umbrella in the car just in case. If you're in an area where it gets chilly at night, pack a wrap, a scarf, or lightweight cardigan. When the sun goes down, the party doesn't stop. Additionally, if you're going to a polo match (where the grass can be unstable) or the beach (where walking in sand can be tricky) - be sure to wear proper footwear.
-- remember to hydrate. If you're going to be outside (maybe at the soccer pitch or the baseball park), pack a cooler with ice and beverages. Hydration isn't just for your thirst - be sure to hydrate your skin with a great moisturizer (with a sun protection ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide).
-- show your host/hostess you appreciate their invitation and effort by bringing a small gift. I'm really loving the following:
Agraria Home's Lemon Verbena home diffuser. Brilliant and Brisk, this small vessel packs the essence and zest of a Provencal summer.
Steady Stick Wine Bottle Holder from Crate & Barrel. Perfect for picnics at the park or bronzing at the beach, this nifty twist of stainless steel holds your bottle of wine in the most modern manner.
L'Occitane en Provence's Ruban D'Orange soft skin scrub is absolutely amazing. Luscious and luxurious, this citrus treat gently removes dead skin cells, helps prolong your healthy glow, and keeps hands, feet, knees, and elbows specifically soft.
Egg Plant: Mint from Branch Home. Everything you need to grow your own mint, this gift is the perfect ingredient for Mojitos - Cuba's most refreshing summer cocktail.
-- Protect yourself. Burning your skin causes more than just temporary discomfort. It's ugly, awful, and can kill you. I hate to sound so harsh, but it's true. Pack a hat. Bring sunscreen (and choose a moisturizer or foundation with sunscreen, and for your lipgloss or lipstick). And wear giant sunglasses (because big sunglasses also protect the delicate skin around the eyes, as well as the eyes themselves).
-- Be safe. If you know you're going to be enjoying alcoholic beverages - arrive alive and plan an alternate transportation for home.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Let me be honest. I've watched every game. Every. Single. Match of the 2010 World Cup games.
I love watching European soccer, particularly. I remember in college when my roommates and fraternity brothers would make fun of me for watching hours of Serie A games or old Bundesliga matches, and especially the Premier League. So now that soccer is significantly more mainstream in the United States (albeit realistically a temporary interest), I'm definitely enjoying the ability to watch soccer on television, with live commentary.
I don't know where all of these sudden soccer fans have been hiding, but I've seen more soccer gear, more soccer parties, and more people up in the mornings en masse cheering for their "favourites" at bars and pubs across the country. For the USA/England match, you might mistake Finnhenry's in downtown Orlando for a neighbourhood pub in Islington. For the Portugal/Brazil match, you might mistake San Diego's Gas Lamp district for the bars nearest Stadio Olimpico and Foro Italica in the north of Roma.
And let me tell you, it is no easy feat watching World Cup live when you're on the West Coast. Whilst in California, the first matches of the day began at 4:30 in the morning! That is dedication.
And now, as if I wasn't excited enough for World Cup and soccer in general, those of us in the United States will now have the opportunity to continue on this exciting soccer fever, thanks to ESPN3. Beginning in August, more than 800 live soccer matches from the best European leagues will be available, streaming live. German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A, Spanish La Liga, Portuguese Liga, and Dutch Eredivisie.
And whichever executives agreed to this new offering, I say danke, grazie, gracias, obrigado, and dank u.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Luxe belts with distressed denim - like crocodile or ostrich. Love the opposites of luxe with unluxe. Tres chic.
Rolled up sleeves. I know in The northern hemisphere the summer sun is scorching, but rolled up sleeves are so much more elegant and versatile than short sleeved shirts. And not just rolled up shirt sleeves - rolled up blazer sleeves for women is so sexy.
Leica cameras - both digital and film. So iconic. So amazing.
The Silvestris Speedboat, with aluminum hull, v8 engine, and top speeds of 110 kph.
Anna Zegna -so elegant. The essence of woman.
Bright splashes of colour in footwear, for both men and women.