Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Date With George Clooney

Sometimes finding things to do with nine-year-old boys can be challenging. Especially if you're like me and you're really not into gory, gicky or dirty. I impressed the heck out of myself the other day when I came up with a boy intinerary that we test drove and loved.

We took our commuter train into Grand Central Station NYC and walked to the New York Public Library, the big one with the lions out front. We tooled around the library checking out the grand Harry Potter-like stair cases, masterly painted rotunda, and iconic Reading Room. Next we dashed– Yes, with boys you dash, dart, bolt, or with very tired feet, you clop. We dashed across the street to Chipotle. Okay, it is a McDonalds fast food chain, my bad, but it is also delicious, fresh and healthy Mexican food, my favorite. The best thing about Chipotle for kids is that you essentially build your own burrito, taco etc. Connor, my sons BFFL (best friend for life) right now, doesn't like cheese, which could have squelched the whole idea of Mexican food (like a hot tamale), but he simply requested no cheese on his custom tacos.

After our fiesta, we darted up to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Ascending the staircase to the first gallery of the museum, the "After Party," we came face to knee with The Incredible Hulk. Both boys could fit into to the Hulk's gnarled green hand. They loved it!

At the After Party, we chatted up Pitt and Depp, Selma Hayek, Harrison Ford and Travolta. You know, it was one of those typical Hollywood parties where no one talks to you even if you bump right into them and scream in their face. Since this is also a style blog, I must make a brief comment regarding their stylist, he/she missed the mark. Selma Hayek wouldn't be caught dead, or in wax, in that polyester gown.

There is no rule against shaking hands or clapping arms around unsuspecting celebrities, which made the experience especially amusing for the boys. They had their picture taken with Obama, raided Rachel Rays fridge, played b-ball with Yao Ming and jammed with the Jonas Brothers. As for me, I had a date with George Clooney. He's about as good looking in real life as he is in the movies, but he doesn't have much to say... A fifteen minute 4D film called Planet Earth rounded out the visit. The fourth dimension being wind, spray, vibrating seats and pokes in the back. Again, the boys loved it.

Our final stop was the mega Toys R Us in Times Square. I can appreciate that this store is kid heaven, but I find it a bit overwhelming and at this point in the day, I think the boys did too. They enjoyed the indoor ferris wheel, but when it came time to pick out that much anticipated toy, on a $25 budget, they started running out of gas like a Hot Wheel derailing. I steered them toward candyland and they selected some favorite sweets. For my son James, it's the sours. Connor is a chocolate man. We clopped back to Grand Central and headed back to the burbs all hopped up on sugar. Good times.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Coming Out Of The Closet, Fur

I love wearing fur. I hope red paint doesn't come squirting out of my computer now that I've confessed. Perhaps it is my Italian roots. Fur is to Italians what scarves are to the French and denim is to Americans.

With the economy looking more like a regurgitated fur ball, it's probably very wrong of me to even be blogging about it, but a recent article in the WSJ called, "Inside the Peltway" by Amy Chozick, has had me musing on fur for days. Apparently fur is fashionable in Washington, which seems at odds with the new administration's responsible spending, mantra. According to the article, "the first lady doesn't wear fur," but she does have a long brown mink...Maybe she's prudently recycled it into pillows or a throw. Is it covering a foot stool?

As a stylist to many a R&B and rap artists, it was no surprise to me when the article went on to explain the never waning love of fur amongst African Americans. The P.O.S.H Life, a blog coming out of Atlanta posted, "Black People Love Furs: PETA Who? Weather they sport fur or not, the Obamas are a stylish couple and they inspire glamourous fashion choices, across ethnic boundaries, in an understated way. Style is not about money. Often, the best place to acquire a quality fur is from a consignment shop–or your mother (thanks Mom)–or your sister (thanks Bonnie). My mantra–Wear the nice things you have and enjoy them!

Below is a personal list of fabulous fur moments:

• Barbara Stanwyck, in "Christmas In Connecticut" when she unpacks a fur delivered to her NYC apartment that SHE BOUGHT HERSELF.

• Myrna Loy, as Nora Charles, when we meet her in the first "Thin Man." She looks like a very grand poodle. We find out later she's from money, so Nick didn't buy her that fur either!

• Working with J. Mendel furs on a advertising shoot I once styled. I enjoyed working with, and learning more about furs and the fur business from
Gille Mendel who has since become quite the celebrity designer.

• Working with Paulette Washington. She arrived in an astonishingly
beautiful chinchilla (thanks Denzel).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Best Way To Cheer Me, Cashmere Me.

It's no secret that a pashmina is a practical accessory. So adaptable, it creates cozy warmth for in-between weather as well as a dressy wrap for almost any occasion. Not only do they "pump up" a plain outfit, but when draped over a sofa they can also add interest, color, and pattern to the room.

Ah and for travel, pashmina's are a must. BUT consider the cashmere wrap. In my opinion, even better than a pashmina– bigger, warmer, cozier. And I know of the perfect one. Jules Allen makes a cashmere wrap in a varity of colors that is perfect for airline travel. I've got one in pink and it has been all over the place.

Wrap yourself in Jules Allen cashmere, put on a pair of cozy socks, close your eyes and if you aren't already in first class, you may think you are!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chocolate, Don't Leave Home Without It!

One of the best things about the airlines canceling their food service is the incentive it gave passengers to travel with their own favorite snacks. Some Moms have flight "snack handling" down to an art. They know just when to break out the favorite, or never-before-tasted, treat. Usually it's just before the kid does that Gumby backslide to the cabin floor.

I've always found chocolate a great way to stave off whiny kids and adults alike. It can make travel mishaps that much more tolerable–delays, cramped seating, surly companions, even surlier flight attendants go from disaster to nuisance with a really fine piece of chocolate to enjoy. I discovered the The Chocolate Traveler a few years ago. Originally, the stylish graphic on the package attracted me and the round tin was perfect for travel. I found them while on vacation in Laguna Beach, CA. I still had a flight to "snack up" for, so I grabbed the little round tin. When I tasted a dark chocolate coffee wedge mid flight, I knew I was hooked. They're available at Trader Joe's, not with the cool graphic mind you, and through their website.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fashionable Riding Boots

Gearing up for a trip is almost as fun as shopping for stuff while you're there.

Last summer we went to Crescent H Ranch, an all inclusive dude ranch located just west of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The only thing "dude" about this place is something you might say while relaxing on an elk horn, pony skin chair beneath a mounted buffalo head in their main dining room. "Dude, what about that moose we saw on the trail ride? Are you going to have steak or trout tonight? Did you see the big fish that dude caught?

Crescent H offered daily trail rides and to that end, I needed boots. I opted for an English paddock boot because I was hoping to wear them this winter, a la Ralph Lauren riding-fashion wear.
Most of my fellow dudes, were wearing sneakers or cowboy boots. My boots, Ariats, worked great in stirrups and dusty pastures.

These boots have also been stylish, practical and comfortable to wear this winter. They look like traditional Prada boots minus the orange loop (they have a black ones). Some might want a lug sole in their winter boot, but I wanted something in between–something to wear all day, in the cold, and still go to lunch in! Without a thick lug sole, they make a nice silhouette with a boot cut pant or a thickly cuffed jean. In short, I love them. I'm tickled by the fact that they are intended for riding but I wear them with street clothes.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mad Bomber, Much Admired

Yesterday we went skiing at Jiminy Peak. The last time I skied was on a press trip hosted by Ski Utah. It was an all girls trip and we covered three different Utah resorts. Check out my story at Naturally, I wasn't expecting much from this Berkshire Mountain compared to the Rockies. I was pleasantly surprised.

Jiminy Peak's base services, layout, friendly instructors, and ski techs, made the gearing up processes almost okay. Speaking of gearing up, skiing is one of those sports where you really wish you had a Sherpa. You're haling so much gear and expending so much effort for snippets of joy and exhilaration. Especially if you are a beginner–the case with my family and many of the friends in our group. The post skiing conversations of spills, chills and trills, reminded me of beginning the sport and why I love it so much now.
The day also gave me and my daughter a chance to break out our Mad Bomber hats. The original Mad Bomber, Brent Reynolds, is a friend of mine from college. Back in the day, Brent made several trips to China where he would fill suitcases with interesting jewelry, trinkets and hats. He would then sell his wares to kids on campus–mostly pretty sorority girls. Finally, he honed in on the hats and created the Mad Bomber company. He was, and still is, pretty much of a nut for skiing and adventure, but with excellent business sense and cultural savvy to boot. The hats are perfect for skiing and they are also stylish head gear for winter travel, city jaunts or suburban kid pick-ups. They always make me smile when I put one on.