Monday, September 28, 2009

Pony up some Camel!

Spiegel at ShopStyle

If you have a camel coat, wear it! I'm liking the cropped ones they're showing this fall. A car coat length is always more wearable city or country, on board or on foot. Here's a few nice ones. Camel goes well with denim, white, brown and gold. Add a classic canvas rain hat, or a cream beret.

A paddock boot (with jeans) or high riding boot (with skinny leggings or jeans) also looks nice with a camel coat.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

America, The Beautiful...Interiors

MyStylist Travel Advisory

Where to go:

The "new" American Wing Of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC opened this past spring. See the period rooms, twenty in all, and the reconfigured Charles Engelhard Court. The Court has long been a favorite take-a-break spot for museum goers. Now, housing a sleek/simple Cafe and plenty of lovely places to sit and "appreciate sculpture," it's even chic.

What to do:

Take the new glass elevator to the third floor. The first room, with low beamed ceilings and a tiny curtained 4-poster bed, is just what you might expect from the 1680's. Work your way down to the first floor meandering through the next couple hundred years. End up in an early Frank Lloyd Wright Room, 1912.
Note: The new touch-screen kiosks are really cool.

What to wear:

It was expected to be a blustery (Whinnie The Pooh word) day. But I was too warm in a cashmere sweater. I have a favorite Paul Smith light-weight, fall, long-ish, blazer. The idea was to wear the sweater underneath the blazer, which provided no warmth. The museum is rather warm, I suspect they're economizing with regard to temperature regulation. Come winter, the museum might be a little cold. MyStylist says dress in layers. One more beneath my sweater, allowing me to peel off the sweater, would have helped (don't I know this already??).

Where to eat:

For sustenance, ease and convenience, The MET's Cafe is quite good. But check out all the dining options. Some, really give you a, "Aren't I cultured and fabulous," feeling.

Just one block from the museum on the southwest corner of Madison and 83rd street is Vosges Haut Chocolat. What better way to wind up your outing than with an exceptional piece of "designer" chocolate? "Travel the World through Chocolate" is the motto for this little jewel box of a store. (Well, the company actually.) One slender table provides an intimate place to indulge your taste buds in chocolate the likes of which you've probably never tasted before. Chocolate with curry or paprika, champagne, or chillies, ingredients culled from around the globe all served up in tiny truffles (or rather big bars!), yours for the tasting!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall Field Guide, Leather and Suede

Last fall I pulled leather and suede pants and skirts from several closets. They were put in the "save for a fashion rebound" pile, which ends up in a ben or trunk to be stored in never-land; attic or third floor closet, under Johnny's bed, above a bike rack in the garage... I'm sorry ladies, MyStylist says it's time to get them out again. I wouldn't have guessed so soon.

Field Specks:

A straight black leather pencil skirt, with a kick pleat, opaque tights to match, "reasonable" platform heals (don't do boots, we're not going for dominatrix–well maybe, a little bit.) The length, is up-to-you. I like just past the knee, but mid-thigh on the right gal can look great. Check out the ones that mix knit and leather. Be extremely conscious of the fit.

• The black leather pants they're showing are really, really tight and skinny. Congrats to the .5% of the population that can wear them. Frankly in pants, I prefer a brown suede. Ralph Lauren does a beautiful tan bootcut pant. If that's too low a rise, consider this one in dark brown (the styling in this shot is unfortunate, however).

As for styling with leather. Let your story be mostly about the leather. I would go with very simple cashmere sweaters or silk tops. Lace could work, but be mindful of whether or not you are channeling Stevie Nicks (um, you don't want to). Above all, feel tough and a little sexy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fashion Week, Fashion Hour

It's fashion week in New York City. On Wednesday I was within viewing distance of the Bryant Park tents. I've had my fair share of runway shows; under the tents, in showrooms, the Puck Building even West-side parking lots. It's fun to partake in the hoopla. I remember once seeing a New York Public Library security guard refusing Anna Wintour access to a show. I was secretly pleased. Finally, someone next to me said, "You really ought to let her in, she's really important." I think Wintour was sort of embarrassed, she smiled sheepishly. The guard dropped the velvet rope, glowering at us all.

If you can't "do" the shows, let me recommend the ICP, International Center of Photography. Right now there is a stunningly curated Richard Avedon show that I would cautiously venture to say, is better fashion then anything you'll see under the tents. After quickly calculating that we'd still be able to make the 6pm train home, my daughter and I ducked in and were instantly caught up in a fashion-glamour moment (hour, really) of our very own making. The exhibit, Avendon Fashion 1944-2000 features some of his most famous and obscure fashion photos. Sadly, the show closes this Sunday, but there is a catalog/book, although that is never quite the same, is it?

Located on 6th and 43rd street, the ICP is a clean and convenient space, a very manageable museum, and I've chastised myself and my photographer husband for not being members! Our new years resolution, yes it is new years, we have kids, is to join!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tuesday in the park, The High Line,

MyStylist–Travel Advisory

Where to go:
The High Line in New York City is a "repossessed" railway. Once above ground freight trains used the line to transport meat, agricultural goods and mail up and down the Lower West Side. Now, reinvented by a group of caring citizens, The High Line is a park oasis, a cultural groove way.

What to do:
Gaze, talk, lounge and stroll. Appreciate design. Love Manhattan.

What to bring:
1) Kids and friends of all ages. Truly, it is a confined above ground park space so kids can run. Taking a paramour would be fine too! 2) Your camera, to capture some extraordinary vantage points of urban loveliness. 3) Big reflective sunglasses, so you can check out the celebrities you'll see and still look like you don't care that you saw them. 4) On-line parking coupon

What to wear:
Comfortable shoes (No sneakers. Why, because I hate them.) My girlfriend had some black patin ballet flats with a little perforated wing tip design across the toe, cute. You're elevated, so wear an extra layer–soft sweater, wrap or urban sweatshirt. Also, New Yorkers do in fact wear colors, just not too many patterns. The High Line itself inspires subtle designs and natural fabrics. Braking this guideline, however, my son wore a Volcom sweatshirt that is anything but subtle.

Where to eat:
We grabbed a take-out Pastis breakfast, lunched at The Standard Grill.

Now that's a cool half-day in The City.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

Every pedicure should come with wine.

At the GrapeSeed Spa, The Gals and I were treated to the soak, scrub and message of a traditional pedicure, but with wine and the surrounding deluxe spa and resort that is part of South Coast's Winery, we were transported, giddy really, with t
hat you're here now, pinch yourself feeling.

Post pedi, we hustled over via complimentary golf cart to dive into a wine tour that made me feel like I should go to the back of the class. If we had
been given a test
on wine making after the tour, I would have failed, sadly I think Brigitte would have too, but we would have copied off Jody who spent several years working in the spirits industry. What are friends for?

Our guide was in a hurry, she spoke too fast and much of the information was lost on me. However, she redeemed herself with the tasting that followed the actual tour. We sat down, alfresco, to a lovely table set with cheese plate and several wine glasses. Overlooking the vineyards, the scene fulfilled our romantic fantasies of a Southern California wine dynasty. Fantasy example: Hopping on the back of a Steve McQueen dude's dirt bike for a quick "tour" of the "grapes," hair blowing, the smell of fertile soil... I'm getting away from
myself. In reality, we were sitting with a very sweet gay couple.

The take-away from the tasting was twofold. 1) South Coast Winery is on the map as a premier winemaker in California. They have won, for the last two years, Southern California's Winery Of The Year. 2) The wines, to our taste buds, were outstanding! And we learned just how to taste them, what they would be good paired with, and why we should come back to this winery again and again.

• To taste: See, swirl, smell and savior
- Once it's poured, tilt the glass, hold it up and look at the color
- Swirl the glass. This allows air to "open up" the taste
- Smell, "Go ahead stick your nose right down in the glass."
- Savior, "Suck it in, swish it in your mouth and swallow."

• Why come back: Too many reasons to name here, but below are a few...
- The Villas amongst the grapes is just dreamy.
- "The Club" has activities and deals to take advantage of in person or
from a distance.
- In September and October, you can tap into your inner earth mama and actually pick grapes.
- The GrapeSeed Spa (mentioned above)–luxuriate.
- The Vineyard Rose restaurant. Savior wine and food at this mediterranean restaurant.
You'll appreciate the Tuscan ambiance. Have the antipasti, for sure!
- Romance, with The Gals, well and good, but this place screams for a romantic getaway.

Top Left; GrapeSeed Spa outdoor lounge
Middle Left; Us, tasting
Lower Right; Antipasti Plate, The Vineyard Rose

Above Photos, Brigitte Lehnert of Flow Modern Design

Photo Below, Courtesy of Temecula CVB,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mud Sligging

Slathering mud on your girlfriend's back truly brings a whole new meaning to, "we're very close." Can you happily grab globs of red mud, spread it all over yourself and your friend, bake in the sun until your skin resembles cracked clay and then vigorously slough it off (each other), resulting in a dipped-in-brown-sugar look, all while discussing the merits of raising children? One friend, re-entering single parenthood shared the challenges of growing two boys, while the other discussed coming to terms with her childlessness. I couldn't tell if the other women slinging clay were treading in such muddy waters, but that is what makes our friendship close, extraordinary really. If you're like us, Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa is a great place to rest, relax, and talk.

We were just starting our weekend getaway. We stopped at Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa, situated west and south of the Santa Ana Mountains in Corona, CA before proceeding to Temecula. There is a skill set, or strategy involved in navigating a spa as big as Glen Ivy and my friend, Jody, was way ahead of Brigitte and I on the learning curve. Like some sort of spa shark she staked a claim to a secluded, shady, arched-way veranda. We threw our stuff down marking our territory and headed for The Red Clay Mud Bath. Brigitte suppressed her spartan German cleanliness and Jody, ever the authoritarian, schooled us on the benefits and techniques of mud bathing. It was really fun.

The three of us opted for a traditional swedish massage, fabulous, but Glen Ivy offers all sorts of rub and scrub options; Temescal Stone Therapy, Eucalyptus Body Wrap, Acorn Honey Almond Body Polishing to name a few.
After lunch (we chose salads and, well, ...nachos) we returned to our home-base lounge area and appropriately, lounged. Nearby was a small wading pool, one of 19 different pool at Glen Ivy.
We took a pass on the Mineral Baths, too crowded, although couples seemed to be enjoying them. Suana Court and The Grotto was also a walk by. We see each other just once a year, so our treatments were more for the spirit than the body.