Thursday, January 28, 2010

SmartWool; Happy and Warm

Practical fashion–sometimes it’s hard to come by. While staying with friends at Stratton Mt. over MLK weekend, I ran across an “outdoor” clothing brand called SmartWool. The company is over ten years old but it was new to me. Jan, my host, was wearing some SmartWool Cindy Lu Who type striped leggings and socks. They were turquoise and grey and I thought they were terrifically fun, funny and fashionable. Jan is an ubber workout maven. She does multiple triathlon races and strenuous outdoor vacations–she knows good gear. She also hails from the fashion industry and as a creative director she appreciates good design.

When I checked out their site, SmartWool says it was, “born on the simple belief: keeping feet comfortable on the slopes.” My feet are always cold. I need these socks! Apparently lots of thought, study and experimenting went in to developing “smart wool.” Wool, that is soft, cozy and warm. Anyone who has kids will know how whiny they can get wearing itchy wool. (That goes for adults too, of course.) I like the happy patterns and colors they have. The fit looked great and the testimonial, Jan’s and others said SmartWool gets the job done; You stay warm and look cool at the same time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

White House I Black Market, Cheerful Spring Video

This is so very happy. The styling and photography is outstanding, the casting perfect, the music amusing. You will smile. Enjoy.

How much is too much?

Recently I was hired to be the stylist commenting on Hue hosiery's Facebook page. I'm looking forward to talking about legwear fashion and keeping fans informed on what is happening with Hue. We plan to have give-aways, product announcements, designer updates and easy, chatty conversation about style, fashion, and in particular, legwear.

In doing the research about what is being said "out there" in web land about Hue, I feel like I'm maneuvering through a jungle of information. How much is too much? With the gazillion web sites and blogs commenting on fashion, how do you know if you're getting to the quality writing and reporting? I ran across the site, Alltop, that simply catalogs what they decided are "the best of," but that is very objective, isn't it? Honestly, I tend to fall back on the established reporting generated through trusted newspapers and periodicals. Perhaps I'm old fashioned (I'm sure no stylist should ever admit that!) but with few exceptions, there is a lot of what I call "clutter blogs" out there, messy, busy, confusing. Ironic, since fashion is suppose to be about good taste! I would say this is less so with travel blogs, but to be fair I haven't spent quite as much time researching. Don't get me wrong though, I'm still checking in with some favorite travel and style blogs. I think it is a matter of archiving and driving to what works for you, it takes time, but the internet has something for everyone!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stratton Mountain Just Got Cooler

It’s always fun to see a celebrity when you’re out and about. Suddenly your grocery store gets way cooler, the restaurant you’re at becomes “the place to be” or that boutique you popped into is now tres fab. This past weekend we were skiing at Stratton Mountain and we saw Nina Garcia. She’s the savvy judge on Project Runway, formerly on Bravo, now it’s on Lifetime. Credit for spotting her in the base lodge amongst the throngs, goes to Jan Liverance, a Project Runway devotee, my friend, and Creative Director of At Peace Media. Jan and I managed to rubber neck in Nina’s direction in an effort to fully check her out unobtrusively, well sort of… My daughter kept staring trying to figure out whom I was whispering/mouthing about almost ruining our cover.

Nina was sporting (and I know you care) a mat silver Bogner jacket with black stretch pants that, we think, tucked into her boots. It’s silly but of course Stratton Mountain and skiing Vermont became that much cooler after seeing Nina! Jan has been skiiing at Stratton since the early 80s when the Stratton Mountain Boys, aka, the Austrian ski instructors, provided live musical entertainment on weekends in the bar of the base lounge! Jan and her partner were great guides to this rather large size (by east coast standards) mountain. Having a guide to “introduce” you to the mountain alleviates the stress you feel in trying to navigate your way through what could potentially be very scary terrain, terrifying yourself and your family!

I’m told that Martin Luther King weekend is the busiest ski weekend of the winter. Stratton was packed but its high speed, multi seat lifts did the job of moving the crowd up the mountain fairly quickly. While there were a few bottlenecks as runs converged, several times during the weekend we found ourselves alone on a run. If they remake the song, “These are a few of my favorite things,” to “These are a few of my favorite things–skiing,” being alone (with your group) on a run should be in the chorus. The rest of the song should about the romance of winter recreating at its best; the great outdoors, plenty of snow, comfortable temperature, beautiful views, sounds of swishing and laughter and sipping hot cocoa.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Momma’s Got a Brand New Vest!

Actually it’s not really new. I bought it in Verona, Italy this past October and I’ve been wearing it to death, but its not dying, in fact this little faux fur friend is staying in shape and in style.

Most of my travel colleagues where taking the prerequisite visit to Juliet’s balcony which can be found in Verona. I had already seen it, twice! So I opted to drop into Upim the Italian equivalent of Target, without so many house wares, and more fashionable fashion. That is where I grabbed my favorite fall addition that goes with everything!

We’ve had a cold snap here and the vest works well under most of my coats. Ranging from shades of cream to dark brown, it goes with brown, grey, black, tan, light pink and today I wore it with bright red cords and a charcoal turtleneck. It reminds me of Italian street chic and makes smile.

Upim (Unico Prezzo Italiano Milano) is an Italian institution with well over 300 stores. Founded in 1928 it is partly franchise owned and only exists in Italy. I had about fifteen minutes to shop and managed to get the vest, a grey knit poncho/shrug for a friend, and some batteries. The store in Verona, just around the corner from Juliet’s balcony, is cleanly designed. One a quick look on the ground floor and I instantly knew where “my stuff” could be found and I moved in for the kill. And the kill wasn’t too costly, so it didn’t “kill” me!

To me going to Italy without going to Upim, is like going to Italy without eating gelato!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Skiing With The Fam.

We spent the last several days in the Poconos skiing Shawnee Mountain. I’m sure most seasoned skier are not too impressed, thinking something like, “big woop, Cath,” but let me tell you it was a very doable mountain for beginning skiers, which my husband, daughter and son are. I’ve been wanting to write a story about skiing at a big, challenging, mega ski resort out west and how it caters to beginning skiers as well as intermediate/advanced, but that hasn’t materialized, so I did what most do when introducing their family to skiing–start small, low and slow–small mountain, low elevation (not steep), and go slow.

Shawnee is small, contained and easy to navigate. All ten lifts have beginner runs down. We didn’t try their ski school but it looked well organized, especially the Ski Wee program that is ranked nationally. The lessons I saw in progress while on the mountain looked skill building and uncrowned even though it was vacation week. The lodge is nothing fancy, central fireplace, Formica picnic bench tables, and typical fast food. We liked our onion

rings enough to fight over them, however. Always “watching” the ski funds, we brought our lunch the second and third day and I would recommend families do the same, perhaps augmenting their “basket” with some fried fair from the snack bar.

One very important tip: Get there early. The lifts open at 8am and at that time there are no lines to purchase tickets, rent equipment or get on lifts. You can get yourself situated with a locker (Although many people just left stuff on tables and shelves.) and there is plenty of room to put on those gosh darn Frankenstein boots! After 11am the lines looked insufferable.