Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mommy is Out of Here!

One day, 3 weeks into Cora's summer vacation, 2 weeks after Greg got the flu, I had an Epiphany. I am not a surly 13 year old! I am not sick! I am a happy, healthy person who wants to have fun! I can get out of here!

Incredible though it may seem, a mother CAN go away for a day. She just plain old can! So I decided to create a "perfect" day, and drive myself and my darling lab Faye to the coast. It's only an hour and 15 minutes away, the drive is GORGEOUS, I'll go on a week day so Cannon Beach won't be crowded, and then I'll drive down to Manzanita, have some lunch, be fabulous, and then saunter glibly home. WHAT A GREAT PLAN!

Now, admittedly, I am a little wierd when it comes to travel. First of all, I love it. I relish every part of it including the planning, and the packing. I love to pack! I take some pride in packing WELL. Organized, thoughtful, but fun. And stylish, let's not forget!! So I threw myself into prepping for this "perfect day" with vigor!

First, I cleaned the car.
I love a clean car when you're on a road trip. Vacuuming is a must, and washing the outside is good, too! That way you're already sparkling and  the stage is set for all-around perfection as soon as you hit the road. I like to clear out all the trash and get the road tunes all squared away. And wash out the cup holders, while you're at it! Plan road-appropriate snacks, and brew a perfect cup of coffee to bring in your freshly-washed silver to-go coffee mug! Check!
this is not my car

Then, you must choose the softest, lightest beach clothes, in neutral tones, with perhaps a hint of sky blue or a whisper of plum.  I wore my soft, slightly distressed boyfriend jeans, silver t-strap sandals, a slouchy grey tee from the Gap, a lightweight open cardigan, also grey, and some sparkling earrings from Anthropologie.
The Oregon coast brings out the mineral hound in me. I love love love the steel and slate grey palate of coastal blues and browns and neutrals. It's absolutely delicious to wear those colors when I'm there, and accessories of raw stones, or pearls. Something a bit organic, but with sparkle. Feeling that way, on my own at the coast is an absolute relaxing, serene, and peaceful delight. It's some kind of nature/fashion/roadtrip therapy, I swear!

Once I get everything perfectly packed, I get Faye all set up with food for later, and water and dog towels, and a little bed on the seat behind me, and we go!
The drive was awesome. Sunny, a good pace, and the reassuring local landmarks flowing by. We arrive in Cannon Beach and spend a half an hour walking along the main street. It smells so good! Salt air, taffy. I love the sound of the gulls. I got into the car to the sound of the 14 Hawthorne bus going by, and got out to the sound of seagulls and waves!
After Faye ran her little behind off on the beach, we got in the car and drove down the coast to my personal oasis, Manzanita. I was soooo looking forward to walking its pretty streets in my silver sandals, a little sand between my toes, breathing the scents of the scrubby pines. And also to shop at my favorite coast store, Unfurl. Today I felt lucky and especially so when I found the MOST beautiful freshwater pearl necklace for only $24. Faye and I floated down Laneda avenue to our favorite mexican restaurant for a taco on the deck. It was so warm, and so quiet. I felt like I was in heaven.

Finally, Faye and I drove back up to south Cannon Beach where we visited my favorite bakery, Waves of Grain. Disappointed to have missed their specialty raisin bran/espresso muffins, I tried a banana bread and coffee instead and took a walk through the beautiful little beachy neighborhood there. Perfection!
Reluctantly, but with renewed energy, we turned the car east and headed home. Another beautiful drive through dappled forests and lush green valleys, and we're back in Portland.

Ahhh, I don't ever want to live farther than an hour or two from the ocean. xo

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Austin Scarlett -- Style Star. Life Inspiration. (And he's from freaking COTTAGE GROVE!)

I've always loved Austin Scarlett. From the first time I clapped eyes on him on Project Runway I was captivated by his wand-thin figure and coiffed hair. His wardrobe reflected whatever character he felt most in the moment and resulted in capes fluttering from his shoulders, lace frothing from his shirt cuffs, and beautiful hairdos from marcel waves to the bouncy blond curls of Marilyn Monroe. Austin reflects his inner artist and his true self at all times and it's magic!

Austin Scarlett and Santino Rice

Seeing Austin's natural warmth and gentle personality , not to mention great work ethic and true talent emerge on Project Runway was great. He's an original, pure spirit and artist. But it wasn't until I saw all the episodes of "On the Road with Austin and Santino", that I got a true glimpse of Austin's incredible influence. "On the Road" is a show where two New York designers, namely Austin and fellow Project Runway designer Santino Rice go to small American towns that have never heard of New York Fashion Week, and make a beautiful dress for someone deserving, often someone who's never worn a dress before.They go to small rural towns and make dresses for military moms, cowgirls, and other hardworking American women who don't give much thought to themselves, let alone their clothes. I thought, oh god, drama, with snarky Santino on board, and was rural America ready to face the frothy pink coiffed fabulousness of Austin? Would they get their asses kicked in Omaha? Would Santino get drunk and start a fight with a cage-fighting cowboy? I was scared.

 What actually happened was delightful and surprising. Austin of course was graciousness itself and made no apologies even in the face of the most macho mainstream man for his pink suits and adorable bonnets. Santino actually shelved the snark and found his compassionate side. On several episodes he was moved to tears by the sheer gratitude he felt at being invited into people's lives! The people themselves were non-judgemental and totally welcoming. When Austin reaches out a lacy glove to shake and greets them with an unabashed, friendly smile, even the most surprised old biddy behind the general store smiles and says "how do you do?" I really attribute most of it to Austin. His courtesy and warmth and genuine happy nature is disarming, and contagious. He brings out the best in people! He is gentle and friendly, but also has a great work ethic. And...he loves nature! I loved the scenes when he would come out of wherever he slept and have his tea on the porch, in the middle of Kentucky, in his fluffy robe, just enjoying the beauty of rural America. No snobbishness, only appreciation!
That's my kind of style star.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lulu in Paris

Part One

Once there was a beautiful cat named Lulu who lived in Paris, France. Lulu lived in a very old book shop on the left bank of the River Seine called "Shakespeare & Co". The bookshop had been there for almost one hundred years and was filled with many books signed by famous writers and artists. Lulu's job was to sit in the sunny window of the shop and greet all of the visitors which she happily did every day.
  Lulu loved living in Paris. She loved the old bookshop and the leathery bookish smells in it. She loved the river and the way the moon reflected in it. And Lulu loved the giant old cathedral across the river called Notre Dame. In the early morning light the stone shone pink and seemed to glow. Several times a day the full, rich sound of the big bells ringing would make Lulu shiver with joy. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Soft 70's lite rock by me

Crosby, Stills & Nash write some pretty songs. "Just a Song Before I Go" was something I heard a million times as a kid, when I hear it while walking through Portland's beautiful spring-blooming neighborhoods, it makes me misty. So I hammered it out on the guitar, using all four chords that I know!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Best Mother's Day Gift ( I know, I know, except for World Peace and the health of my kids, etc, BESIDES that.)

I like a Mother's Day gift that is at least a little tiny bit fancy. Nothing too over-the-top extravagant, but with just a whiff of the exotic and luxurious. Let's face it, moms that work their fancy pants off bringing "it" all together to make "family life" the balanced, organized and soul-fulfilling undertaking that it is, deserve a little luxe in their day! And nothing says a bit of luxe like a Chanel lipstick, my friends. Greg and Cora hit the mark with this lovely little nude Chanel lipstick I can wear every day. I love just looking at this shiny black case. I feel like a heretic worshiping a false god. It is an obelisc of glamor, non? All the other lipsticks are jealous.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's Spring on My Feet, Anyway

Between storms and rain showers I sport my spring shoes, carefully mincing around puddles and mud. Fred Meyer's is my runway, sometimes the library gets a peek at my fancy footwear, and yesterday I lingered at Movie Madness, perusing the new arrivals and posing my heeled suede moccasins around, leaning back nonchalantly as if I wore them all the time.

Heels fascinate me these days. In days of old heels were spindly, too high, ugly, too lady like. It was all punk rock boots and sneakers for us girls. But now, heels have evolved and there are so many options, there are low wedges, and chic platforms. There are wood heels and rubber heels. Heels are much more artful and comfortable now. If the heel is solid, but sexy, not too chunky, then a high heel is really cool.

Example: once on a plane flight I was downing my customary two beers and partying with a Vogue magazine, and the girl next to me caught my eye. She was painfully thin, had greasy hair, a frumpy sweater and read a medical text book the whole time. She ate and drank nothing. I thought maybe she was a nervous nursing student studying for a test. When she stood up to get off the plane, I was blown away. Along with the greasy hair and frumpy cardigan sweater she was wearing drop dead gorgeous, super high platform pumps. And she seemed so comfortable in them, striding confidently up the ramp with her suitcase, like she was off to a photo shoot, as if it was a given that although you can look like a total slouch in all other ways, you must wear some killer shoes!

It was an aha moment.

Of course, this morning on our regular freezing, possibly raining dog walk it was back to boots and a down coat. I can't wait for at least some different coat options! It's getting ridiculous!
But under that uniform, we can dress as if it were June....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Paisley Eyelet

Well, I've finished sewing my latest creation... a scoop-neck, bell-sleeve paisley eyelet tunic top! That's a mouthful! I saw this pattern and thought, hmm... white eyelet? That would make for a fresh, summer '60's vibe. Sort of Goldy Hawn meets Joanne Worley! That's me! So I gave it a go. I screwed up about four times, but managed to finish it and wear it. I really like it, although I would like it a lot more if I worked at Disneyland or something. It's a bit costume-y, with it's big bell sleeves and busty bodice.

But it's cute over jeans and I cut the "bigness" of the sleeves by wearing a short-sleeve cardi over it. You can also change it up with a scarf. I tried with hair down, which in the mirror looked sexy, sort of an Anne Margaret thing. Les Rrrrow!  But in the photo, the hair-down look was too much volume with those huge sleeves and made me look chubalicious. So, hair up took away all that volume and still looked feminine. Tidy. Cute, but not age-inappropriate.

By the way, I took the plunge yesterday and for the first time in 10 years bought a boxed hair color. It made my brown hair kind of a strange strawberry color. I like it, but I might need some help from the salon to make it look more natural. Obvious color on us ladies is usually bad. Especially in the sunlight when a too-red brown glows purple. Not cool.  If you're 20 years old, it's fine, rock whatever look you like, but at 44, being too "quirky" with the hair, just looks sad.

I paired the white top, cropped jeans and taupe scarf with these simple, camel colored ballet flats from the Gap. I originally bought these because we ALL need a tan shoe in our wardrobes, they lengthen the leg and of course go with nearly everything. I am always always looking for comfortable, cute shoes. I have a very bad back and a bunion! (How unfashionable!) So when I find something cute and extremely comfortable, I buy it. And sometimes two pairs. These flats felt like wonderful slippers. They caressed my feet
soothed my back, and looked great with pants and dresses. So I bought two pairs at 40$ each. At that price  I didn't expect them to be the best shoes in the world, but I did expect them to stand up to some amount of use. However, they start falling apart on the first wear! So, I will bitterly wear them out and never buy them again. Beware: the Gap's CITY FLATS are a piece of crap!