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Gloria Vanderbilt: Style Icon

Tuesday, May 17, 2016



The new HBO doc Gloria Vanderbilt: Nothing Left Unsaid is a surprisingly entertaining look back at one of the world's most notable heiresses (and most prominent style icons). The glimpses of photo shoots and magazine features over the years were total fashion eye candy -- but what really had me drooling was this gorgeous choker of cream egg-shaped beads that she wears several times during the film. Fervent Google searches haven't turned up any replicas, to my chagrin...

Did you see the film? Anyone else like it?

Flying Tiger, Hidden Goodies

Tuesday, May 10, 2016



If you are, like me, an unapologetic devotee of Ikea's Marketplace section (cute napkins! cute placemats! cute whisks!), then your mind will be blown at Flying Tiger a Danish emporium of the cute, cheap and Scandinavian-designed. There are just two outposts in Manhattan at the moment, but definitely worth a NYC stop, particularly if you are in the market for some ice cream-shaped salt and pepper shakers or decorative wire baskets or small toolboxes to hold your pencils or trays in a paint-by-number print. Phew.

The selection changes rapidly and the inventory is bright, cheerful and instantly covetable. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have some brightly colored Danish kerchiefs to tie on the dogs.

Met Gala: Best of the Best

Tuesday, May 03, 2016



I saw the highly enjoyable documentary The First Monday in May (seriously, go see it) over the weekend, so I was totally ready for the Met Gala red carpet. And while I can't say it didn't disappoint at times -- I know it's fashion-forward, but some of those dresses are just plain weird -- I did have some favorite picks (that's them above).

Who got your vote for best dressed? (Don't say Kanye. Although his interview with E! was pretty hilarious. "Vibes.")

Louise Dahl-Wolfe & the World's Most Perfect Coat

Friday, April 22, 2016



Is there anything more perfect than a Balenciaga coat? I submit not.

A new book on legendary Bazaar photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe gets the slideshow treatment on nytimes.com. Worth the click for beautiful shadows and sculptural bathing suits. And that coat. Ohhh, that coat. Drooool.

Cult Following: Danish Pepper Mills

Thursday, April 21, 2016



There is an unbelievable obsessive following for Danish teak pepper mills, especially those vintage ones designed by Jens Quistgaard for Dansk. (OMG, vintage Dansk in general. Don't even get me started. Waaaant.) These simple, sculptural pieces typically go from anywhere from $30 upwards to $200 for the unique ones on eBay -- although a few deals can be found if you're willing to go with non-branded versions (just stick to the terms "danish teak salt pepper") and if you keep close watch for good deals (hello, ebay alerts!).

Not that anyone really neeeeeeds 15 pepper mills, but gathering a cluster of these chess-like pieces on a simple tray looks so elegant and cool. And therefore, so awesome.

Must Watch: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Tuesday, April 19, 2016



It's been out for almost a week and I can't believe I still haven't binge-watched the new season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, where mysteries get solved using old Babysitter's Club books and where the instant classic "Peeno Noir" first came to life (NSFM -- aka Not Safe for Moms, probably. Aka you, mom.) Anyone else obsessed?

Watch Your Wallet: The Land of Nod

Monday, April 18, 2016



I don't have any children. I don't plan to have any children anytime soon. But one of my very, very favorite shopping sites is The Land of Nod, the uber-cute, not-just-for-kids-IMHO site that's full of sculptural toys and great lamps and amazing (and amazingly pink) bedding, like my own bedding, above. (Side note: Not for the single; it seems to be a repellant to boys, who do not want to envelop themselves in ruffles of pink.)

New stuff is always popping up, like the new Charley Harper collection (as seen below); the "Wow that's a big lamp" Lamp (oh, yes, one day you will be miiiiine); vintagey Strong Man artwork (see this post on my recent obsession with all things vintage circus); the classic Jenny Lind beds and these amazing rainbow blocks, which I would surely keep on my coffee table for easy building.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Currently Obsessed: iittala's Kastehelmi Design

Monday, April 11, 2016



It may have been created in 1964, but Scandinavian brand iittala's Kastehelmi (literally, "dewdrop" in Finnish) style is just as gorgeous and relevant today. I've been sussing out vintage pieces (much better quality than the modern versions you can buy today, or so I'm told) and have a little stockpile of pretty, elegant glass dishes that always makes me smile.

Your Very Own Hipster Boyfriend... Sort of

Thursday, March 17, 2016


I'm a little obsessed with vintage circus memorabilia as of late (so is everyone else, judging by the crazy eBay bidding wars that happen over old-school Freak Show signs). I'm pretty sure it was my particular interest in the Strong Man that led me to Etsy shop Blue Raspberry Designs, which makes the absolute coolest hand-painted dolls (including the Hipster Boyfriend -- complete with bushy beard -- and the Vintage Sailor, covered with nautical tattoos). I kind of want one for myself. Oh, but which one?

Obsessed (Part 55 of 273): LLBean Boots

Monday, February 08, 2016



Confession time: Despite all the cute shoes in my closet, in the winter I wear one of two things: my OTK flat boots (current pair: Frye) or a pair of LLBean boots (current pair: shearling lined). Paired with skinny jeans, a flannel shirt and a chunky sweater, it's my cold weather uniform. Kind of like hot cocoa in outfit form.

Swoonworthy #72: Rifle Paper Co. Cards

Thursday, February 04, 2016


When is a greeting card not a greeting card? When it's a little piece of art. I'm obsessed with just about everything from Rifle Paper Co., but especially their adorable card line -- perfect for sending to a friend or hanging in a frame.

Everything you've ever bought online, in one photo

Tuesday, November 10, 2015



Chinese photographer Huang Qingjun assembled families from all across China and had them pose with the stuff they'd bought online. It's pretty cool -- and pretty interesting how different lives in China can be from us over here. For example, the things just in front of me that I've bought online: a (empty) vintage Marshmallow Fluff jar; faux flowers; a Alexander Wang hobo bag; a pair of Swedish Hasbeens clogs; a red Swingline stapler. To each his own.

Under Construction...

Monday, September 14, 2015



... Things are afoot! But, until they can really be afoot, we need to do some sprucing up around here. Stay tuned...

Where it all began: A tribute to “Fashion is Spinach” (the book)

Sunday, June 15, 2014


If you’ve not yet read the long-overdue piece on Elizabeth Hawes and her first book (and my blog namesake), “Fashion is Spinach,” you must you must you must. (Click here.) It’s titled “The Most Brilliant American Fashion Designer” — and we’re a little bit proud and very happy that Miss Hawes is finally getting her due. It made me reflect on my own history with the book (and this blog), which I’ve written about below. Enjoy.


Sometime on October 16, 2005, I came across a brief reference to "Fashion in Spinach" and pioneering American designer Elizabeth Hawes in one of the umpteenth fashion/lifestyle magazines I devotedly consumed (and still do) every month. It was a sly, insider-y reference -- clearly a wink-wink nudge-nudge to the small cadre of readers who truly loved fashion enough to know the reference, and while the exact source escapes me, I know it was October 16, 2005, because within minutes I had gone online and purchased the domain name, which I still own and to which proved to help be responsible for my own sense of style, many recognitions and my current career.

I had no idea what Fashion is Spinach meant or what Hawes' views were on fashion back in late 2005 -- it would be another few months after I bought the URL to finally buy an old, rare copy of the book, I think on eBay, for the relatively "bargain" price of about $50 -- but I instantly loved the quirky irreverence of the name. I had been toying with the idea of launching a fashion blog for months, but -- even through there were, compared to today, only a small number of them -- every "fashiony" URL I'd tried to obtain already been snatched up, though mainly by "squatters," who had quickly figured out that grabbing hundreds of domain names on the cheap could eventually pay off big-time if someone was willing to pay them for even just one of those .com names.

I myself had been blogging since 2000 on a platform called Pitas.com, which had launched in July 1999, one month before Blogger.com. (Unlike Blogger, it was not the beneficiary of a big, newsworthy acquisition by Google in 2003 for a still-undisclosed sum, though it's rumored to have been around a cool $1M. Which was probably insanely amazing back then, but a good indication of how far we've come in only a decade.) Back then, many of us "bloggers" were seen more as web-obsessed weirdos than “visionary early adopters" or anything remotely positive. I mainly posted little tidbits about concerts I'd seen or or things I’d purchased and, eventually, photos I took with the Brand New, State-of-the-Art 2-megapixel Canon digital camera that I splurged on in late 2002.

(In one now-hilarious incident, my blog got me called onto the carpet in Glenda Bailey's office at Harper's Bazaar, where I'd joined as a junior editor in fall 2001 shortly after she took over as EIC. Some back-stabbing colleague had found out I had a blog -- bring my readership to a whopping total of five, no doubt -- and promptly tattled to senior management, prompting the petrifying news that "Glenda had asked to see me." My intense fear quickly turned to awkwardness when it became clear that while the magazine’s senior leaders wanted to make sure this "blog" thing wasn't potentially problematic for the mag, none of them actually really knew what a blog WAS. Glenda, always incredibly kind, merely issued a gentle caution -- nothing like the reprimand, or worse, I'd walked in expecting. Likely the fact that I was bawling my eyes out softened any potential scolding.

Rather coincidentally, one of the interns who worked under me at the time, Nadine Haobsh, gained instant fame -- and a very nice book deal -- a few years later in mid-2005, when she was outed for penning an anonymous blog about being a NYC beauty editor and promptly fired. The insta-fame that followed or Nadine could’ve been for me! Except that in 2001, no one would have even known or cared. Except, of course, my five loyal readers. Hi, mom!)

But I digress. I launched FashionisSpinach.com -- with full attribution to Hawes -- in March 2006, and for several years, was devoted to it furiously. I was picked for some of the earliest fashion brand/blog integrations -- brands like Chanel and Gucci sticking a stiletto-shod toe into the blogger waters -- and eventually parlayed that experience into a new career in social media consulting, which I still do today. Ironically, that skyrocketing new career meant I no longer had ample time to spend on the blog, and while it's still there, it's been severely neglected for a long time. Unlike many of my early blogging peers, I can't bring myself to officially retire it.

There's still a tiny flicker of hope that one day, I'll regain both the time and the energy to resurrect it. I reread Fashion is Spinach every couple of years -- along with a few of Hawes' other terrific books -- and I'm always struck by the timelessness of her words and wisdom. She had the (still) rare vision to see that being truly fashionable was not about being the first to wear the latest trends, or blowing huge amounts of money to fill a standard McMansion walk-in closet with designer labels.

Instead, she counseled her clients to hone their personal style, find styles and silhouettes that worked for their bodies and their lifestyle and -- goshdammit -- wear navy blue if they wanted to wear navy blue, even if the almighty Parisian designers/demi-gods had declared the hue to be utterly, hopelessly out of style that season. (Because, for no particular reason, it had been determined that red was the only color stylish people should even think about wearing that season. Ohmygosh, you still like navy? Sacre bleu! A total fashion non.)

For decades after Hawes' day, her fresh perspectives on personal style were all but ignored. Typical American shoppers followed the proverbial style crowd like sheep; growing up in Delaware, I knew from a young age that you were nobody unless you had a little polo player embroidered onto your shirt or a pair of jeans from the Gap.

But now, the democratization of fashion -- sparked, in large part, by a long list of blogs (including a little help from even from Fashionisspinach.com) -- has elevated and celebrated creativity over conformity. Anything goes these days--just wear it with confidence. Now, 76 years after the debut of "Fashion is Spinach," it may finally be time for a follow-up with a more positive point of view. How do you feel about "Fashion is Chocolate Cake?"

Um, well, hey.

Sunday, April 06, 2014


Seeing it's been, oh I don't know, almost a YEAR since my last post, it seemed like it was high time I said hello already.

It would probably be smart of me to officially "retire", but I just can't bring myself to do it. (Even when I'm embarrassingly only delivering annual posts.) There's a little part of me that says, "yeah, I need a redesign, and yeah, I have no free time these days, but maybe just maybe I'll find some and pick up blogging again." I miss it. I miss YOU.

Of course, you can always find me around the interwebs:
Like on the Twitter (prob'ly my favorite social platform);
and the Instagram (photos of doggies galore!);
and the Pinterest (been pretty into it as of late);
and the Facebook (though Facebook's recent changes mean you'll probably never see my posts in your newsfeed. Gee, thanks, Facebook.)

In any case, it's been a crazy year. But I just got some amazing new Garima Dhawan dot prints from affordable art store Artfully Walls and I thought, "Hey! I should go blog about that!" So here we are. Feels pretty good, I have to say.

See you soon?

{Sneak Peek} Inside my Apartment

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I've been busy lately, especially with moving from my (tiny) Manhattan apartment to my (tiny, but cheaper) Brooklyn apartment. For someone with a closet as big as mine, this is not a small undertaking. On the upside: A new place to decorate! It's still kind of a mess, but I managed to capture a few snippets so you could see how it's taking shape. A full apartment tour to come when I get my act together (i.e., clean this place up and maybe even do the dishes).

Let's start here. Brass chandelier, spraypainted blue and hung in the living room:

I'm obsessed with dinosaurs lately (you'll see). Lucite box full of 'em.

Top of my dresser. My bedroom is full of all different shades of pink, from pale to neon. Loved these cheap, bright frames I found at Target.

OK, so also obsessed with neon pink lately. I took this white dressing table (and Ikea mirror) and gussied it up a bit.

An apartment is never complete without a proper gallery wall:

Why, look! It's mah puppies! And yes, I do dress them hipster-style in American Apparel baby tees.

If I had any energy, I would've cleaned this up for you. However. I did want you to see the awesomeness of this vintage hotel mailbox. (Bonus: Holds lots of junk!)

A bright pink T-Rex keeps watch over my bed.

My lifelong dream -- inspired my Alber Elbaz's own giant red dinosaur -- of owning a giant red dinosaur is now complete.

My collection of white ceramics and milk glass is becoming famous! (Or infamous! Whatever.) But you need some white when you're as color-obsessed as I am.

Aaaaaand... {fin.}

NYC Readers: Your Bergdorf Goodman Movie Giveaway!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


A week from Friday, the fashion star-studded documentary "Scatter my Ashes at Bergdorf's" comes out. But the night before -- on May 2 at 7pm, at a downtown NYC locale -- there will be a special sneak preview of the film just for bloggers, super-fans and a few lucky others.

We've got a pair of tickets to give away to one reader to the special screening! To enter, just leave your name in the comments (NYC-, or those willing to travel to NYC-, only please) and we'll pick a winner early next week.

OK, now that you've left your name... What will you wear if you win the tix? For that matter, what will *I* wear? Decisions... {#GetScattered}

OB. SESSED. {with Emily Henderson}

Monday, April 22, 2013


My friend Kevin — he of Vintage Roadtrip 1 & 2 fame, if you've been following me for a while — has the best taste of anyone I know. Just look at his perfectly perfect living room above. (The rug? Swoon!) We're like design soulmates, except he's an utter minimalist and I'm a complete... uh, maximalist? (He also loves mint, and I haaaate mint, and we only just discovered this and the rift may never be fully repaired.)

But, really, on our Vintage Roadtrip jaunts (we're hitting Palm Springs next month!), we agree to work from opposite ends of the thrift store so we cannot reach for the same thing at the same time. I have a beautiful decanter on my bar cart that makes me feel super-guilty every time I see it, because I snatched it before he could in a Lewes, Delaware, church group thrift store. (That was, in fact, the moment we agreed on the opposite-ends rule. Now things are much smoother.)

But I digress. During a long-overdue catch-up session last week, Kevin turned me on to decorator/stylist Emily Henderson's blog and I'm smitten. I've actually been unknowingly admiring her work in HGTV magazine (my second favorite magazine, after Country Living), but now I'm gobbling up her blog archives like it's mah job.

I want *everything.* Literally, I was about to run to the thrift store earlier to look for ballerina figurines that I could spraypaint neon pink, when I sat myself down and reminded myself that a) I'm not really into ballet; b) I have no room for anything else anyway. Still. I will probably spraypaint ballerina figurines one day. Soon.

Enjoy.

Adventures in Woodworking


Having found myself with a little extra time lately, I've plunged headfirst into the World of Making Things. Whether it's slightly misshapen pillowcases or experimenting with spray paint, my projects have been pretty fun — and pretty educational. As in, I now know the wrong way to do a lot of things, from experience. {oof}

But my best work so far? This pair of benches, constructed from a few cut pieces of wood and paired with a vintage chrome-edged table from the Salvation Army. I drilled, I painted, I stenciled — and I dream of moving the whole thing out into the middle of my friends (and neighbors) Amy and Siwat's increasingly pretty backyard, sitting with friends, drinking wine and eating snacks under the big, leafy tree. I have a big imagination when it comes to entertaining.

Here they are in various stages. More, nicer pictures when that gathering under the tree is fully realized.

♥ ♥ Lemlem ♥ ♥

Monday, April 15, 2013



I'm always a little suspect of models (or actresses) turned "designers", but I fell in love with Liya Kebede's line Lemlem before I even knew it was hers (and judged it...). The woven fabrics, usually mixed with super-bright stripes, are made by weavers in Liya's home country of Ethiopia, and they're just gorgeous. I first spotted it at J.Crew, where they have a mini-collection (some pieces above), but there's even more goodness on the Lemlem website.

I may have even officially resolved to stop judging model/actress fashion lines, at least before I see them... maybe.