Tag Archives: Inspiration

My Closet, Reimagined

19 Apr

In my last post, I discovered that sometimes the stuff in my closet is not so old and boring after all, when combined in new ways. Here are a few more strategies I have been using to breathe new life into my wardrobe. I am using these pics to illustrate the point, but of course I only wish these were my clothes! They are street style shots photographed by Elle in Paris at Fashion Week and elsewhere. (If you click on the image, skip the Elle.com ad and go to the full slide show of photos for more inspiration.) The point is not to copy the look wholesale, but if you squint your eyes, maybe you can imagine your own version of these trends, using stuff that’s already hanging in your own closet.

Layering

layered-knits

Ordinary items can look very new again if combined artfully. Biker gloves and sequin pants don't have a place in my closet at the moment, but a little patent leather and a little sparkle never hurt an outfit that I know of.

Electric Color: I haven’t sprung for this much electric color at once, but I do have a few electric tank tops from the Gap that I am layering under other tops and showing just an edge of bright color.

Somehow this lady pulls off wearing electric blue pants with ease. If kids love bright colors, shouldn't we? What bright color are you going to try this season?

Another take on electric blue. The grey coat with soft texture really tones it down pleasantly.

White on Neutral: I’m pretty scared to white around my kids, but it makes sense to me if you’re going to wear it, wear it on top, out of reach of dirty hands. A clean white shirt feels so luxurious to me, I might just opt for that on me next date night.

all-white-ensemble photographed by Elle

Here's one way to wear white - multiple white layers, grey pants and a black accessory. (I love to imagine what shoes you could wear with this outfit- anything from Converse high tops to wedge boots would work.)

Color on Color: Our kids aren’t afraid of bright colors, whether painting with them, wearing them, or eating them. An outfit with a great combination of colors has instant appeal. When asking yourself if two colors look good together, I always go with my gut, even if the answer isn’t immediately obvious to others. After all, there’s no reason getting dressed shouldn’t be fun.

Is there such a thing as being too old to wear green nail polish?

Neon: There’s nothing like a pop-of-80’s-neon to liven up a neutral top and pant. I’ve seen neon on everything from T-shirts to shoelaces, but I use it sparingly because don’t like the color to be overpowering.  

A-pop-of-neon photographed by Elle at Fashion Week

One way to tone down a slightly garish pattern is to show just a peep of it. Also, a-pop-of-neon bag livens up a neutral top and pants.

Sweater with Bold Print: I don’t have a chunky sweater with stars on it, but this photo makes me wish I did.

Even the brown paper bag in the other hand can't take away from the freshness of this outfit. I love how the orange bag brings out the warm tones of the stars in her sweater. I also love the pairing of a**-kicking boots with a preppy tweed vest.

Easygoing Leather: It’s not cheap, but a good leather jacket can last for decades, and can take on a range of personalities. It’s warm too! I got one last year with simple styling, and I am not afraid of getting it dirty, because I can wipe it clean with a damp cloth. (And dark colors hide dirt well.)

Wait! Here's an outfit that I could actually imagine wearing as-is.

Boots with Skirts: Just a reminder that boots don’t just go with pants – I love boots so much they probably deserve their own blog post. I keep mine waterproof by taking it to the shoe place for waterproofing at the beginning and end of every rainy season. I don’t mind if my boots take a beating – unlike with more delicate shoes, it only adds to their character. (I do avoid suede boots for kid-related activities because they age less gracefully than standard leather.)

Boots with Skirt

Sometimes pairing opposites like clunky boots and delicate skirts can make for a fun contrast.

Just for Fun

Let's play dress up

I can't imagine what you could take away from this photo, other than, "Ouch, those shoes look like they hurt." On the other hand, my 3 year old daughter would love to play dress up with that skirt (which appears to come straight out of the remnant bin at Joanne Fabrics.)

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Not every outfit has staying power. This one should probably have stayed in the closet – though without taking risks, you might miss out on creating the outfits you end up loving the most!

Sarah-Rutson puffy vest

I was really glad to see the sporty puffer vest featured as a haute couture item on Elle.com - I pretty much live in mine, though I don't wear it with platform ankle boots and a trippy Native American long john pant.

Last Look: Are moms cool enough to pull this off?

Sandals with socks

The caption to this photo on Elle's site is "Keep your spring sandals in rotation year-round by pairing them with thin cashmere socks." My caption for moms (or anyone over 30) would be, "Don't try this look at home, because on anyone but hipsters in their 20s, this look is reminiscent of wearing socks with your Birkenstocks." (Then again, what do I know, I wasn't the one photographed for Elle.com, was I?)

Overall, I am impressed by how wearable these looks are by us regular folks on the street – putting aside the pricey handbags, on the whole they seem quite achievable with ordinary wardrobe items. There is very little fuss visible in putting these outfits together, especially considering these ladies are among the who’s-who of the fashion world. Rather than conforming to the latest trends, they look like they are having fun expressing themselves through clothes – which is really the point of all this, isn’t it?

Cooking blogs focused on enjoyment of food, Northern California style

23 Jan

Ok, this isn’t exactly about what to wear, but the recent news about Paula Deen (the southern-cooking host who recently fessed up to having diabetes) probably has many of us asking ourselves how our food choices impact our health, if not our appearance.  After the new year, I am feeling my pants fitting a bit tighter after all those holiday sweets. So I went on the search for some inspiration in the kitchen, with health and enjoyment at the top of  my mind. The last thing I want to do is follow a fad diet, count calories or cut out entire categories of food that I love (I can do without deep-fried cheesecake, but not my crusty bread!). Here is a blog by a Bay Area mom focusing on the preparation of wholesome, delicious of food. I love her philosophy:

My food philosophy

Eat really good food. And enjoy every bite. Eat fresh food. Fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh meats and fresh baked breads. Eat local foods, in as many places as you can. Eat shortbread in Scotland, eat croissants and drink coffee in Paris, …. eat artichokes in California, eat steak in Texas. You get the idea :)

Throw out all that low-fat, and “light” stuff you have at home. It tastes awful! Eat less of the real stuff and I promise you’ll be glad you did. Don’t even walk down the canned food aisle in the grocery store. Again, it tastes awful. And please…don’t eat any more fast food. Blech! Nothing good comes from there, no matter what their current advertising tells you.

Think about what you eat in a day…how much fruit did you eat today? How many veggies? Focus on real, fresh food and the calories and fat won’t need to be counted as much.”

Visit her blog at

http://whatskpcooking.com/about/

Here are a few more gems from my sister-in-law, who is a professional chef and has her finger on the pulse of food culture in the Bay Area and beyond. I raided her favorite bookmarks to share with you. Even if I never cook a single thing off these pages, I will visit for inspiration from the photos alone – they make me never want to settle for anything other than eat fresh, wonderful and nourishing food.  Sure, there will still be Kraft Mac and Cheese on our table occasionally, but it’s fun to imagine other possibilities, especially when we in the Bay Area live within so many great sources of local food. Here are her online favorites and comments:

http://101cookbooks.com :My friend Heidi, author of “Super Natural Cooking” and “Super Natural Everyday;” great photography and a focus on great, seasonal ingredients.
http://honest-food.net/ :Hunter Angler Gardener Cook: Hank Shaw is amazing.
http://orangette.blogspot.com/ Molly Wizenberg is a pastry chef, but also posts some savory things and travel photography.
http://smittenkitchen.com/:A NYC home cook’s very nice, inspiring blog. I love her blood orange olive oIl cake.
http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ :Clotilde Dusoulier, from Paris
http://thedinnerfiles.com :Molly Watson, here in San Francisco. “

Thanks, Jennifer! I’ll continue to update this post as I run across more inspiring food blogs, from the practical to the sublime. Please feel free to share your own favorites in the comments section!

15 minutes worth taking

6 Oct

Unless you have been living under a rock these past 24 hours, you know that Steve Jobs, Apple CEO and lifetime entrepreneur and innovator, passed away yesterday at his home in Palo Alto after losing a battle with cancer. Amid all the coverage about his extraordinary life, I came across a video of him delivering the commencement speech at Stanford University for the class of 2005, after having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I did not expect to listen to the whole speech, but after just a few minutes, I was captivated – not by his polished speaking style (he is a geek at heart), but by the content of his message. Check it out – it runs 15 minutes.

Words I love: “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs

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