What’d You Bring Me?

Aaaaaaand….I’m back!

No excuse for my blogging absence but like any smart person who has disappeared for a while, I return bearing gifts! Technically, I may not be the one bearing said gifts but if I point you in the right direction, hopefully that’s enough to put me in good favor again.

A ridiculously talented woman in Minneapolis, who just so happens to own the handbag company Nelle, is giving away one clutch a day for each day of October. If you’ve ever seen her clutches, you’ll realize how truly awesome that is.

All you have to do is visit Nelle’s Facebook page and “like” her — which I know you already do — and fill out the contest form here. Then you’re entered and each day she’ll randomly draw a winner and some lucky person will receive an email that they’ve won! (Please be me! Please be me!)

Have time for a quick story? Even cooler than this giveaway and all the beautiful clutches is how Nelle got started. I remember meeting her in Minneapolis a few years back after her business had just started to take off and a mutual acquaintance told me all about this lovely lady who just decided one day to start sewing clutches and picked up a book at the library and taught herself how. Apparently she had a natural talent for it because within a few years she was holding trunk shows at Bendel’s and has graced the pages of every major women’s magazine with her beautiful work.

Unbelievably inspiring!

Images via Nelle

#NYFW

New York Fashion Week (now Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week) has been igniting the fashion scene since 1943 and for somewhere around 60+ years of it, budding fashionistas had to wait for the latest copy of Women’s Wear Daily or Vogue to find out what designers had in store for next season. Luckily for us, social media has given us a front-row seat in Lincoln Center to see each model as they stroll down the runway thanks to avid Tweeters in attendance.

Granted, it doesn’t come with the glitz and glam of actually attending, but for those of us who have the same shot of ever attending Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week as we do of scoring a date with Bradley Cooper, we’re thankful for those digital sneak-peeks.

I’ve been keeping my eye on #NYFW on Twitter the past few days and here are some of the goods I love the most, brought to us by the kind, fashionable souls in New York. Swoon.

@habituallychic: Another look at the chicness that is @jcrew. #nyfw #amexfashion

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@crisfg31: RT @lauren_drago: Former @teenvogue intern @laurenconrad leaving backstage after @badgleymischka! #nyfw

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@belleswift17: RT @StyleModeMag: What a stunning finale at @Reem_Acra! #SS13 #NYFW

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@redbookmag: Love. RT @BureauBetak Check out the nails from Rodarte’s show today #NYFW #Rodarte

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@TheKidzJumpBlog: Kate Spade S/S 2013 #NYFW

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@GilangGee: Spotted Sarah Jessica Parker and @BravoAndy front row in DVF show #nyfw #ss13

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@NaomiNevitt: Sparkly shoes at Rachel Roy #nyfw

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@Bergdorfs: And @karliekloss slinks by at Rodarte #nyfw

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@mbfashionweek: Look for this on the #redcarpet: pale pink corset with a delicate bottom @BadgleyMischka #spring2013

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@dzalcman: Rachel Roy S/S ’13 Presentation #nyfw

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@jimshi809: The world of @JCrew women’s in one photo. #NYFW

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@eholmeswsj: Tory’s finale. #nyfw @toryburch

Fall Shoe Essentials

Fall is almost upon us! Pumpkin beers are on the shelves and Starbucks is brewing up Pumpkin Spice Lattes, which means colored leaves and crisp air are right around the corner.

Time to swap out my shoe rack from sandals and sling-backs to boots and oxfords.

In my book, fall footwear requires a few staples — think brown leather and boots — and a few fun pieces to mix it up…

Brown leather and suede flats — non negotiable.

Kilty Suede Moc by Minnetonka Moccasin, $40; Kate Spade New York Hailey, $198

Black leather boots, both casual and a little more fun…

Indigo by Clarks Charlie Zip, $215; Vince Camudo Edorn, $159

Brown leather boots that go with plaid flannels or something to pair with a silk top and navy blazer.

Born Bitsy, $210; Frye Miranda Zip, $298

Oxfords for your boyfriend jeans — spend or splurge as you see fit!

Sanford by Splendid, $98; Loeffler Randall Joanna, $350

And a little something colorful to mix it all up…

See by Chloe Joanna Bootie, $350; Yosi Samra YS Patent/Polka Dot, $70

Tuesday Tidings

Who’s ready for the long holiday weekend already?! This girl!

We have a weekend planned of wedding errands and family time back in Iowa and my mouth is already watering in anticipation of the Mexican BBQ my parents are throwing for us Sunday night.

I’m also feeling like my brain is moving in twelve different directions this week, adjusting to a new schedule at a new job, checking off items on the wedding list and trying to squeeze in time for all the fun projects I like to give myself on the side!

In honor of this mental frenzy, here are some of the dozens of things that are flying through my thoughts right now:

I had a massive craving for homemade pizza on Sunday but didn’t have the motivation to brave a busy grocery store to grab ingredients — next time, I’m using this recipe from A Beautiful Mess

I had Chris print out this blog post last week so I could keep a copy of “10 Simple Things to Make You Happier at Home” within eyesight – wonderful reminders for daily routines

Last week I burned my arm with my curling iron attempting to follow a Pinterest demo – graceful. Maybe this demo from Camille Styles will help next time.

Maybe it’s just me but I always seem to eat my avocados too early or I’m a day late and they’ve already turned brown and mushy. The Kitchn has 30 Tips, Hints and Recipes for the Creamy Green Fruit and you best believe I’ll be taking notes.

How insanely beautiful is this garden oasis wedding on 100 Layer Cake?! Tres chic!

Happy Feet

I realize I JUST posted about Julia Child’s birthday last week but it just so happens to be the 100th birthday of the great Gene Kelly today, and I can’t think of a better reason to write this season’s love note to So You Think You Can Dance.

I love dance and I love that this show gives dancers and choreographers of all genres the opportunity to share their amazing talents with all of us lucky viewers at home. One of my favorites this season is Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer, an insanely gifted dancer and extremely likeable guy.

Check out his “Robot-Animated Popper” moves as he auditioned for the show:


And see how much he’s grown so far on the show, adding his own touch to a contemporary routine this week:

 

Gene Kelly may have never heard of a Robot-Animated Popper by the time he passed away but you have to believe these two have something in common in their soul.

Happy 100th, Julia!

One-hundred years ago today a culinary pioneer was born in California. Julia Child was never one of the glamorous women who grace the sets of the Food Network today — she wasn’t beautiful like Giada, refined like Sandra or petite like Rachael. But she believed in the importance of her craft, the joy of sharing with others and never let anyone tell her what she should do with her life.

Her recipes and her personality have transcended generations and she forged a path for women in the culinary world that will never been forgotten. I will forever share her love of French cuisine, cookbooks and butter.

So cheers to Julia and all that she has given us — Bon Appetit!

Image and video via PBS (Okay, so the video is completely ridiculous but I love the part where they remix the sound of her chopping with her knife!)

Happy Camper

As my brave fiance recently discovered, camping doesn’t top of my list of favorite activities. My family went camping less than a handful of times while growing up (my poor father had three girls) and I’ve made little effort in my adult life to seek out the wilderness and pith a tent to commune with nature.

With that said, I’m not opposed to camping, as proven on our recent excursion to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. It typically involves friends, beer, s’mores, card games and beautiful scenery (if done outside of Iowa) — all of which I’m a big fan of.

(Images from our recent camping trip. This beauty I fully support.)

It’s more the bugs, hiding food from bears, sketchy bathrooms and sleeping on the ground that make me uncomfortable and inevitably crabby. However, I recently stumbled upon some nice little campers that would make all of that a little less painful…that is, if we win the lottery sometime soon.

The Austrian company Marchi Mobile designed this $3 million dollar luxury camper — 40 feet of ornate furnishings complete with rainfall shower, fireplace, underfloor heating and pop-out bar.

(Camping in space?)

If you’d like to be a little less conspicuous rolling up to the campsite, check out this 1978 Airstream renovation by Fitzsimmons Design+Build, known as MObi.

(Images via mocoloco)

OR…if you’re still insistent on something a little more rustic, Vanity Fair tipped me off to this little beauty from Orvis complete with convertible sleeping quarters, roof fan, freshwater tank and faucet, maple countertop and stainless-steel cooler. (And it’s just downright adorable!)

 

Now that’s my kind of camping! (Somewhere at this moment, Chris is shaking his head at me.)

Baby Beauty

One of my best friends is currently at the hospital delivering a little baby girl and I am excited. beyond. words. Add that to the fact that I managed to snag some quality snuggles with our friends’ four-month-old beauty this morning and I have babies on my mind BIG TIME. (Sorry, Chris.)

I am a massive baby cuddler and am tortured by the distance between me and some of the beautiful little bambinos back home. In some regards, this is probably okay, because if I were around them more I’d spend hundreds of dollars buying them adorable little skirts, booties, hats and toys with little to no self-control.

Thanks to the beauty of the Internet, though, I can enjoy their cuteness from afar and send a package or two when tiny baby duds get the best of me.

Clockwise from top left: DIY headband from Love Stitched; Buff Baby Rattle; Dark Blue Romper; One piece suit from The Gap (this one’s for little Sabrina!); Cuddle Me Bodysuit; Bear Bootles; Katy at I Am Chasing Baby‘s little beauty Stella and her adorable headbands; Baby sweater from Crew Cuts; Secret Garden Baby Hat from Patina; Cable Knit Cardigan and Cap; Vintage Girl Socks

Two If By Sea

For a girl who grew up in the flat lands of Iowa, I sure do feel like I was meant to live on the water. Chris and I always joke that the places I’ve chosen to call home have been driven by the need for more water in my life – first moving to Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, then to Chicago and the shores of Lake Michigan, to finally reaching the shores of the ocean in Boston.

Luckily for me, I have an avid fisherman and sea captain for a future father-in-law to show me the ways of the water while I’m still earning my sea legs. This past weekend he treated us to an early morning deep-sea fishing expedition, a first for me, which was well worth rising before the sun.

I snagged the first catch of the day but was easily beat out for largest catch of the day by my future husband. (Which he reminded me a few times – we’re not competitive at all.)

An awesome new experience and great memories with my family-to-be that I will treasure for years to come!

If you’re ever in Cape Cod and looking to take a sportfishing charter, look up Captain John of Grey Dolphin Sportfishing Charters!

Wedding Belles

Kate Spade is a designer for the girl’s girl and her Wedding Belles collection is the epitome of girly gear for the big day. Even the accessories for the bridesmaids are adorned in scripty phrases “partners in crime,” “peas in a pod,” and “birds of a feather.”

For a gal pal that makes you look that good, there’s only one question to ask…

“Kate, will you be my bridesmaid?”