8.31.2010

Sustainable Style: Repurposed Luggage

Most of you know that Etsy is a treasure trove of creative people making creative things, and today's sustainable style is one of those products where you have that, "Why didn't I think of that?" moment.

♥ Love ♥ Nostalgic ♥ Whimsy finds favor with cast-off household items, turning them into something unique and most certainly whimsical. Her main upcycled idea is taking vintage suitcases and turning them into one-of-a-kind coffee tables, end tables and even pet beds by screwing furniture legs onto them.

I think this is such a great idea because I always see beautiful vintage luggage at thrift stores, but hardly anyone buys them since they're comfortable with the jet-black bag on wheels that fits nicely in the overhead bin (I'm one of them, so I point the finger at myself, too). But turned into tables, their retro design can be appreciated, and their life purpose (storage) still fulfilled; they just won't be logging any frequent flyer miles.

Here are some of my favorites from her shop...




Look at that pup! So friggin' cute...

8.30.2010

Mid-Century Monday: Mad for Ads

A couple years ago I went to visit a friend in Phoenix. I wasn't expecting much; I figured that it was mostly desert and suburban sprawl. But boy was I wrong. This place is quite possibly one of the best I've been to for antique malls and vintage resale. Maybe it's due to an aging retirement population selling their treasures (and more of the same population buying them up). Whatever the reason, I'm grateful, because we spent a good part of one day just driving around and rummaging through shelf after shelf of goodies.

At one mall there was a crate full of vintage Gourmet magazines from the '50s and '60s. We proceeded to comb them for the best covers, and I ended up with six. I didn't have a plan for them, I just knew I had to have them. They eventually landed in my "things to frame one day" box a few months after I brought them home.

Last week — while purging our newlywed home of things we clearly aren't going to use or need — I came across said box and sat down to look at all the ideas I've had that never came to fruition. When I pulled the magazines out, I started leafing through them with a new appreciation for the ads inside thanks to my "Mad Men" obsession.

They really are a reflection of the times; most of the ads are for alcohol, and the text is much longer than anything you see today. Pick up your favorite glossy at the newsstand tomorrow and you'll see ads full short tag lines looking to become the new buzz word. Back in the mid-60s (when these particular magazines were printed) the ads seemed to put more on the shoulders of the story the text told. Maybe it's because people took life a little slower back then and had longer attention spans...or maybe I'm just grumpy and disillusioned with today's advertising. But that's a blog post for another day. :)

I'll leave you with some of my favorite covers and ads a la 1960s Gourmet. They really are an inspiring, easy-to-do and inexpensive way to get some decoration on your walls, especially if you have a lot that are the same size. Hang them in one big group and you've a quite a conversation piece!





P.S. Congrats to the creators and cast of "Mad Men" on their well-deserved Emmy win! And kudos to Jon Hamm for doing that dance number in the opening act...so hilarious!

8.29.2010

Make-Your-Own-Pizza-Party

In yesterday's morning post I told you we were going to a pizza party last night...and man was it fun! Everyone brought some toppings to add to the buffet, and the options of what to top your pie with were endless! The hubs and I brought zucchini, cherry tomatoes, parsley and pecorino cheese, and I made my first pizza with those ingredients (no sauce, just brushed some olive oil on the dough), and here are the delicious before-and-after the oven results!



The second one had tomato sauce, artichokes, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella and arugula...


After pizza we set up a fire pit and some chairs in the backyard and had S'mores and wine and beer, and by 12:15 a.m. only five remained. It was one of those nights where I laughed so hard I cried and my stomach is sore this morning. So, needless to say, this party was a great success (kudos Scott), and I think we all look forward to many more to come! I'll leave you with a parting shot of me and my friend Emily a la the Hipstamatic application on iPhone (if you don't yet have it, get it!)...

8.28.2010

Style Spots: Vintage Estate Sale

When I was younger, my mom and I would go to estate sales most Saturdays mornings. We'd get our copy of the Post-Dispatch on Friday and circle all the listings we thought would have good stuff. Then we'd break out the city map and figure out our plan of attack. It was a ton of fun and we found some great things over the years.

I've lived in California for 4 1/2 years now, and realized a couple months ago that I've never ventured into estate sales out here. I guess I figured that most of them would be high-priced and not worth the effort. Today, however, I made my move.

Before heading down there, my loving husband toted me around to a couple rummage sales in Culver City, where I found a couple vintage dresses, an old copy of The Good Housekeeping Cookbook, an old mirror with a gilded frame, and these two fabulous finds:




By 11 a.m. the hubs had had enough and needed some down time before work today. So I dropped him off at home and finally made my way down to Play del Rey.

A lot of people like to get to these sales early (even when people say no early birds!), and since I hadn't been part of a mad scramble in a while (the ones at estate sales sometimes get down and dirty with people throwing elbows and everything!), I took my chances and showed up well after the morning rush. The first two didn't turn up anything, which was a bit disappointing. But the last one was inside these beautiful mid-century home, and I knew from the look of it there were still gems to be had.

Outside was an entire garage full of books for $1 each, and most of them hardbacks from the '50s. My husband loves to read, and especially loves history, so I scoured the boxes and came up with some great vintage reads for him. The two I'm most proud of is the four-volume set of Winston Churchill's A History of English Speaking Peoples, and a fairly famous book on Abraham Lincoln called Lincoln and His Generals. I also grabbed two books on the Civil War, one on the fall of the Russian dynasties, and (for me) a compilation book of Dashell Hammett's novels (The Thin Man, The Maltese Falcon, etc.). I know my dad will be proud when he hears about that last one.


Throughout the rest of the outside property were boxes and boxes of linens and fabric, old tools and furniture being sold at very generous prices. There was this one wooden chair with an amazing pattern of orange, brown and yellow plaid, but we have no place for it so I left it for the next person. I did, however, get this beautiful magazine/newspaper rack that I think I'm going to refinish in a bright color:


When I went inside there was still a lot of stuff left, and my arms got full as I ventured from room to room. Eventually the granddaughter (by marriage) of the gentleman who had just passed came up and gave me a box. When I was finished picking through things, we laid everything out on the table and went over prices. I ended up with a lot of cute vintage Christmas ornaments, three rolls of vintage contact paper/shelf lining, an old omelet pan with a rooster on it that says, "Good Morning", a little coin purse, some calendar tea towels and a red ceramic rooster for an unbelievably reasonable price. Some of what's pictured below will go onto the Parsimonia Etsy store, but some of it stays with me!






After I paid I talked with the granddaughter for a while and she said how hard all of this was for her husband, seeing his grandfather's (and grandmother's) things being picked through and people haggling for the lowest price. And I think that's always something that's so bittersweet about these sales. You're essentially just walking through the house of someone who just died, trying to get the best of what they've left behind, and some people really do seem like vultures when they do it.

So, if you go to estate sales, do me one favor: Be respectful of the family members who are there running it, still coping with the loss of someone they loved. It's not a time to take advantage of the circumstance they're in.

[Change of tone]

Have a great rest of the weekend and enjoy the good weather (if you have it!)!

What's Your Pizza Style?



Have you ever wondered why it's sometimes called pizza pie? Sure, they're both round and go into the oven (or at least some part of it does), but pizzas have toppings, not filling; and I've yet to see one with a lattice top. As an ever-curious journalist (by degree, not necessarily by practice), I decided to do some research. The best answer I could find to this question comes from InMammasKitchen.com:

"The word pie does not refer to the crust, nor even to the shape or position of the crust. The Oxford English, the Webster's unabridged,and lexicographer Charles Earl Funk all agree that the elemental word pie relates to the magpie, a bird with feathers splotched in two colors, a bird called "pica" by the Romans, whence the English "pie" and the alteration of "pica" to "pizza." The name relates to the bird's double color and its habit of gathering odds and ends, as does a pizza, or pie, gather and consist of varied ingredients."

Okay...I'll buy it.

What's all the pizza fuss? Well, in the past 24 hours it seems this dish is destined to take over my weekend. Thursday night we got an invite to a friend's house for a make-your-own-pizza party, and it's going to be awesome. Whenever all of our friends get together for a food-related event, I always spend a ridiculous amount of time researching a recipe to make, and last night was no different. 

Parked on my couch with the Travel Channel going in the background, I looked for new and interesting ideas for how to top my pie. Then a documentary called Pizza Paradise came on, and I watched wide-eyed as the history of this delicious dish danced across the screen (and stopped at restaurants all over the country) for two hours (ending with a $1,000 pizza at Nino's Bellissima in New York City. Yeah, that's right...). After that, "Man vs. Food" came on, and the first challenge was eating this 14-pound pizza. So, I relented and took the hint, thus this posting.

What stood out most to me in the documentary was how fiercely loyal people in different regions of the country are to their native pizzas. New Yorkers swear by their thin crust; Chicagoans say deep dish is the only way to go; and Californians like it excessively loaded with "gourmet" ingredients. And, of course, all of them say their way is the best way.

This got me thinking...is there a kind of pizza I'm a die-hard fan of? And the answer is a big old boring...no. For me it depends on where I am. On my honeymoon in Italy I always went with the pizza margherita, and each time was blown away with how good simplicity tasted. In Chicago I've eaten at Pizzeria Uno and was happy to consume that sauce-topped pie stuffed to capacity with cheese and veggies. Living in California I'm constantly intrigued by different topping combinations, most recently at Pizza Antica at the newly renovated Santa Monica Place, where preserved slices of lemon were baked into the dough, which was then topped with summer squash, shaved pecorino and Sweet 100 tomatoes.

"The Square Beyond Compare"
You might think I've hit the pizza trifecta, but oh no, my friend. I grew up in St. Louis, where's there Imo's: thin crust with a modest amount of toppings, provel cheese, cut into "squares beyond compare" (and people covet the corner pieces!), and it's just...home. And, of course, it's the best! :)

What about you? What kind of pie gets your taste buds a-tingling?! If you're not sure, maybe you should do some of your own investigation this weekend and get out there and see what your city has to offer!

Peace + pizzas...

8.27.2010

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

I was lucky enough to marry someone who loves to cook as much as I do, and each week we strive to make at least one (but hopefully two) recipes we've never tried before. In the past 2 1/2 months of marital bliss we've served up some great (if I do say so myself) food, and I'd love to start sharing these little "bites" with you! The culinary world is full of inspiring, creative + confident people, and there's no reason we shouldn't join the fun.

This week the hubs and I made some fresh strawberry ice cream via our new ice cream maker attachment for our KitchenAid stand mixer. My two lovely former roommates gave this to us as wedding gift, and it will surely be used many times in the future. Here are some clips of the action and the delicious result:



I realized halfway through my bowl of ice cream that I hadn't taken a picture of the final product. So forgive the less-than-polished look! I just had to dive right in!


Perfect for the hot summer nights we've been having here...can't wait to make another flavor! Any suggestions?

8.26.2010

Style Spots: Dress Fest at Goodwill

Apologies for getting these finds up so late in the day. I did a major reorganization of the office that took most of the afternoon. But let's get to the goods! I found these lovely dresses at the Goodwill on Venice and National today on a trip with my girl Nancy. All vintage, all in really great shape and all great for the upcoming transition into fall! They'll be up for sale on the Etsy store sometime tomorrow. Until then, have a GREAT evening!




8.25.2010

"Zooey" Outfits

OK guys and gals, last week I announced a new way of doing things on Thrifty Thursdays. Instead of an everlasting list of tips and tricks, I thought we could kick it up and notch. Each week I'll be posting outfits I've put together from local second-hand shops that are inspired by ones seen in the movies, on TV, in ads, magazines, etc., to show you that you can get a similar look for less.

I went ahead and chose the first one, inspired by some of my favorite styling I've seen in movies in a while: Rashida Jones's outfits in I Love You Man. I fully intended on just finding one, but had a serendipitous time at a local Goodwill and ended up with three! Let's see if you think these outfits make the cut...

Total cost of thrift-a-like: $8.98

I was floored when I saw this T-shirt on the rack. While it's not vintage like the one Jones is wearing, it does give off a sweet '80s California vibe (the '80s are getting close to vintage, right?). A lot of retail stores have jumped on the vintage reproduction train and are pumping out T's that already have a worn-in feel and are adorned with vintage graphics. As such, pulling off this look becomes a lot easier since you'll come across them more in thrift stores, and at a much lower price.

Originally I was going to pair it with this beautiful plum cardigan, but the cut of the neckline was just off. I finally found this navy cardigan with orange stripes going up the front, and while it's not as bold of a pattern as I'd hoped for to get that Marc Jacobs cardigan look, I was happy with the outcome.

Total cost of thrift-a-like: $8.98

After scouring the store for a bright yellow collared shirt and coming up empty-handed, I found this brown and white striped number and thought we could go for a role reversal by topping it with a yellow cardigan. Yes, it does lack a bit of boldness when put next to the original outfit, but it's a great example of working with what you have. If you come across something you like but can't find exact matches, think of other ways to bring the same colors together.

Total cost of thrift-a-like: $7.98

I saved this one for last because it's the one I'm most proud of. I feel like I really hit the same colors and even found a cardigan with some great texture, one of the keys of putting together a "Zooey" outfit. The original green shirt does have some ruffles in it, but yet again, flexibility is key.

So, what do you think? Did I meet the challenge?

This week I'll be channeling my inner GQ as I attempt to recreate a suave outfit worn by a down-and-dirty man: Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. Check it out:


Thank you to all my readers who submitted challenges! Rest assured they are safe in my Thrifty Thursday file and will have their moment to shine. Until then, keep 'em coming!

The Color Code, Part I


Remember two weeks ago when we all took a look inside our closets? (Yes, I'm going to assume you did. If not, shame on you.) We talked about how they can tell very telling tales (says that fives times fast) about ourselves and our style. Well, today, let's open those doors again and pay special attention to the colors we find...and the ones we don't.

For instance, I'm looking into my closet right now, and I'm pretty proud of what I see: blues, purples, yellows, reds, greens, oranges, black...and I'm finally gaining some brown. What I don't see is white, save two things: I have one white dress I bought to wear to the beach on my wedding day, and one white button-up shirt I bought for the honeymoon. And neither of those have seen use since then.

Why? Because I crave color in my clothing. My husband pokes fun at me all the time when I'm deciding on what to wear because I try to see how many colors I can put together. Some days I'll walk into the living after getting dressed and he says, "Ohhh...look at THAT outfit!" in the way you congratulate a five-year-old who insisted on dressing herself for school. (I take it all in fun though because I know it's one of the things he loves most about me.)

I've learned by trial and error (and photos that make me look pale and sickly) what colors complement my natural makeup and what ones just wash me out. And when you wear the ones that make your eyes pop and your skin glow, it really does make a difference in your confidence.

That said, I thought it would be fun to do a two-part series on how to determine 1) what your natural tones are, and 2) the colors complement them and how to mix and match them to create confident clothing palettes. Once you have a good grasp on all of that, I think you'll find that bold colors and bright patterns aren't as scary as they seem. And yes, you can wear them. Maybe you'll even take that extra step and hit up your favorite second-hand shop to make a small investment in a bright future. Sound like fun? Then let's get started.

The Trifecta of Tone


There are three things that determine what colors look best on you: your skin tone, the color of your eyes, and the color of your hair (be it real or chemically induced). The last two are a no-brainer; you can look in a mirror and know what color your hair and eyes are. But you may not be as aware of your skin tone. A lot of magazines and blogs talk about it in terms of seasons; you're either a winter, spring, autumn or summer girl. I'll spare you the analogies and try and break it down to what's most common.

  • Group 1: For those of you out there with pale, dark or olive skin and hair that's black, dark or white blonde, usually your undertones are blue or a rosy pink.
     
  • Group 2: Those with creamy/peachy skin and hair that's auburn, golden or strawberry blonde usually have gold-yellow undertones in their skin, freckles and a lighter eye color.
     
  • Group 3: Those with skin shaded in peach, beige and golden brown and hair that's red, red-brown, dark blonde, rich brown or brown-black tend to have golden undertones in their skin and darker eye colors. 
     
  • Group 4: Those with pale or pink-toned skin, blonde or light- to medium-brown hair usually have skin undertones of pale blue or pale pink.

Which group do you find yourself in? If you still can't tell, I read in an article that you can use your veins as guides. It said if they appear more green, warmer colors go better with your skin tone; if they appear more blue, cooler colors are they way to go. (Hey, it's worth a shot, right?)

Now that you've taken a closer look at your epidermis (Remember that joke from school? Well, it really IS showing...) I'm going to leave you on the edge of your seat until next week, where we'll talk about ideal skin tone and color combinations, and reintroduce ourselves to the glory of the color wheel (can you say primary, secondary and tertiary?).

In the meantime, take what you've learned today and start experimenting with what is in your closet right now. Hold up a shirt and see if it heightens or dulls the color of your eyes, skin and hair, then take notes and bring them to class next Wednesday!

8.24.2010

Sustainable Style: Via Nativa

Even in the sweltering heat that I know some people are enduring right now (luckily things are still lovely here in California), the style seasons are rapidly moving toward fall, and blogs, magazines and ads are putting notions of crisp colors in our minds.

When I think of autumn, I think of where I grew up in Missouri, and the oak trees that turn glorious shades of yellow and orange. You walk to the sound of crunching leaves, and the wind invades your senses with nature's last hurrah before its hibernation during the winter months. 

Yes...I admit it. I miss the Midwest in the fall. If I could reside there from late September to mid-November, then come back to Santa Monica for the sea air the rest of the year, things would be just about perfect. Until that magical situation occurs, however, I'm left to find fall inspiration elsewhere, and today's sustainable style spot is a great place to start.

Via Nativa is a fair trade organization that works directly with independent artisans, community-based collectives and nonprofit organizations in Nicaragua to provide craftspeople there a way to earn a sustainable living while staying true to their traditional lifestyle. The online store boasts home decor items and hammocks, but its main focus is beautiful pieces of jewelry created from reclaimed or spalted wood. The finishing on the wood is all natural (such as linseed or pure tung oil), and even the labels have sustainable properties, either made from plantain leaves or printed using soy ink. Perhaps even better is the fact that they're relatively affordable. Below are some of my favorite pieces:

L to R; Curva Ring, $20; Boca Ring, $15; Curva Earrings, $22. (Images courtesy of Via Nativa)



L to R: Tube Ring, $22; Hoja Earrings, $25; Tube Bracelet, $29; Curva Necklace, $42. (Images courtesy of Via Nativa)


Founders Alessandra Plasa and Vanesa Natale started their environmentally friendly business after seeing firsthand the beauty of artisan crafts in Nicaragua, crafts that represented not only art, but a way to make a living. Plasa, who has a bachelor's degree in fine arts in interior design from the Pratt Institute in New York, currently runs the business and works directly with artisans and women-owned co-ops in Nicaragua to create the sustainable wood accessories. Natale currently volunteers with the NYC Fair Trade Coalition and has other fair trade businesses and projects in the works.
 
They also work with a fair trade, nonprofit organization called Esperanza en Accion, which is based in Managua, Nicaragua, and works with a variety of groups all over the country who create pine needle bowls, clay jewelry, soap stone sculptures and much more.

To take it one step further, twice a year, Via Nativa collects donations of clothing, medicine and other items in New York and distributes them to rural and urban areas of Nicaragua. If you're interested in helping, contact Alessandra at alessandra@vianativa.com.

Be sure and check out their website for more information and videos that show how the pieces are made from beginning to end. And, if you're feel so inspired, plop a couple things in a cart while you're there and start your Christmas shopping early! (Hey, it IS August after all...[sigh].)

8.23.2010

Mid-Century Monday: Bottoms Up!

Oh...my...gosh. Did anyone else feel like they needed a drink to calm themselves after last night's episode of "Mad Men" (especially when Roger walked into that Honda meeting...)?! I know I did, so I thought it appropriate to dedicate today's blog post to the oh-so-stylish bar carts and glassware I oftentimes see on this show.

If you watch just one episode of "Mad Men," you'll be able to see that drinks (and always having them readily available) were a big part of mid-century, 1960s culture. It was assumed that when you walked into a home, there would be a bar of sorts out in the open, and I think, in a twisted sort of way, it created a kind of community and was used as a way to show and accept hospitality from one another.

People in the show are always minding their manners and offering drinks to others as they pour from their personal cart, and if you think about it, that courtesy still exists today. When friends come over we still jump at the opportunity to offer them a beverage, whether it be water, wine or beer, but the emergence of the "bar scene" has taken this courtesy out of the house and to a less refined level. And it's especially heavier on the pocketbook. Think of the money you'd save on drinks by having friends over for some mixed beverages, served from your stylish bar cart and with some gold-rimmed highball glasses! For example...

On the show, each time we enter Don's office, I'm dying to get a better peek at the teak bar cart he has in there, but here's an example of a similar one. Don's has curved edges and some gold trim, but this one was a common style found in plenty of offices and homes during that time:


They usually have at least two levels, sometimes three, giving you enough space to display the various liquor bottles you have on hand. They're also usually on wheels, which is optimal for the home, allowing you to roll the bar into the living room when you have guests over. Some have a kind of push-cart handle on one end, some have glass shelves, and some are stationary, but you get the idea.

Last night I also got a second glimpse of some highball glasses I'd seen a couple episodes prior (I think the Christmas party episode), and I just love them. They kind of have a circus feel with tall skinny triangles going up and down the side, sandwiched between gold trim on the top and bottom. I snapped a shot on our TV (thank you DVR for the pause option) of one being held by one of the new characters this season, so pardon the pixel-ness:

 
Here are some other examples that I just couldn't keep from posting. The designs on glassware during this time went so many directions, from simple to detailed, and classic to atomic/modern:






These glasses don't take up much room, and they add a nice decorative touch to the space you're hosting them in. I found a set at our local Salvation Army that are currently housed on my Etsy site and waiting for a new home (see picture below), so it's definitely possible to come across them without spending an arm or a leg.


I'll end on a public service announcement (and I really do mean it): Please drink responsibly! This post isn't meant to condone over-consumption of alcohol. And for my friends out there with underage kids (or ones on the way), obviously this isn't the right time to bring in the drink cart...just keep it bookmarked for when the little ones are off to college. By then you might need to knock a couple back to bring yourself to write those tuition checks. :)

8.21.2010

How to Throw a Thrifty Birthday Party



Welcome to the weekend my friends! I'm so excited to talk about today's blog post, inspired by the fun night I had on Friday. We went to a birthday party with two of our friends, where the hubs and another friend were going to be playing music, and the joyousness of the occasion left me thinking of all the fun you could have throwing a thrifty birthday party! This idea would work for guests of honor at all ages, from toddlers to people in their golden years, and really give you an excuse to stretch your creativity. And, let me tell you, it feels so good to sit back at the end of the night and see all the special touches you were able to bring to the event, without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to help you get the party started:

  1. Start by picking a theme. Since you'll be going to second-hand stores and you never know what they're going to have in stock, having a certain aesthetic in mind helps get the ball rolling. And (obviously) make it something specific to the guest of honor, whether it's a hobby they're really into, a certain place they love to visit, or a favorite memory they have.
  2. Give yourself plenty of time! Since you're working with what you find, make sure you start searching for things at least a month in advance. If after a week of looking you're starting to see that your theme is going to be difficult, be flexible and pick another one. Since you've started planning this so early, you'll still have plenty of time to accommodate the changes.
  3. Enlist help from friends and family. I'm willing to bet that you and everyone near and dear to you don't all live on the same street (if you do, that's awesome and I'm very impressed), so make use of the distance and cover more ground in the same amount of time. Ask your sister who lives on the north side of town to scour the thrift stores over there, while you cover the south side. Tell them you'll reimburse them for the items, and ask that their time be a donation of love for the guest of honor. On the same note, if you know someone with a special talent (i.e. plays an instrument, does magic tricks, etc.) ask if they would re-gift their gift for the party.
  4. Remember the basics. Things like table linens, candle holders, flatware, glasses and serving pieces can be found in abundance at thrift stores as well, and you might find something that is useful for the parties you'll through in the future. So if you have space to store it, get it!
  5. Let your items do double-duty. Since some of the things you're going to buy will be specific to a theme, most likely they won't be something you hang on to after the party. So...send your guests home with favors; it'll be a great way for them to remember the fun they had. You can also re-donate the items and get a tax receipt. Either way it's a win-win!
  6. Make the cake yourself. I'm going to introduce you to what I consider the baking Bible: Baking Illustrated, from the people behind the Cooks Illustrated food magazine. I got it as a gift from one of my roommates a couple years ago, and have yet to be disappointed by any cake I've made from it. The people behind the recipes do all the grunt work for you, testing different pans, techniques and temperatures, and even print their trials with the recipe to enhance your baking knowledge. If you just want to go easy on yourself and make a cake out of the box, think about ways you could cut and sculpt it into a 3-D creation that goes along with the party's theme. One year we threw a dinosaur-themed party for a friend and I made a dinosaur birthday cake; this past year, for another friend, we made a cake in the shape of a swan. Even if it doesn't look perfect, they will certainly appreciate the effort.
Dino cake (ignore the terrible writing!)
Swan cake (even though it kinda looks like a duck)
 
The best part (for me) about this method of throwing a party is it's sustainable. Most thrift stores are connected to a nonprofit, so the money you spend there goes on to help people in need in some way!

Hope this inspires you for your next shindig! Have a great weekend!

8.20.2010

Roman Holiday

Buon giornio and happy Friday my friends! Today we have a classy, playful and romantic segment of Reel Inspiration, starring the always adorable, timelessly chic Audrey Hepburn, and the gallant, handsome (and high-waist-trousered [?]) Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday!

Movies from the '40s and '50s have always been among my favorites, and when I watched this one for the first time in middle school I remember thinking two things: 1) I really want a scooter and 2) I want to be riding that scooter in the outfit Hepburn wears throughout this movie. I have accomplished the first goal (my husband and I ride a 1980 P125X Vespa painted sky blue), but the second has yet to come to fruition. Maybe this post will give me an extra push.

 
Edith Head, who still holds the number one spot in Academy Award nominations (35) and wins (8) for costume design, received one of her Oscars in 1953 for her work in this movie. This is an amazing feat considering two things: that Hepburn wore the outfit you see pictured above in 90% of the film, and it had to be styled with "black and white" in mind, since that's what the movie would be filmed in. Edith, however, was the creme de la creme of fashion designers during Hollywood's Golden Age, and if you were an A-list celeb back then, you wore her clothing. So with her brilliance on deck, the costumes were sure to succeed. Check out this picture of Edith below...remind you of anyone?


I'll give you a hint: Have you seen the Disney/Pixar movie The Incredibles? (What?) That's right: The character in that movie who designs the superhero costumes (Edna Mode), was based on her! Here, take a look for yourself:



If Edith was as fun in real life as Edna is in that movie, I definitely would've wanted to run in her circle. But, I digress; let's get back to the task at hand: Hepburn's fabulous frocks during her character's Roman adventure.

My two favorite things about this outfit are the scarf and the sandals. They are a great example of how to sass up a simple and fairly neutral outfit, especially for a film in black and white, where color is lost on the audience and you're forced to be a lot more creative + confident in the looks you design. The Roman-esque sandals (like the kind that were uber popular last summer) add eye-catching details below Hepburn's flowing skirt, and the striped scarf makes a chic yet playful statement against a simple white button-up shirt. And that belt! I am always a fan of adding a belt whenever you can. They work for all body types, from the hip-less to the curvaceous, and come in so many fun styles and textures. But that's another blog post...

What say you? Are you inspired to scoot around ancient ruins, start a fight at a party and be swept away into the romance of Roma? Me too! Let's go!
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