Azzedine Alaia: Lets make a statement!

When I received this letter I thought
When I received this letter I thought “this ought to be interesting”. Love Alaia!

 Azzedine Alaia – one of my favorite statement designers:

Lets face it, I’m a sucker for all things French, and their fashion is not exempt.  I adore how they have so gracefully mastered the art of marrying simplicity and quiet elegance. Never over dressed, but never underdressed either, French women just know how to put things together.

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When Danielle introduced me to my first Alaia, my reaction was “seriously? that much for a pair of shoes?” BUT….I now know better.

“Oh no, you don’t understand, this is an Alaia”. “an a whata?” “An Alaia. Its like a totally important designer!” From Clueless- one of the best movies ever!!

Azzedine Alaia was Tunisian-born, but his brand is Parisian. He started as an assistant dress maker and went on to become one of the most iconic and important designers of the 20th (and now 21st century). Whether a shoe, a handbag, or a garment- his pieces are always classy. They can make an ordinary outfit go from basic to zing just by showing up. Yes, the price is high- but the quality, fit, and longevity are there. A pair of Alaia shoes, for example, will wear like-new for many seasons (and they are surprisingly comfortable!).  His handbags are always ageless and classy. Alaia pieces are sexy without being ostentatious. Don’t get me wrong, I love my YSL dress clutch, despite the the huge Y S L blatantly showing in front. But the Alaia? Its this gorgeous piece of art without saying “Hi, I’m a designer bag and I cost a fortune.” Its classic. Its elegant. Its demure. Its mysterious. LOVE!!!

Alaia heels can dress up a casual outfit just the right amount to make it pop. They are well made and comfortable too!
Alaia sandals can dress up a casual outfit just enough to make it pop. They are well made and comfortable too!
Aren't these Alaia clutches gorgeous? For purchasing info please contact @styledbydanielleklein on Instagram.
Aren’t these Alaia clutches gorgeous? For purchasing info please contact @styledbydanielleklein on Instagram.

Statement Pieces 101:

Just recently I learned there are three categories of clothing that are essential in making a complete wardrobe (I used to only own #3 and always had nothing to wear- which makes total sense to me now):

#1 Basics: tees, tanks, layering pieces

#2 Staples: jeans, blazers/jackets/cardigans

#3 Statement pieces– varies on individual choice. The piece thats thrown in the mix to make outfits pop and, well, make a statement. The “art” pieces of your wardrobe. I love my Alaia shoes as statement pieces.

When to start adding a statement piece:

Like in any sport or art, its imperative to learn the fundamentals before one can have fun. Once you master putting together a basic outfit (I’m still working on this), you can start throwing statement pieces into the mix. Have fun with it and chose what you want.  I think the point of the statement piece is to express who you are OR who you want to be at the time/that particular day.

Disclaimer– be careful- statement pieces can be the most fun and act as an expression of who you are or who you feel like being that particular day, but a wardrobe consisting solely and entirely of statement pieces will result in mayhem.  #learnedfromexperience. (*embarrassing blush)

Outfitting the statement piece:

I need to confirm with Danielle, but it seems some people choose to wear a lot of statement pieces at once (google Iris Apfel “more is more”), and other’s prefer a single piece at a time (ex. Jackie O). The other day MSM saw this woman at the gym carrying a 2k+ Louis Vuitton bag in which laid all her stinky used gym clothes. Seems extravagant to me. But a big point of fashion is to each his own, right? Its ok to make your own rules. These are just guidelines.

Looking rock and roll chic for the Opus Orange concert in my Alaia booties.
Looking rock and roll chic for the Opus Orange concert in my Alaia booties.

 

Spend on a statement piece? Its all relative and up to you!

Its not really about the money. Statement pieces can come in all shapes and sizes. In order to prevent buying something cheaply made and over priced, though (and those pieces are definitely out there!), its wise to learn how to distinguish good craftsmanship and quality fabrics.  For now, I’m protected by Danielle. But its smart to learn this on our own too.

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A statement tank. I love anything French. Styled by Danielle Klein.

Weekend Outfit: Tank: Wildfox  Jeans: Current Elliot  Handbag: Givency   Jacket:Vince   Sunnies: Celine   Lipstick: Armani

Au Revoir mon petit chou, bonne fin de semaine!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Estate Sale Extraordinaire: Beverly Hills

LensFlair
Quite a lens flair! It was at least 95 degrees already- and only 8:30am!

The other day MSM came up with the fantastic idea of a “before work date”. He sent me the link to an estate sale in Beverly Hills and said, “We should do this!” Having never been to an estate sale before, I was super excited. Especially since this particular sale was at the home of former Miss America (1959) and actress, Mary Ann Mobley (imagine the tiaras and handbags she must have!!!) and her actor husband, Gary Collins.

Miss America 1959 Mary Ann Mobley.
Miss America 1959 Mary Ann Mobley was the first Mississippian to be crowned Miss America. She was an active philanthropist, actress, and film maker until her death in 2014. Her husband, Gary Collins, was also an actor. They have one daughter (Mary) and one son (Guy).

Visiting the company’s website PacificEstateSales.Com prior to the sale proved to be the most interesting and helpful to me. The website included a synopsis explaining whose estate this was, a photo gallery exhibiting featured pieces that were available for sale, and contact info in case there were questions about anything.  When I called to ask about an Hermes handbag (it was a knock off), Pacific Estate Sales founder/owner, Diana Nichols, suggested we get there as early as 8:30 if we wanted first dibs on things.

We woke up super early, jumped into our cars and hugged the curves along Mulholland drive until we arrived at the beautiful estate perched on its own peak in the heart of Beverly Hills. We parked below the estate (a shuttle was provided to take us up to the main house). Surprisingly by 8:30 am there were already 45 OTHER early birds hoping to catch the proverbial worm. MSM and I both wondered which items the other people were after. We were looking for LP records, books, and artwork. Also we loved a set of chairs that had been featured on the website.

The Estate:

The Mobley estate was seriously gorgeous. Up the drive to the left was a beautiful plot of land that looked like its own park. Across the drive sat the “cute” yellow home,  juxtaposed with the contrasting blue water of the front yard pool, all ensconced by a white picket fence. The home and yard seemed extremely inviting, with festive lawn furniture sprinkled around the area.

I wish I had dressed in honor of the former Miss America. Although I was over dressed as it was....
I wish I had dressed a bit more 1950’s in honor of the former Miss America. Although I was over dressed as it was 😦 As Danielle says- I’m still learning 🙂 Chanel Sandals available from @styledbydanielleklein on Instagram.

All that charm aside, apparently people can be so nasty and crazy when it comes to estate sales. First of all, I felt like I was at one of those wedding gown sales you read about. You know the ones- where your smashed against the window with 50 other people until the doors open and you get trampled? Secondly, no one, and I mean NO ONE, had read the bio explaining whose house this was. I honestly don’t think they cared. For me it meant so much that I knew she was Miss America and a philanthropist who, along with her actor husband, contributed so much to making the world a better place. Everyone else? They could care less. They just wanted “cool stuff” for “cheap” – and they made that very evident.

When we finally were allowed in the estate (they only allowed 5 people in at a time) we enjoyed walking around and looking at the architecture and interior design. She had the most incredible bathroom. It was painted a dusty soft blue, highlighted with beautiful white molding and a mirrored ceiling! We peaked in each room and enjoyed taking a moment to breathe in the atmosphere and think what it must have felt like to be Mary Ann and Gary.

Mirrors in the bathroom, interesting views. Ha. But I adore the color blue she picked.
Mirrors in the bathroom, interesting views. Ha. But I adore the color blue she picked.

What to buy:

The library was extensive, but no books that we really wanted. The record collection was fun- and all at 2$/piece so we picked up a few of those as well as a painting set that we had both admired on the website. No tiaras or handbags of significance (obviously her daughter took those- duh!). We really wanted the chair set but a. we weren’t equip with proper transportation and b. we had to run off to work! So we wrote down the name of the chairs- Marcel Breuer/Wassily, and ventured back into our reality.

records
There were some great recods in here. We found an original of the first released Star Wars album in mint condition but sans poster (yes, I’m a Star Wars nerd!!!). We had to snatch that up right away.
We loved this gorgeous light fixture. Its a great example of the unique things one can find at an estate sale.
We loved this gorgeous light fixture. Its a great example of the unique things one can find at an estate sale.

During the day we both researched Marcel Breuer and the Wassily chairs. We discovered these chairs were iconic pieces of history and originals! Knowing the providence (and after speaking with my designer friend who said “we will find you a townhome to fit the chairs, GET THEM!”)- we decided they were the gem of the sale. So I called Diana and emailed her to let her know we wanted them and would pick them up ASAP. The sale was three days and Diana was gracious enough to hold the chairs for us 🙂

A word about Pacific Estate Sales:

I must take a moment to say that Diana was wonderful. She is so knowledgeable and passionate about her estate sales and the featured pieces. Going to her sale was like going back in time, and she was wonderful about supplying the historical information needed to really understand where we were standing. I also loved how honest she is (ex the Hermes was a knock off and she didn’t hide that). She was friendly, not snobby, which I really appreciate. Its funny how I’ve encountered so many stuck up self-entitled people that work with but are not actually part of the LA elite. And on the flip side- most of the LA elite I’ve met have been friendly and humble. I’m putting Diana in the latter category.

The Wassily chairs. Whoot! What a score!
The Wassily chairs. Whoot! What a score!

In sum the estate sale was a huge success. We enjoyed an early morning date that was like taking a trip back in time and amped our energy for the rest of the day. I would definitely visit another estate sale. Its a great way to find unique pieces for your home. Personally I’ll stick to ones that seem historically interesting to me. But hey- whatever floats your boat. If getting “cool s*** for a great price” is your thing- check them out! You can look at Diana’s site (link above) or visit EstateSales.net

What to Wear to an Estate Sale:

It was HOT up in the hills! And all those people in close proximity? We were drenched in our work clothes. Dress casually (I was way over dressed).  Also – no hand bags or large over coats. Cash and checks are best. Keep in mind theres a 9% sales tax on all sold items, too.

Happy hunting!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Premiere Premiere: LA’s Historic District.

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How totally exciting! My first theatrically released feature premiered last Friday at the Downtown Independent. Red carpet and all!

Where to eat in LA’s Historic District?

Prior to pre-party cocktails, my adopted brother and I met at Baco Mercat.

The Moxie.
The Moxie from Baco Meracat.

I can’t recommend this place enough. It has kind of a hipster vibe which may or may not be for you, but the food is EXQUISITE. The ambiance is cool and breezy. There is an indoor and outdoor seating option, both cozy and relaxed. The acoustics are great in here so the talk levels are comfortable. This place is mostly known for  baco, a signature flatbread sandwich developed by chef Josef Centeno. The baco is yummy, but seriously,  ALL the food is SO good. Its a sharing menu kind of place- four plates/pair is perfect. This time we tried the spicy cauliflower (amazing), the brussel sprouts (amazing), the carne picada coca (amazing), and the hamachi crudo (you guessed it, amazing). They also have a great selection of specialty drinks. I sipped the Moxie; bourbon, cynar, lime juice, agave, mole bitters, which was delicious. Call for reservations or your wait will be long- however, its definitely worth the wait!

The Venue:

What a fun venue! Smack in the middle of the historic district of downtown LA, The Downtown Independent is known for hosting private screenings like ours, but apparently they also are available for weddings and other parties.

Story board artist, Owen, looking snazzy in his white tie. Tres chic en Vogue!
Story board artist, Owen, looking snazzy in his white tie. Tres chic en Vogue!

I loved hanging out and talking with everyone at the pre-screener, held in the theaters reception loby. Everyone looked super snazzy in their premiere attire. There was an open bar, including traditional movie theater candy and popcorn. Also available, non- traditional options like a “root beer” with 5% alcohol. Dangerously delicious!!

Yay Junior mints!
Yay Junior mints!

The concession crew was so nice and accommodating. I even got to go home with what was left of the popcorn, prepared by none other than Brazil, Indiana’s (home to Orville Redenbacher) Landon. I think he must have learned from Orville himself, because YUM. PERFECT ratio of salt to butter. Great work Landon! Interesting fact: popcorn doesn’t go stale- you can just reheat it in the oven at a low temp for a few minutes and BAM- its crunchy again!

The concession crew was super friendly and accommodating.
The concession crew was super friendly and accommodating. Here’s a picture of Landon explaining how to freshen up “stale” popcorn.
Movie_Popcorn
Is this not the biggest bag of popcorn you’ve ever seen??

The Film:

The film turned out amazing. I’m so proud of all of us. The story tracks, the graphics look incredible. I actually cried a little. Its a lot of work making a movie! I feel very proud and happy to have been a part of it. It will be a limited release at Alamo Draft House Theaters and NYC Comic Con in the fall. It will also air on Cartoon Network soon thereafter, followed by a DVD release with outtakes and fun bonus tracks. If anyones reading this- check it out!!! Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to making another movie soon.

Mordecai and Rigby silloutted by moonlight on the rooftop of the Downtown Independent.
Mordecai and Rigby silhouetted by the moonlight on the rooftop of the Downtown Independent. Even our characters got to have fun. 

After Party:

Following the film there was an after party on the rooftop of the theater. Music + Aussie Pies + excited crew members. Hurrah!

What to Wear to a movie premiere:  In the words of my fairy god mother, something “effortlessly chic”.

Walking the red carpet. This was much different than the Emmy’s, where your surrounded by press and a sea of celebrities. This felt more like a private party with a bunch of fun people you already know. Don’t get me wrong, the Emmys are amazing. But this party was really special.
Movie_YSL
I love the details of this bag.
Jaqui  Aiche ear cuff available via @styledbydanielleklein. Photo: @mekaeldawson 

Gown: Haute Hippie   Shoes: Stewart Weitzman “The Nudist”  Bag: YSL   Jewelry: Designed by Jaqui Aiche   Styled by: Danielle Klein

‘Til next time, xoxo

QJ

PS Heres a link to the trailer of our movie: Regular Show Movie

QJ

Angels in LA Continued: Outfit of the Day, bustling LA work wear

What to wear to work on a busy day in LA:

Dressing up for work can make a tough day seem more fun. Chanel wedges and Chocolate Toes. Is this not a  current day mantra to replace  Champagne wishes and Caviar Dreams? 

Office attire. Sometimes it just feels good to dress up for work.
Office attire. Sometimes it just feels good to dress up for work.
I'm obsessed with this happy little bag.
I’m obsessed with this happy little bag.

Skirt: ALC    Wedges: Chanel   Pair with a black tank, black silk and leather cropped jacket.  I added a pop of color with my favorite Fendi hot pink handbag. For purchasing information contact @styledbydanielleklein and/or Saks

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Are there any Angels in the City of Angels?

StuckInLA

The other day I was driving home from work and, fancy that, I was cut off by a car that was crossing six lanes from the left to the right in order to get on the freeway. HOOOOONK! My thought “what the he….” was rudely interrupted by a blatant horn. I look to my right and this woman in a dilapidated Honda rolls down her window and starts talking. Now, over the years here I’ve learned rolling down your window to hear someone yell at you is a really bad idea. But, for some reason, like a naive country bumpkin from the mid west, I roll my window down. And I’m so glad I did. The woman yelling at me was not reprimanding or condescending. She was loudly asking “did you need to get on the freeway?” “Yes,” I responded “Did you see that man cut me off?” “Yes, honey. How RUDE! Go on ahead of me, I’ll let you in”.

Bless this woman’s heart. What a great reminder that there are truly some good people in this world and some of them DO live in Los Angeles. Maybe there’s a lot more angels here in the City Of Angels than we know. I think its time to start focusing more on good people, and stop wasting our time donating even one more ounce of energy to the negative ones. In the words of a wise friend:

BurningBridges
I just love this quote from Paper Epiphanies.

LA can feel like a tough city. So much commotion. Bottleneck traffic. Everyone in a hurry to get nowhere and do nothing. Delusions of grandeur and self entitlement all around. Its not like the south. When I lived in Austin everyone was legitimately friendly. Here in LA no one thinks your crazy if you smile at them, but its certainly hard to find people that show their real selves above the 7th layer of their epidermis.

On the flip side, LA is an amazing land of opportunity. One can re-invent themselves as often as they like. The city is so disjointed that if you get sick of one area you can move to another and its tabula rasa. The weather is incredible. There is so much to do, indoors and out. Its a polyglot community full of vast cultures and sensitivities and yes, somewhere in the dark (or not so dark) corner of someplace, each and every one of us Angeleans eventually find some wonderful friends. If your new here- don’t give up!

Sunset
Sunset over Abbott Kinney, Venice Beach.
Why not? This girl is reinventing herself. LA is for all types.
Why not? This girl is reinventing herself. LA is for all types.

I guess one can find angels anywhere, often in the most unlikely places and in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes YOUR “angel” may be someone else’s “crazy”, and that’s ok. Here’s a collage of photos of two of my favorite Angels:

myAngels

xoxo

QJ

PS. I’m so excited I’ve discovered the way to change text colors! Advancement in blogging. Yay!

QJ

The Red O Santa Monica Vs The Red O Hollywood

Merlot

My last blog was a lot of food talk. And on that note…… last Tuesday a group of us went out to celebrate my friend’s birthday at the new location of Red O in Santa Monica. I’ve eaten at the one in Hollywood on Melrose (its fabulous) so was excited to try out the its new sister in SaMo. Lets compare…..

What to wear:

Ok so for this SaMo location I was totally over dressed. The location in Hollywood is sexy, dark, boudoir-y meets Casablanca. Cocktail attire is a bit much but could pass if you want to be one of those “I always over-dress” people. The SaMo location, however, is totally chill. Not sexy at all. Much more casually elegant. Business casual would have been great.

I wore my clover canyon pencil skirt with a black tank, thin leather jacket and black strappy heels. It would have been much more appropriate if I had dressed like my friends in jeans and a nice top.

I was definitely overdressed. Jeans and a tank would have been better.

What to order:

The wine is AMAZING at both locations. I had a fantastic Malbec. And the serving sizes are generous. The price wasn’t too high either. The cocktails looked pretty at the SaMo location but I was sticking with wine. The cocktails at the Hollywood/Melrose location were fantastic- and generous like the wine was here.

Appetizers at both locations are out of this world. Honestly, in my opinion, stick to the appetizers and your going to love both places. The guac is fantastic as are both salsas. The chips are thin and crispy, perfectly salted and not too greasy. At the Hollywood location I adored the mushroom tacos. At SaMo we all loved the Ahi taquitos.

Main course. I have to sadly say I was a little underwhelmed with my main course at the Red O in SaMo. In their defense I DID change the plate with substitutions. I ordered the scallops, but instead of pasta I had them put them on a bed of their asparagus. The asparagus was good, but nothing to write home about. Same with the scallops. They were sweet and the texture was perfect but the flavor was a bit bland. The lamb and the lobster enchiladas looked amazing and my friends seemed happy with them. The beans and rice- fantastic. The dinners I have had at the Melrose location were all fantastic. So maybe the trick here is to not substitute and when you eat here figure its a “Titanic day”.

Delicious.
Delicious.

Dessert. Churros y Chocolate. Um. YUM. Ok so you can’t really beat the ones at Disneyland – so I thought. These looked ridiculous on the plate but they were FANTASTIC. The churros themselves were decent. Not too greasy and the cinnamon sugar was perfectly balanced. They came with a Kahlua and a spicy chocolate dipping sauce.  Not gonna lie- I do feel the churro was just a vehicle for the chocolate and Kahlua.  I was tempted to pick up a spoon and just eat the sauces by themselves. Hee hee. And maybe I did 😉  I haven’t had dessert at the Red O on Melrose, but my guess is its spectacular.

Ambiance:

As I said, the Melrose location feels like a vacation to Morocco or just somewhere that’s NOT LA. Its a little Oasis of foreign in a huge sea of Los Angeles, a  nice little escape. The lighting is moody. Big plants and planters all around. Nicely dressed people. It feels very sexy. Areas are compartmentalized at this location, which adds to the mystery vibe of the place and also helps contain the volume of talking to a decent level. No issues hearing the people with whom you are eating.

The SaMo location is very relaxed. The layout is nice and cozy. Theres a huge window in the front, displaying a fantastic view of Palisades Park and the Ocean. The seats are very comfortable. The booth seats are adorned with lush pillows that are very cozy. Its fairly loud at the SaMo location- which means you have to sit closer to your date. This is great if you really like who your with. Otherwise, learn sign language before you come here.

The interior of Red O SaMo is casual and relaxed.
The interior of Red O SaMo is casual and relaxed.

Overall I like the ambiance and main courses better at the Red O in Hollywood/Melrose. But if you live close to SaMo, the Red O Santa Monica  is a casual, fun spot with  yummy drinks, appetizers and dessert, and a great view of the ocean.

Bon Appétit!

QJ

QJ

Lessons From The Titanic (the original, not the movie)

Nothing like a home cooked meal straight from the kitchen of The Balboa Bay Beach Club. Ha ha. Why does food always taste best when you don't cook it yourself?
Nothing like a home cooked meal straight from the kitchen of The Balboa Bay Beach Club. Ha ha. Why does food always taste best when you don’t cook it yourself?

All week I have been craving comfort food. Spaghetti with meat balls, macaroni and cheese, oatmeal raisin cookies. Yum! It made me think for a minute. I mean when we’re younger we are able to just eat whatever we want- add a little more cardio and BAM those extra calories are just gone. It seems (and unfortunately is scientifically proven)  that once we hit about 35, shifts in hormones cause our metabolism to slow down. All of a sudden one extra macaroni noodle can add an ounce of fat onto each thigh. Not to worry my young padawans, I’m going to share a list I’ve created  over the week that may help curb the cravings.

  1. Sip hot tea or coffee.
  2. Visit a friend in a near- by cubicle. Tell them you need a little break, ask them how they are doing and just listen to them. Sometimes getting your mind off of the craving (or whatever is causing it- see #4) miraculously causes it to disappear.
  3. Most cliche but smart- keep healthy snacks by your desk at work. Nuts are great. I know, I know- eating a serving of nuts (like five nuts) is almost pointless to satiate an appetite. BUT, I promise you- eat them slowly and add a few apple slices and its like apple pie. Heat the apple up in the microwave and chop the nuts over it. Yum. Eat it slowly and really enjoy it- don’t just eat it while reading something on line. I think speed and paying attention/enjoying the food is key.
  4. Probably the most important;  therapist Caroline Madden, MFT suggests asking yourself  “what is the root of the craving? Is it hormonal? Is it psychological?” I can see an advantage to thinking about the root here. Don’t over think it. “If its two days before that time of the month” Caroline says, “then it makes sense your craving chocolate.” If its psychological, #2 will work well for you. If you haven’t eaten in five hours, and your last meal was a piece of lettuce you may actually just be hungry- in which case #1 and/or #3 can help to hold you over until you can eat a real meal.

On the flip side, life is short. In the words of my adorable mother (who I believe was misquoting Erma Bombeck) “The women on the titanic should have had dessert”.  Moderation is really the key here. Have some chocolate or cookies or pasta. Just don’t do it every day and don’t eat two pounds of it. If you are craving something that badly, decide if this is the day you want to have that bite. If it is, savor it and enjoy it. Seize the day!

Worth it.
Sprinkles Cupcakes!! Worth it.

PS  According to my trainer, Josh Landis, working out regularly can slow down hormonal shifts and help us stay in shape as we age. He’s great- feel free to refer to his blog for articles and workout ideas- Landismovementsystems 

If anyone is reading this and has other suggestions- please share. 🙂

Have a fantastic weekend!

QJ

QJ