I don’t miss much about living in the mid west but I can admit that I do miss the one week in Autumn when the beautifully colored leaves paint the sky, reflecting water-color like portraits onto the lakes. Air that is crisp and fresh but not bone chilling, bracing just enough to rejuvenate the soul.
The Pacific Palisades Pumpkin Patch:
This year is the first time in FOREVER that I have gone to a real pumpkin patch. Well, as real as one can find in Los Angeles. With a backdrop of trees and hills and the glorious sounds of children laughing, the YMCA Pumpkin Patch in the Pacific Palisades most definitely delivered. There was a maize maze – albeit a short one (but who can complain? It was the perfect height for my inner child :)), hay bundles with scare crows, faux spiderwebs, and, most importantly, a brilliant selection of pumpkins!
What to wear to the Pumpkin Patch:
I took this opportunity to break out my new favorite fall pieces, recently delivered by Danielle. The sweater is the ideal weight for a cooler day in Autumn or any day in an LA winter (yes, it does get cold here). The high waisted feminine flow-y skirt is so comfortable and will look cute with crops and regular length tops. I love how these five pieces can be re-arranged with other basics in my wardrobe in order to create a zillion different ensambles. They are the perfect statement pieces for Fall.
I have to admit, BD (that’s Before Danielle) I would have never thought to wear this to a pumpkin patch. I think going in cute jeans and a fun T or even a halloween costume would also be acceptable. Definitely lower shoes or booties. But it was a great excuse to wear my new items. Thanks Saks!
Finishing the Pumpkin:
MSM and I learned a very important lesson today at the pumpkin patch. Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are NOT, I repeat, NOT baking pumpkins! hahaha. Though most pumpkin patches ALSO sell baking pumpkins, make sure you get the correct pumpkin for your needs 🙂
The word “foolproof” is in this recipe title. Click the link in case you want to try and bake your Jack-o-lantern: Foolproof Pumpkin Pie.
In memory of Autumn:
I’d like to dedicate this post to Autumn Radtke. Ironically I met Autumn at a Summer BBQ in Beverly Hills held at the Sharon Tate Estate, home of the Manson Murders. Though the party itself was festive and bright, theres just something so eerie about the estate.
Autumn and I bonded over her adorable bull dog and our common zest for life. Though very slender, she was Rubenesque and completely unaffected or possibly unaware of her beauty. She was a cosmopolitan xenophile advanced beyond her 24 years. Her courageous sense of ambition was contagious. It was one of those moments that I’ve mentioned before, where you never know how much one person can affect another – even in the most random and slightest way.
Over the years Autumn and I would sometimes touch base via Facebook, particularly around Halloween- she was an avid fan of costuming. I hadn’t heard from her for a long time so I decided to check in on her page and was horrified to find that she has passed away. Too young to be taken, may her soul revisit the earth via the winds of her namesake, inspiring all of us to live life to the fullest!
Season 7 of my show has wrapped, and season 8 does not start for a minute so I’m currently technically off work. This doesn’t happen often so in attempt to embrace every moment of my freedom of time (a hot and rare commodity) I proactively wrote a list of local things I would LOVE to do, but am always too busy to enjoy. For the first ten days of my break I signed up for a morning ballet intensive. I left the afternoons to peruse the list and either imbibe in an adventure or relax on the sofa/at the beach/at a cafe and dive into a book.
Its day#4 of the ballet intensive and it has been rigorous, challenging, and FANTASTIC. I’ve already noticed improvement and I still have six more days to go! That being said, the four hours of dance, resistance training, and cardio definitely takes a lot out of us dancers, so I’ve mostly been relaxing after “camp”. Oddly I was less tired today than the previous three days (my body is adapting?) so I decided to begin my Los Angeles Adventure. What better way to get one’s mind off an achy body than a visit to the Chanel Boutique? Especially if your a lover of fashion!
I’ve lived in Southern California for 15 years and Los Angeles for something like 5 and I’ve never been to Rodeo Drive, let alone Chanel (a blessing from above for my wallet, I’m sure). As I drove the convoluted Mulholland Drive to my destination, I turned up the tunes and rolled down the window to feel the wind in my hair. I began to truly celebrate my new found freedom from schedules and deadlines.
Relaxed and happy, I pulled into the Chanel driveway. There is valet and no charge! Happy day because a. I hate finding parking in LA and b. do I ever carry cash? (answer: no). Upon walking in the store I was pleasantly greeted but no pushiness. Also, surprisingly, no attitude. I say this because I have been to other high end boutiques inside department stores (I wont mention names), and the sales people have been not so friendly/a bit uppity. Not true of Chanel. It was welcoming, light, and perfectly decorated with their own bags. Every bag is gorgeous and, as we know, well made. How one can make a choice I have no idea. Honestly, I can see why if you can afford it, you’d own one of each style and then some fashion bags and clutches. Downstairs was bags, jewelry, and makeup. Upstairs; clothes and shoes.
I first spent time with a sales associate named Gabby. I explained to her that I have a big birthday coming up, and I would like to invest in a Chanel handbag. Gabby was such a dear; at my request she took the time to explain the differences between and the history of each bag category.
Fashion bags are released every season and are a variation of the classics. Today I saw this charming pink velvet one that reflected the light oh so beautifully….it was really hard to walk away…..
The Boy Bag, fairly recently designed by Karl Lagerfeld, is considered a more “edgy” piece for the modern woman. This bag is square in shape and has chunky hardware.
The Classic, designed by Karl Lagerfeld in the 1980’s, is an updated version of Coco Chanel’s original handbag. Its intertwined chain and leather strap and famous CC lock and closures are indicative to this piece.
The 2.55 is Coco’s original design. This piece, first released in February 1955 (hence the 2.55) is deeply quilted with history. The interior burgundy flap represents the catholic school uniforms that Coco wore in the orphanage. The strap is made from the same metal the chains on which the nuns at her orphanage carried their keys. Coco was an avid tipper and preferred to have cash handy, so she designed a pocket on the back for tip money. There’s also a special pocket to hold lipstick (love!) and a “secret” pocket where Coco hid her love letters.The 2.55 dons a simple square clasp with the name Chanel embossed at the bottom. During an era when small hand-held bags were in fashion, Chanel’s design was the first handbag ever produced that could also be carried on the shoulder. The creation of Coco’s original was monumental to her. Each piece of history rooted into the bag was her way of saying “I’ve made it, but I will never forget from where I’ve come”. I hope that when purchased, the modern woman carrying her new Chanel also remembers from where she’s come. That the bag represents to her, and solely her, that she’s “made it” to a point that she can afford one of these beauties!
After learning the history of the bags, and trying many on in order to narrow down my birthday bag selection (wasn’t purchased yet, but, like a few of us- and you know who you are :), I’ve been saving up), I visited the second floor.
The Second Floor:
Here, I kid you not, I felt I died and went to heaven. The Shoe section! A square room with sliding mirrors and the most beautiful babies you’ve ever seen. There was a pair of grey textured booties that were beyond! And a pair of velvet oxfords I actually liked, and the classic black tipped nude with a chunk heel which was all over the runway and I’m currently obsessing over! I’m simultaneously surprised and relieved that I left empty handed!
The other two thirds of the top floor was dedicated to clothing. All gorgeous, as expected. I fell for a jacket and this amazing grey sweater. Something to dream about :).
I adore what I know about Coco. She was brave, non-abdicating, wise, and ambitious, and she seemed to treat everyone with respect and equality (Why didn’t I include her in my life&style role models???!) When I finally buy my bag, I will not only use it as a reminder regarding where I’m from, but I’ll carry it with pride to keep Coco’s spirit alive.
What to Wear:
In case your wondering what the heck to wear on Rodeo Drive, the following ensamble is what I put together for my visit. I felt comfortable and I think Danielle would be proud.
The love of my boots helped me feel good about leaving the lovely Chanel beauties behind. Success!
With my birthday just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about how all the teachers I had in grade school were probably right around the age I am right now (back then I thought they were “ancient”, by the way) .
Its crazy to think that Miss Bojack and Mr. Cross had a life after 4pm. They probably had families to go home to, friends to drink wine with. I wouldn’t have believed they had anything on their minds other than fractions and Watership Down. I think I thought they were just animated statues that stayed at school forever.
With all this in mind, I’ve been wondering what one can do to nourish the soul and maintain the spirit of youth. How can we hold onto that vibe of childhood magic?
Here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Exercise the imagination: Imagination is like a muscle in humans. If not used, it gets weak- but don’t fret, its not lost because of a wonderful thing called muscle memory.
a. Partake in the arts. If you happen to be crafty or artistic this one is easy. Make a clay pot and glaze it, paint a landscape or portrait (canvases aren’t expensive at Michaels), art- design a party environment. If you aren’t particularly artistic, go to a museum and observe some paintings. What do you see in the painting? Can you make up a story that goes with it?
b. Play a childhood imagination game. My favorite is listening to music and writing a story that goes with the symphonic cadences. Also there’s the cloud game. Go for a hike but leave your phone at home- look around and observe what you see. Does anything look like something its not? Ex. Sometimes I think trees look like gigantic broccoli. You may feel silly doing this, but get over it. Just live and be. Don’t stifle your inner-child.
c. Read a good book. This doesn’t have to be complicated literature. Although reading Beowulf is great mental exercise, I’m talking about fun reads here ( aka “airplane reads”). Don’t cheat and see the movie. Instead make a movie in your head. Who are you casting as the main character? What does the world look like in the book? Really imagine it as you read. I just read Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Amazing. And guess what?! HBO and Reese Witherspoon are making it a TV mini-series. I can’t wait to see how different it is from the movie I made in my mind!
2. Pamper yourself: No matter how extroverted you are, its imperative to take some time to yourself and recharge the soul. An overextended/exhausted soul = an old one.
a. Take a spa day
b. Go for a long walk
c. Sit at a coffee shop and meditate.
d. Snuggle with a pet.
The goal here is to find some Zen time for mental and emotional relaxation. Be in the moment with nothing to do but breathe and observe. Can you imagine having a chunk of time where you are not thinking about where you have to be next or what you have to do? Even just a few minutes a day to refresh the soul, I’m certain, will add years of youth to your life.
I met a cheerful 93 year old woman at a Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago and we had a long wonderful conversation about life. She explained how everything seems to go in cycles; repeat after repeat. Friends come and go and most things are not forever. She explained its important to embrace and appreciate the now, but to let things go with ease as well. When one relationship ends it leaves the door open for another meaningful connection.
This woman was so happy-go-lucky and alive. I asked for her secret to maintaining such magnificent quality of life, and this is what she said:
a. “Maintain a good attitude. Find the silver linings. Dont sweat the small stuff, and everything is the small stuff.” (this seems to be a motif amongst the well preserved elderly).
b. “Take care of yourself and your body. The one thing that will be in your life forever is you.”
c. “Exercise your brain. Work, but only do what you love. If you start to hate your career, change it- its ok to do that. But keep learning and using your mind. I was a mother, a teacher, and now an accountant. I still do accounting, but I’m learning how to sew.” (do you love her already?)
d. “Every morning for the past 80 years I have followed a ritual. I get out of bed, I turn on my favorite upbeat happy song, and I dance around my room in my underwear.” This one is my favorite!
A zillion years ago my college roommate, Jennifer, and I were exhausted from the stress of mid-term exams. It was well after midnight yet we were still plugging away at our studies. Coffee in hand and pjs on, we sat at our desks reviewing overly- reviewed information. Suddenly pit pat pit pat and booooom. A thunderstorm! Jen looked at me and said “put down that coffee and come on!” Bewildered, I listened as she grabbed my hand and pulled me out the door. Chasing her down the hallway I asked “what are we doing?” “Come on!” she responded as the main entrance door swung open and she ran out. Not hesitating, I followed. We spun in the rain as she sang Singing in the Rain. We laughed and were soaked and it was AMAZING. I’m not sure if its the exercise or the serotonin released from the happy music or a combination of both, but I swear that dancing is the key to life.
As my birthday approaches, my goal for this next year is to practice living life with childlike enthusiasm and cheer. I double dog dare you to join me 😉
Before I talk about Van Halen, I want to discuss The Poncho. I’m very perplexed. Literally every single man I have ever known has told me that “ponchos are the worst article of women’s clothing in the history of time”- excluding Ugg Boots, which they also hate. I’m not worrying about Uggs because they look SO comfy and I would LOVE a pair (to wear around the house and outdoor movies). Hint hint for anyone reading this that may be wondering what to get me for my birthday ;). But I digress…..back to the poncho. Look how cute it looks:
So whats the verdict? Are they a Yay or a Nay?? Lets ask Danielle….
Ok, so…according to my fashion fairy godmother, here’s the scoop:
A poncho is a sheet of fabric with a hole for your head only. Ponchos only flatter the very tall very slender woman. Anyone height challenged like me should avoid the poncho. It will create a stocky illusion and make the wearer seem heavier than they probably are.
Capes (on the other hand):
A cape Danielle “Loves”! It is a must have for this fall’s wardrobe. A cape is different from a poncho in that it is open in the front. It creates a slender silhouette when worn belted or loosely.
A perfect place for a cape? The Hollywood bowl!
A few weeks ago MSM took me to see Van Halen at the Hollywood bowl. I’ve been wanting to see them in concert since I was 14 years old! Since ten years is a long time to wait ;), you can imagine the excitement I felt when he bought the tickets.
Eddie Van Halen is a guitar mastermind. He played as if he was still 20 years old. He rocked! David Lee Roth, bless his heart, has certainly lost a bit with age. His dancing was great- in fact, he gave the audience a little dance lesson (which they hated, but I, of course, loved). He shared some fun anecdotes about being a rock star in the 80s and about growing up in Los Angeles. His singing, um….lets just say he sounded like an old style Vegas crooner that spoke most of the song. I’m not sure if it was funny or disappointing or maybe a little bit of both. Van Halen would rock out a guitar riff and then once the singing started the song would just go down hill. I felt for Mr. Roth- it did seem a bit like live band Kareoke. Over all the show was so much fun. We danced. We laughed. We enjoyed the warm indian-summer breezes. Best of all, I had an excuse to wear these crazy leggings I got on The Outnet recently- which I dubbed my “David Lee Roth leggings” even prior to knowing about the show!
Until next time, keep on rocking. You mine as well jump!
Lets close our eyes for a moment and think; how many times have we gone to a party and everyone is wearing black? Don’t get me wrong. I love black. Black is the best! Its flattering at the least and slenderizing at the most. It goes with everything. It serves as a magnificent canvas to a brightly colored statement piece. The list goes on and on. But honestly, I tire sometimes of seeing a room filled with only black outfits. In offense, this past Saturday night I decidedly slipped into an eye catching LCD: Little Coral Dress.
One of my closest and dearest friends is very involved with Baby Buggy, Jessica Seinfeld’s non- profit organization dedicated to providing low income families with life essentials; equipment, products, clothing, and services for infants and children up to age 14. Saturday night was their 4th Annual Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament.
The event was held at a ridiculously elaborate, albeit beautiful, private estate in Beverly Hills. A FULL sized basketball court was hidden beneath the temporarily laid lawn where the party was centered. Apparently this happens in Los Angeles! Four restaurants set up food stations with samples of their finest selections. The selections were well chosen; tacos, pad thai, pizza, and dessert. I like that the food was down to earth, a nice complementary contrast to the environment. I believe the wine, specialty drinks, and food were also donated.
Prior to last Saturday I had never played poker. Nor had I ever worn a non-LBD to a party (I’m not counting any 7th grade bar/bat mitzvah attendances). It was a night of firsts, and full of merriment. The other party goers were all refreshingly gregarious and easy to talk with (mostly donned in black). This includes James Van Der Beek, who I mistook for someone I went to high school with.
Me: “I think I went to high school with that guy. Jean MaRiche” (named changed for story)
MSM: (*matter of fact) “Babe, that’s James Van Der Beek.”
Ha! Too funny.
At the end of the evening the grilled cheese truck showed up! It was a wonderful night full of fun surprises.
Click here if you are interested in reading more about or donating to Baby Buggy.
A common theme that seems to be running through this week: When we meet someone, whether its just for a moment or for a lasting friendship, we leave an impression. Make it a good one.
I’m talking beyond dress and attitude here. There’s some letter circulating on Facebook discussing this man’s run in with a young woman who happened to save his life just because she spoke to him. The sequence of events had deterred him from his plans of suicide, and pushed him to live a long wonderful life.
It sounds so easy, but we take for granted how much we can affect each other. Just opening a door for someone or complimenting something as seemingly insignificant as their socks may be the one thing that changes their outlook from bad to good, or good to great, and in some cases from suicidal to life-loving. It sounds crazy but its so true.
Here are my ten commandments of etiquette, in ascending order of importance. I feel these are great guidelines to staying classy and leaving good impressions:
10. Never divorce the salt and pepper. Always pass them together. Learned this in sorority and it just stuck.
9. Don’t ever use the phrase “you guys”. I learned this as a child while visiting family friend, Dutchesses Stefanie and Gabriela Von Pfetten of Vancouver. So this “rule” came directly from Royalty.
8. Don’t chew gum in public. Grandma.
7. Belief is half of being. Believe you already are who you want to be, and you soon will become. AKA Dress for the job you want, not for the one you have. AKA Its usually better to be over dressed than underdressed. AKA Think thin, it helps keep you from over eating. This actually works!
6. Always smile upon entering a room and/or greeting someone. It relaxes others and lifts the features of the face.
5. Youth is a gift. Don’t loose yours. Stay young at heart.
4. “Don’t mind the little things”. I learned this from La Femme Nikkita and my best friend, Charlotte. Pick your battles wisely. In the heat of the moment, smile and take a deep breath. Remind yourself you probably have more class in your pinky fingernail than whoever angered you has in their entire being. Repeat this mantra in your mind as you excuse yourself with polite banter; “I never did mind the little things. Excuse me.” Exit. You can plot your revenge later, in private ;).
3. Continue your education. Always find new things to learn; a new language, art form, anything. This will feed your soul, deter you from provinciality, and help you to understand other cultures. With knowledge comes understanding. Understanding acceptance. All which leads to kindness.
2. If you have nothing nice to say, stay quiet. Write it down later in your journal and then lock that baby up.
1. Do onto others as you would do onto yourself- but be even nicer, we are our own worst critics.
If you see an opportunity to help someone, take it. Put a little heaven on earth. Not just today. Every day. If we all followed that- wouldn’t this world be a nicer place?
For some reason, as the autumn wind gracefully escorts the salty scent of summer into the horizon, two things have been on my mind. 1. If I could bring anyone back from the dead, this week it would be Michael Jackson (I mean his music is just really universally good. I’m curious what else he would compose). 2. How the heck do you dress for these first month of “fall” in LA?
The vibe of the whole city is definitely Autumn. The Santa Ana Winds bring with them that je nais se quoi that is Fall. School busses lace the early morning freeways and one can sense the days shortening. The smell of Halloween is just around the corner. There’s just one problem. Its 102 degrees in the Valley and 97 at the Beach. Every year this confuses me.
In the Northern hemisphere the hottest months are supposed to occur during the Summer- late June-August, cooling off with the Autumnal Equinox (late September). So WHY is it so hot NOW instead of then?? OR, if the hottest months are actually supposed to be Sept through November then WHY is fall fashion full of hot boots, cashmere sweaters, and layers?? Are we supposed to wear shorts, tanks, rompers, and sundresses well into November here? I mean believe me, I am NOT complaining. I absolutely adore summer and the clothing that comes with it. But when I smell cinnamon in the air and the nights descend upon us at 5pm, my biological clock is telling me a. to eat apple fritters, and b. to pull out my favorite sweater. When does fall fashion really start to get its moment in Los Angeles?? I’m totally confused. Its technically fall, but the weather is screaming for summer clothes. Whats appropriate?
Danielle says that in these situations its best to wear the summer outfits with booties and maybe a thin sweater for nighttime, in case the air gets a bit chilly. Also trading in some pastel items for jewel tones or autumn tones if you can pull off burnt orange and khaki (not everyone can). Light weight midi skirts can work wonders in the heat.
Here are some examples I found on Pinterest:
If anyone out there is reading this, what are your thoughts on this subject?