Archive for the ‘Products’ Category

So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Over the last several years, I have amassed a growing collection of great fashion books.  Some are truly spectacular (Thanks Deb for the gorgeous Alexander McQueen book and  Sally for the beautiful Yves Saint Laurent one) and others are more pedestrian.  Over the summer, I had the opportunity to browse in the mecca of all bookstores, Powell’s in Portland, OR.  This truly is the mother ship of all bookstores!  It is so massive, check out the map to help navigate it’s many nooks and crannies:

Map of Powell's book store

My daughter, a self proclaimed bibliophile, was in heaven!  I had never seen a larger collection of fashion books in my life.  I wanted to bring a sleeping bag and stay the night.

Powell's

Anyway, I digress … while at Powell’s I was able to peruse and buy some books I had my eye on.  The first one I read was by Nina Garcia, of Project Runway fame, called The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own.

Nina Garcia book

I’m always a little hesitant about books that tell you what to wear.  I don’t like the MUST OWN command, it just sounds so mean.  Which if you watch PR you know that Nina can indeed be mean!  I must say that this book was entertaining, informative and easy to read.  One of the best parts of the book was the illustrations; they were amazing!  I love Ruben Toledo’s fashion illustrations, and this book had them on every page.  I am a huge fan and never tire of his art.  Garcia knows what she’s talking about as a fashion editor of Marie Claire and formerly of Elle magazines.  In addition to the beautiful pictures, Nina goes on to explain the history of an item, if that is pertinent, like in the case of the pearl necklace.  It tells you how Jacques Cartier traded a double strand of cultured pearls for the Manhattan store bearing his name in 1916, or that the fake strand of pearls Jackie O paid $80 for, sold at auction for $211,500 in 1996.  I was happy that I could  take credit for owning roughly 75- 80% of her top 100 must have items… not to bad at all.  I’ve made it this far with out a bikini and Minnetonka moccasins and haven’t suffered too much.  This is a great book whether fashion is your thing or not.  What fashion books, if any, are on your shelf???  The book can be purchased at ninagarcia.com.  Enjoy!

Rubin Toledo picture

 

 

Lesley Evers Warehouse sale!

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

One of my favorite designers is having a warehouse sale starting on Wednesday, and I’m pretty excited!  Lesley Evers is a local Oakland designer of both clothing and wonderful fabrics, and I’m not sure which I love more!  They opened a lovely store on College Ave. in Rockridge, and their second store is in Lafayette, where the sale is taking place.  Come and check them out, even if you can’t make it to the sale …

See ‘ya there!

 

Lesley Evers sale

CA89, a Must-shop Stop in Truckee!

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

If you have any plans to be up in Tahoe this summer (or anytime) you have to stop in at CA89, in old town Truckee.  CA89 is the brain child of Lisa Gotts, an Oakland resident and long time Truckee homeowner and fan.  Lisa has been skiing here for many years and was a ski instructor at Squaw Valley.  She worked for Sunset magazine most recently in advertising sales and other notable magazines like Outside, Vogue and Elle.  CA89 is the next step in her professional ascent.  Jason Spruit is the uber- capable Store Manager and just relocated to Truckee from Detroit.

Out front of CA89

Out front of CA89

CA89 is an iconic stretch of road in eastern California that is well known and well loved.  Lisa developed a logoed brand of merchandise based on that scenic highway.   According to Lisa Gotts, not many stores locally focus on apparel and lifestyle goods that highlight the Sierra life. Her store’s apparel ranges from t-shirts and hoodies to dry-fit shirts and outerwear. Along with clothing they also have a wide selection of accessories such as pint glasses, notebooks, key chains, and hats/beanies.  The store opened earlier this year to much anticipation and fanfare.  CA89 is located at  10156 Donner Pass Road in the Brickeltown part of old Truckee.  It’s across from the train depot, still operating, in a historic, charming old building.  The modern fixtures and black and white color scheme meld perfectly with the old exposed brick inside the space.  Lisa’s keen design aesthetic is clearly on view in the store.

Inside CA89

Inside CA89

In addition to the great retail space, CA89 has a great mobile retail store in the form of their panel truck.  It was great to see it roll down the street as part of the annual Truckee 4th of July parade!  The CA89 crew can take their truck to all the different events around the Tahoe basin, like concerts, triathalons, art & wine festivals and much more.   It really shows how may different ways you can promote and market your brand.

The CA89 truck!

The CA89 truck!

In addition to the regular store hours, CA89 invites the community to summer movie nights on the lawn in the back of the store.  They show outdoor movies (bring a low back chair and $2) every Thursday and Saturday night at dusk.  No worries, there will be plenty of popcorn to go around!  There is also a yoga class every Thursday from 4:30- 5:45pm and it’s $10 for the class.  This is offered in conjunction with Yoga Studio Tahoe.

CA89 #4

 

 

 

 

 

 

CA89 #5

 

 

 

 

 

So if your summer or winter plans include Tahoe, make sure you stop in to CA 89 and tell Lisa and her crew I sent you!  Summer hours are 10-6pm daily.  Don’t forget to “like” CA89 on Facebook…  Happy summer everyone!

CA89 #6

 

 

 

Mycra Pac warehouse sale!

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Mycra Pac is one of those smaller bay area companies whose styles are instantly recognizable, yet they remain under the radar.  Mycra Pac is a manufacturer of cool designer rain wear and they are located right here in Moraga, CA.  Nordstrom carries a wide range of styles and colors in all of their stores.  One of the things I like best about these raincoats is that they’re so packable and come with their own little pouch that doubles as a handbag.  They are designed and made in the USA and have hoods that are perfect if you have no umbrella and they don’t mess up your hair!  Oh, as if that wasn’t enough, they’re reversible!

Reversible Mycra Pac rain coat

Reversible Mycra Pac rain coat

Mycra Pac has a yearly warehouse sale at their offices in Moraga, and it starts WEDNESDAY, June 12th continuing through TUESDAY June 18th.  This needs to make it on your calendar!  Women wait all year for this sale, so it does get pretty crowded.  People start lining up early.  As with most warehouse sales, they don’t put everything out on the first day, so I’m sure each day will have new merchandise.  See you at the sale!

Mycra Pac sale 6-12-13

It’s CAMPER season

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Ok, I admit I used the word camper to get your attention.  Most people either LOVE or HATE anything to do with camping.  Having spent the better part of my childhhood in campgrounds up and down the eastern seaboard, our family loved camping.  Well, this post has nothing whatsoever to do with camping, but with a Spanish shoe brand called CAMPER!  Fooled ya…

As a stylist, almost every client I encounter has a “foot issue”.  It’s usually shared in hushed tones, with head down and a slightly embarassed demeanor.  Hammer toes, neuromas, plantar fasciitis, bunions, and on and on.  I have news for you…EVERYONE (over the age of 35) has a “foot issue”.  Camper shoes are so fun, cool, european inspired, that even with “issues”, they are great shoes.  Here’s the one I just bought ( and bought for 2 different clients):

Camper "Beetle" sandal

Camper “Beetle” sandal

 

I loved the color, the hieght and the dual closures.  This is an incredibly comfortable shoe.  I can walk miles in it and it’s perfect for your European trip this summer (or anywhere you’ll be walking a lot).  They are incredibly light if you’re taking a carry on.  You can loosen one or both sides, as your feet swell or expand.  Here’s another one I like:

"Twins" Camper sandal

“Twins” Camper sandal

I love the use of the three colors, but each shoe is slightly different.  The pair below is a collaboration between designer Veronique Branquinho and the Camper brand.  Notice that this is a full fledged wedge with almost no rise at all…they are almost flat!

"Veronique" Camper sandal

“Veronique” Camper sandal

I didn’t forget the guys, Camper has great men’s styles as well.  Camper originated in Mallorca, Spain in 1975 and opened their first store in Barcelona in 1981.  Today the brand has over 300 stores worldwide and 10+ in the bay area.  VOILA, no more “foot issues”.

For more information and store locations www.camper.com.

 

 

 

Trend spotting in D.C.

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

I just returned from 5 days in Washington D.C.  I love being in another city and observing how people dress or accessorize differently (or the same sometimes) from the bay area.  Other than being floored by how many young 20-somethings smoked cigarettes, I was also struck by one other popular trend.  Many of the women in D.C., young and old alike, were carrying the “Le Pliage” tote bag by French luxury purveyor Longchamp.  I was surprised by this revelation, as I don’t see them nearly as often here in San Francisco.  You’ve seen this bag, even if you think you haven’t.  They’ve been around a long time and come in many colors and a few different sizes.  You can even customize them on the website…

Le Pliage tote

 

 

You can fold it up when travelling or when storing it, and it snaps closed securely.  Why this is a trend in our nation’s capitol is a mystery to me!  Any ideas…???

Since I am originally from the east coast and have been to D.C. many times, I have seen the vast majority of monuments, museums, and attractions.  I thought this time I would go to a few less visited places.  I ended up at the Museum of Textiles…yes, you read that right.  I am one of those fashion nerds that seek out museums that celebrate period dress, textiles, costume, etc.  This was a lovely museum off Dupont Circle amidst the beautiful embassy residences.  I also really enjoy museum stores.  The assortments are really well thought out and unique, and the merchandising is imaginative, given their small spaces.  The Textile Museum store was postage- stamp small with a wonderful array of interesting merchandise.  I found these pins by a designer in Toronto, named Cynthia Villegas and she has a wonderful website www.ladymosquito.ca .  She is Peruvian and her creations made from heavy felt are so cool!  She also has the most awesome necklaces and other accessories, check them out!

Can you LOVE a pair of shoes???

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

I recently celebrated a milestone birthday.  I had a wonderful party with most of my besties in attendance and had an amazing evening!   At the end of the party,  I opened gifts from my pals.  The last gift was handed to me…I unwrapped it and underneath the wrapping paper, was a Manolo Blahnik box… OMG these couldn’t be mine!  After a little hesitation I opened the box… only to find the pictured red Converse sneakers!!!

The joke was on ME!!!  I was then handed another similarly shaped box to unwrap.  This time, the box read  Jimmy ChooOK, what did this box contain, a cute pair of Haviana flip flops???   I was ready for the prank this time.  I lifted off the lid to find THESE shoes…

My new Jimmy Choos!

My jaw dropped open and a look of utter disbelief spread across my face.   These are by far the most beautiful and extravagant shoes I own!  Many of my girlfriends chipped in to buy me these gorgeous shoes for my birthday.

 

My surprised face!

 

This begs the question, can you actually LOVE a pair of shoes, handbag or article of clothing?  I guess it’s not so much love that you feel, but maybe admiration is a better word.  The leather, the workmanship and the sheer beauty of the shoes is incredible!   I have looked at these shoes non stop over the last few weeks and imagined all of the great places I’ll wear them!  Getting older certainly has it’s benefits!!!

Resolutions revisited…

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

New Years Eve has come and gone, the kids are back at school and we are left with our semi -realistic resolutions to grapple with.  I’m not sure why we make resolutions in the first place, but I’m as guilty as the next guy of making them and trying to keep them.  At the top of the list of New Years resolutions, is always the “lose weight/get in shape/ exercise more” variety.  With obesity rates skyrocketing in this country, it’s a noble goal for many.  For those of us not battling the bulge, so much as the slowly expanding midsection, I have a great product!

Much more slimming with the Booty Wrap!

Kathy Kramer started with a brainchild called the “Invisibelt”, a belt meant to smooth out the button or snap front of pants or jeans.  Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to review that product in the future.  Anyway, Kathy is truly a mother of invention.  Her newest invention is the “Booty Wrap”.  I LOVE this product!  The Booty Wrap is and piece of fabric that can be tied around your waist like a sweater or sweatshirt without the bulk or heft.  The best part is the pockets sewn in to it, that allows you to leave the house without a handbag.  The pockets can be used for credit cards, cash, cell phone, keys, etc.  The amazing part is that the Booty Wrap is actually SLIMMING and hides your behind!

 

A few months ago, I was going for a walk/hike with a friend.  She was wearing a Booty Wrap and I asked her about it.  It was perfect for stowing the few things she had to carry.  I have to say, I have been using mine for the gym, going to yoga and for walking/hiking.  I chose black and it goes with everything.  I’m going to buy a white or light colored Booty Wrap for the summer so that I can wear it with tennis clothes or to the beach/pool!  I’m a real sucker for a product that results from a need or just plain great idea, and Booty Wrap is it!  Keep it up Kathy!!!

For all you last minute “gifters”

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

You are down to the wire…it’s Christmas Eve and you don’t have gifts for all of the people on your list.  Although you vow not to let this happen yet again, here it is and you’re in the same place you were last Christmas Eve.  I have some suggestions that will help you put the ‘jolly” back in “holly, jolly Christmas”.

Giftcards are always a great option for the last minute shoppers.  EVERY major chain of grocery and drug stores has a kiosk of gift cards.  While this is certainly one option, giving the gift of a service or class is also a great gift.  What about a gift certificate for house cleaning for the busy mom, or elderly relative?  What about a gift certificate for a massage for the sports enthusiast, or a yoga class voucher for the stressed out business person?  What about a gift certificate for flowers from your favorite flower shop for a friend or relative on a tight budget?   A personal organizer for the family getting ready to move or move in.   I just sent out a gift certificate for my personal shopping services to a man who is surprising his wife and 2 daughters with their own version of “What not to wear”!  In many cases you are also giving your dollars to locally owned and operated businesses.  The ideas abound for services as gifts…

Memberships are also a favorite gift of mine.  Many people would love to get a museum or zoo membership.  Lots of moms with young children would adore getting a membership to a kids’ museum or attraction.   In this same vein, tickets to an event, that the recipient would enjoy is always welcome.  Tickets are a great way to enjoy the gift of time with a loved one, especially if they choose to bring you!    Opera, the symphony, Broadway, concerts, comedy, take your pick.

The most economical gift you can give is your time, experience or expertise.  What about a voucher for babysitting?  What parent of young children would not JUMP at the prospect of free babysitting?   What about manual labor in a loved one’s garden or around the house?  What about cooking for a stressed- out family or lonely elder…even better if you offer your company as well.

Lastly, making a donation to the charity or non-profit close to the recipients’  heart is a “can’t miss” gift.  We all have organizations that are important to us for one or many reasons.  A donation in their name or a loved one who’s passed on , can mean so much.

Thank you for reading and following my blog this year.  I‘m wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy 2012!!!

 

Holiday gifting made easy!

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

If you’re like me, you will have started out the gift giving season strong and organized.  Much like running a marathon, you’re quick off the starting line, but then you hit the “wall”.  You start to panic, and the decision making abilities you thought you possessed are suddenly gone.  I have a few quick and easy gift ideas to help you enjoy the holidays rather than stress about them.

My first gift suggestion is a great one because it’s a “unisex” gift…great for both men and women.  It’s called a Slapwatch and I LOVE them!  They are fun, colorful, has an easy -to -see face and is reasonably priced.  They are a straight piece of plastic that curves around your wrist when “slapped” on.   The face pops out and can be inserted into a different colored band.  At around  $18 – $20 per watch, it doesn’t break the bank!

The other product I LOVE is the POCH (I, II, III, IV).  They are little rubber change purses, clutches, eyeglass holders and cell phone cases.  These are so cute and are imported from Japan.  Unfortunately, you can’t order them online yet, but I’m sure that’s coming.  They too, come in fun, bright colors that retail for around $10- $20 dollars.  This has been my “go-to” gift for many of my friends’ birthdays recently!

Both of these products are available at Pelago on Medau Place in Montclair village in Oakland, (510)339-7090. Pelago is one of my favorite stores for every kind of gift imaginable.  Owners and buyers, Mark Wallaert and Bill Fidrych, have impeccable taste.  It will take you more than one go round before you see everything in the store.  They have a knack for getting a lot of different products into a small space, and merchandising it beautifully.  They also do complimentary gift wrapping which I totally appreciate during this crazy season!

Stay tuned for more fun and easy holiday gift ideas!