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Charting the style of daily life...with the mouth of a sailor.

Fashion

Watch This

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Prediction: The wrist watch is making a comeback. But, did it ever really go away? I stopped wearing mine when my phone became permanently attached to my hand. I'm dusting off my old favorites and replacing batteries and am going to start re-incorporating them into my life.

A classic watch is a timeless (weird pun) accessory that can be a status symbol, add flare or color to your look or can be used as a conversation starter (or ender). It's definitely more elegant to glance at your wrist when asked for the time, rather than fumbling around in your handbag for your phone (yes, sometimes my phone is put away).

Not into the new(ish) Apple Watch or the like? Me either. Check out these stylish timepieces that will add classic elegance to your wrist forevermore. No operating system updates required.

 

Burberry Check Stamped Watch | Nixon The Time Teller | Tory Burch Buddy Signature Leather Wrap  

Shinola Gomelsky Square | Kate Spade Metro Somewhere | Michael Kors Bradshaw 

ps - My Nan always wore hers with the dial on the inside of her wrist. She always looked so chic (to me) when she'd glance at her watch... Excuse me while I go adopt a new habit.

The Five | Easter Essentials

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For me...

Pretty hats +  little girls in white gloves + nibbles of chocolate + sips of champagne  + my family's {intense} game of Pic-A-Me = the perfect celebration of Spring!

I'll be missing my sweet Nan this year, who was always the most beautiful, most elegant person to sit at our family table. I'll be wearing her signature Lily of the Valley scent in her honor...

xoxo

JDF

The Five | Where the F^@$ is Spring?

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Spring Break starts now. No, we're not going anywhere sunny but we are getting out of town for a few days. My plan involves a few meals at my favorite restaurant and not a whole lot else. I'm in a bit of a sour mood due to recent legislation in Indiana and the very un-Spring-like weather we've been [not] enjoying this week (and a week that started with doing my taxes and getting blood drawn --- I'm not sure what's worse). I'm bound and determined to turn my mood around so here are some of the bright spots from the past few days.

* Little League is starting back up and I'm really excited to see my oldest on the field again. He's certainly no slugger but there are valuable lessons to be learned from participating in team sports and he needs to learn them. And seriously, watching little kids try to field is hysterical. #letsplaytwo

 

* My sibs and I threw a little birthday lunch for our mother (she loved it) and I finally got to use my Oh Joy for Target party paraphernalia. This was my Mum's first birthday after losing her mother (my sweet and sorely missed Nan) and we wanted to make sure she was the sole focus of our get-together. Thus, we opted for lunch at her favorite Chinese resto, when we could easily pull it off without 73 little kids making the meal all about them. #surprise!

 

* After moving into our new house, we started hearing the beautiful, haunting sounds of an owl at random times throughout the day. After a few conversations with neighbors, we discovered there are two of them and they spend most of their time in the pine trees in our backyard! My husband managed to capture some awesome pictures of them this week. #hootyhoot

* My skinny-ass brows (I also have skinny ankles and wrists, but that's about it) are always in need of a product or two and after testing quite a few (so, so many, really) of the latest and {not so} greatest brow mascaras, I've settled on an absolute fave: L'Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper. The formula is a great consistency and the triangle spooly brush is the perfect size to offer precion AND proper coverage. Bonus: It's under 10 bones. #cheapthrills

 

* Mint has been my color of choice for the last few months and the feeling is only increasing as summer gets closer. Whenever I get hooked on a color, I get dangerously close to accidentally dressing head to toe in it. To prevent that nonsense, I'm having fun experimenting with complimentary hues that make mint pop. #mintyfresh

If you happen to be enjoying an actual Spring Break this year, please have a cocktail (or five) on the beach for me!

K, bye.

 

The French Style Secret

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I'm not French (obvi). No amount of willing it to be so won't change this fact - believe me, I've tried. But that doesn't stop me from trying to learn the elusive style secrets of the legendarily chic French woman. I'm a sucker for style books in general but even more so for those of the Parisian variety. If I've learned one thing from all this reading, it's this: You must not appear to have tried. That's it. That's the big French secret. APPEAR as if you've not tried, even though you might have spent hours on your look. An elaborate smoky eye, involved nail art or a complicated clothing ensemble shows you've spent lots of time on your look, which equals effort. As far as I can tell, the stylish Parisian wants the world to believe they are naturally gorgeous and stylish. Nothing should be too perfect, too precious.

But here's the real genius of it all: it can be a brilliant time and money saver. Less makeup, fewer manicures, less of everything. It's freeing, in a way. You don't need to follow seasonal trends if you're into the Parisian approach. You simply find what silhouettes and colors work best for you and stick with them. Invest in quality pieces that last for years rather than buying loads of trend pieces that end up in the donate pile after one season. The trick is that you still need to spend time grooming and prepping. There's a fine line between effortless and sloppy.  Pay attention to the details and cultivate your style signatures -- a particular scent, a red lip, a scarf tied around the handle of your handbag, etc.

What this all really translates into for me is that it's okay to stay a little lazy when it comes to my personal style. I don't get weekly manicures, I prefer fresh, glowing skin - even with a few blemishes - to a face camouflaged by heavy foundation. I like soft, comfy fabrics in neutral colors and eschew harsh colors or patterns, for the most part. I use a few key accessories to add color or interest to my simple clothing. While I always pay attention to the trends (it's part of my job,  you see) I can easily let them slide by without trying them for myself. Basically, this is as French as I'll ever be. Bonjour! 

 

 

Navigate the Spring 2015 Fashion & Beauty Trends

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FASHION

Yes, fashion month for Fall 2015 just wrapped but since we live in the real world, it's Spring 2015 we need to focus on. No matter how much snow has piled up in your slice of the world, Spring is ACTUALLY coming soon and trust me, you'll want to be prepared. As soon as Spring has sprung, you'll be itching to wear sandals, lighter textures and bright, cheery colors. Here's a brief recap of the coolest trends shown last September:

* Denim never goes out of style but this season, look for more polished pieces in the form of chambray. I'm more than a little in love with these joggers from Matilda Jane, a girl's clothing line that's just released its first comprehensive women's collection. 

* The sport trend is still going strong but has been refined by adding details like mesh to daily staples like sweaters and pencil skirts, rather than taking the trend too literal with track jackets and the like. Perforated fabrics make anything look cool and sporty and the pieces are easily mixed in to your closet. 

* A pastel handbag will add just the ladylike swath of color every outfit needs. Bonus: Break it out now to bring a little life into all the boring Winter clothes you're sick of wearing.

* Gingham plaid by DVF appeared youthful, carefree and modern,, not twee, when blown up in size or done in bold black or cobalt blue. Stay away from red to avoid looking like a picnic table.

* Ballet seems to have been an inspiration point for some designers including Michael Kors and Valentino for Spring 2015. Look for wrap sweaters, ballet flats and slices of sheer fabrics or tulle details (think gauzy maxi skirts). When done in pastel, the look is soft and feminine, when in black, its modern and bold. Just don't wear these signature pieces all at once --- unless you happen to be coming straight from barre class.

* The military trend never seems to go away---it's been refreshed once more by fashion heavy-hitters like Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel, Marc Jacobs and Jason Wu. Again, steer away from head to toe looks so you don't look costume-y. An anorak, slim cargo pants or a jacket featuring epaulettes will be just the dose you need. Hit up your local army-navy store for authentic web belts, patches and pins for a little DIY action on pieces you may already own.

* The 1970's were a big inspiration -- and have been for a few seasons, including Fall 2015. Go for exaggerated flare jeans, flowing bohemian maxi dresses, flower prints and embellishments, crocheted or embroidered details, suede jackets and dresses, denim skirts and platform sandals with everything and you've got it down.

Pro tip: You can easily blend trends like pastel + sport mesh but shy away from wearing multiple trends at once. Too much! On the other hand, do what you want and be happy about it. #YOLO, amIright?

BEAUTY 

* I think we all tend to lighten up our  makeup when the warmer temps set in so the lip trend for Spring 2015 is definitely a departure. Deep berry lips were seen all over from light raspberry to bold plum. There's a shade in there for every skin tone and can add instant drama to the bare faced complexion trend happening that I'm getting ready to mention...

* I personally love the no makeup look (or "no makeup" look for those who log serious mirror time to make it look like they're not wearing any). Marc Jacobs' models were authentically makeup free while those at Jason Wu, Victoria Beckham and Chloe were given a less is more vibe with a hint of natural, pinky nudes. #IWOKEUPLIKETHIS

* As for color, lavender and lilac were all the rage for eyes, whether for shadows or liners. If neither is for you, try a purple mascara which will give just a wink of color. See what I did there? Aren't I cute...?

* More good news for lazy girls like me -- one of the biggest hair trends is the undone look. You know, like the cool Parisian girl slash model-off-duty look everyone is always trying to achieve (it's actually harder than it looks). With air dried texture, messy looped ponys that sit low on the neck or less than perfect braids speak to the trend and translate into much less time with your round brush and hot tools

* For phalanges, the big to-do is the negative space mani. Paint just your half moons or vice versa or a single stripe down the side of an otherwise nude nail. Just know that your nail and surrounding skin must be in perfect shape to properly pull this off. Go here for some inspo. Otherwise, soft pastels in pink, peach, lavender and mint are your best bets for a standard polished look, especially when the finish is creamy, not shimmery or glittery.

Just typing this post made me hopeful for Spring! I can almost feel the sun on my face... Oh! Nope, that's the burning tingle of frostbite.  

 

58 Hours in Savannah

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I tagged along with my husband on a business trip to Savannah, Georgia last week and had such an amazing time. I explored the beautiful and incredibly charming historic district, spent some quality alone time at the spa (steaming, kneading and buffing every single square inch of my dermis) and enjoyed as many of the indie restos and boutiques as I possibly could. I found so many little treasures and left feeling well rested and totally inspired. Here are just a few of the gems from my trip...

Always my #1 in a new city: Secure a list of must see/do/eat from someone who looks cool. Trust me, it works. This list came from the baristas at The Coffee Fox. 

I'd never pass up a store called The Salt Table. I left with Lavender Salt and Habanero Sugar and more...much, much more.

Just one of the cheese boards we ordered. This one was from Churchill's Pub. They're a fixture on many Savannah menus. HOLLA!

A jumble of pearls at Peddler Jim's Antiques. It takes A LOT of digging to find a real treasure here.

Waiting for our fabulous tex-mex dinner at Foxy Loxy (sister store to The Coffee Fox). How could we not eat there? 

Took a late night jaunt to the sea. No way would we be that close to the ocean and not stick our toes in!

I always pick up as many local publications as possible.

A HELLA fast visit to the Wormsloe Plantation was beautiful and peaceful. So nice to walk around outside without a coat.

Shop SCAD proved to be chock full of treasures from local design students. I think Savannah's booming indie vibe is a direct result of having a great art school in its midst.

FOUND: the ugliest souvenir in Savannah. However, this certainly wasn't the most offensive. I won't be posting a picture of that one.

A bird's eye view of the basement at The Paris Market. This was my favorite store when I visited 7 years ago and it's still my favorite today. Lovely!

Cute, rustic decor at Back in the Day Bakery. We went for breakfast and ended up splitting a Jambon Royal and a cupcake. 

Cupcakes may be "over" but these babies from Back in the Day Bakery were DELICIOUS! Perhaps the best I've ever had (and I've tried my fair share).

I loved everything at Back in the Day Bakery. I just want to live there.

The mead tasting bar at Savannah Bee Company. We had our first (and definitely not our last) taste of honeycomb here, paired with crisp green apple and sharp cheese. Yum! The company makes all manner of honey products as well as a range of haircare and skincare and sells beautiful honeycomb inspired jewelry. 

The nice craft beer selection at The Beer Growler. Fun fact: You can stroll the streets of Savannah while drinking beer, as long as it's in a plastic container.

Super Bowl Style

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No matter your thoughts on #deflategate // #ballghazi // #Belicheat, most Americans will be watching the Super Bowl this coming Sunday. Even non football fanatics like moi. The barftastic snacks, uber expensive ads, each one trying (and occasionally succeeding) to be wittier than the next and Katy Perry are enough to lure me in...

More than likely, I'll be cuddled up in sweats on my favorite corner of the couch during the game, but let's pretend, for blogging's sake, that I'll be at a fun, lively party. 

What I'd wear: Seahawks blue, green and silver, natch! Even though I lived in Boston for over a decade, I could never get down with the Pats. Celtics? Mos def. Red Sox? F^ck Yeah! Pats? Hell to the NAW!

What I'd bring: A package of eye black stickers for fellow guests. Super Bowl Rings (Ring Pop lollies) for post-game celebrations!

What I'd do: Use my ref's whistle and penalty flag for anyone that double dips at the buffet. 

Happy Super Bowling! 

Holiday Gift Guide, Special Edition| Fort Wayne

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With only two days left to complete your holiday shopping, I've got some fantastic last minute ideas for those who reside in my fair city. Shake a leg, people!

* Subscription to Fort Wayne Monthly -- I hear they have some pretty kickass contributing writers in that gorgeously glossy mag. It's $18 a year and provides readers with all the fantastic things happening around town! Fill out and send in the subscription card or complete the online form and put a bow on the current issue (available at Kroger) for under the tree or in a stocking. Just go ahead and get one for every person on your list... You'll make at least one freelance writer very happy! 

* Opal & Ruby is a tasteful and fun gift shop for babies, kids, men, women and home --- essentially, everyone. Check out the selection of gourmet seasonings, Doodle tablecloths for creative kids, printed canvas wine flasks, chic zip code pillows, affordable sparkly earrings, books, stationery, greeting cards and cool men's grooming products. 

* The Monogram Shoppe always stocks the most current gifts and gadgets and the massive inventory is impressive. Go here for no-fail gifts for the kiddos --- or die-hard IU or Purdue fans, as the store stocks a wide selection of novelty gifts that represent both.

* If you need a gift for a girl of any age, you can find it at Essentials & Frosting. Think eco friendly cosmetics, candles, a vast array of jewelry and gobs of sweaters and denim.

* Symmetry stocks designer clothing and a well curated selection of cool jewels and accessories for the fashionistas (I hate that word but sometimes it's hard to find a good substitute --- someone help me) on your list.

* Bravas' new brick and mortar burger joint sells gift certificates - a slam dunk for all the bros on your list.

* Make a donation in someone's honor to Wunderkammer Company. Right next door to Brava's, this indie gallery churns out hit after hit, supporting the community and the regional scene with innovative events and a fresh, approachable take on the arts.

* A membership to Science Central or the Fort Wayne Museum of Art can be enjoyed all year long. One membership can serve an entire family and they'll think of you every time they visit.

Keep the change, ya filthy animal!

Holiday Gift Guide, Part 3 | For the Fine Fellas

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Whether yo man is a sports bro, a DIY dandy, a rocker, a fine fella or a man's man, I've got you covered with gifts $85 and under!

RIFD-blocking Steel Herringbone Wallet $75  | Whiskey and Rum Making Kit $75 | Beard Pack $40 
Baseball Game $48 | Ticket Stub Diary $12 | Stalk Tiebar $85

Miss the previous editions of this year's gift guides? Fear not: Part 1, For the Glamour Girls | Part 2, For the Kiddos

Pantone's Color of the Year

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In case you haven't heard, Pantone recently announced their highly anticipated (at least by a certain demographic) Color of the Year. I'm always excited to see their take on the current color trends, even if I'm not all that thrilled by their selections. Tangerine Tango was a big hit with me, while Emerald was not (I prefer the gem to the textile color). This year, Pantone deems Marsala as the IT hue.

I'm a bit iffy on Marsala, only because it seems a little dull to my eyes. It reminds me of my wardrobe in the 90's... I doubt I'd wear the color on my body anymore (never say never), but I can dig on Marsala for interiors and, perhaps, for lipstick or nail colors. Perhaps.

MAC Party Line $16 | Butter London Tramp Stamp $15

What's your take on Pantone's Color of the Year? Will you be buying into this color trend?

In the Clutch

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You need a chic and stylish clutch for all your holiday haunts - your day bag just won't do. The right clutch bag holds all your essentials (phone, keys, ID, money, lipstick, mints) but also acts as an additional piece of jewelry. Consider not only your dress style but also your carrying style. For example, a leather envelope style clutch is easy to tuck under your arm while a minaudière certainly is not. Will you be annoyed if you have to carry it in your hand all night? If yes, choose one with an included strap so you have options. Regardless, select something with a bit of pizzazz for the biggest impact - an evening clutch should be gorgeous and special and perhaps a little over the top. 

Party Shoes

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'Tis the season for pretty party shoes! Embellished heels add interest to your party dresses, especially when it's your trusty LBD that everyone's seen a few times. You can't go wrong with a neutral embellished shoe since you'll get much more mileage out of them. However, I'm having a mint green-slash-seafoam moment and think that color is highly overlooked this time of year. Look for impactful details like lace, beading or satin bows for sweet, party ready feet. And if you're running from party to party, do yourself a favor and slip in a pair of cushy halter inserts to stay comfy all night long (no promises on that one).

Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1 | For the Glamour Girl

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I love giving (and getting) presents. I shop year round for my family and friends and use an excel spreadsheet to track my gifting from year to year - it's quite handy to see what I've previously given. But I realize many people labor over holiday shopping. If you're one of those, I'll be serving up gift ideas for every recipient on your list each Monday morning from now through Christmas (for you last minute Scrooges). Oh, and everything's under $100. This week it's all about the glamorous girls in your life.

 

Nordstrom Foil Paint Accent Pillow $38 | Kate Spade Bow Beanie $98 | Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow Palette $75 | Rebecca Minkoff Molly Metro Wallet $75 | Ugg Andi Slipper $90 | Ban.do Keychain $14

 

Want to thank me? Send me something from this list. I want it all.

Turkey and Dressing

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I adore Thanksgiving and abide by long-held family traditions. The morning is strictly reserved for a light buffet breakfast (fruit, cheese, crackers) while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I high-kick my legs with The Rockettes and giggle at the (sometimes terribly) obvious lip-synching. 

My Thanksgiving meal specialties include the most kick@$$ and most definitely not low-fat mashed potatoes (I mix in an embarrassing amount of full fat cream cheese for extra creaminess) and a super simple yet yummy homemade cranberry sauce - so much better than canned, believe me. Find my tried and true recipe on Instagram and make it your own.

Maison Scotch Relaxed Fit Pajama Pants $105 - now 40% off!

But (and this is a BIG but) the best part about Thanksgiving is that post-meal nap, the buzz of football playing in the background. I'm not typically great at napping but I make it part of the day's plans. While I don't want to look like a slob on Thanksgiving, I absolutely plan my holiday ensemble to accommodate comfy snoozing. Glorified pajama pants are the key. Paired with booties, a comfy sweater and some glittering, statement earrings, you'll be holiday ready but primed for a well-deserved (I'm assuming, here) catnap. These sweet floral print pajama pants by Maison Scotch feature slimming tuxedo stripes on the sides. Keyooote!

This year, my family will be missing our sweet Nan Nan but we'll make sure she's part of our celebration with fond and funny memories of holidays past. 

Best wishes to you and your family for a healthy, happy and most delicious Thanksgiving Day!

Weather Boots

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I know no one is super excited about all this wintry weather but I have some good news: snow boots get more and more stylish each year. I realize those ubiquitous shearling boots are uber comfy BUT they're sloppy, stinky (at least mine were --- TMI?) and they do not hold up to wet weather. Upgrade with some of these more polished, and frankly, much cooler, options.

weather boots.jpg