Navigate with Style

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


The Five | birthday edition

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I love birthdays --- mine and others'. I'm taking tomorrow (my actual birthday) off to get that mani/pedi I've been needing, have a lovely lunch with the husb and perhaps even take in a matinee (I adore going to movies alone). No blogging tomoz for me so here goes my weekly wrap up:

* My homemade Mother's Day cards were the shit and continue to make me smile --- I can't bring myself to stop displaying them. My husband has the rare gift of being both right and left brained. He's creative AND can do math! #multitalented

* Speaking of Mother's Day --- for this year's gift, my fellas picked out a new elephant for us to sponsor. The reason the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust exists is heartbreaking but the work they do is so incredibly inspiring and important. I'm happy to welcome sweet baby Roi to our family and pledge to support the work of the DSWT for the rest of my life. #SaveTheElephants

* I finally framed a cute print I originally bought for my oldest boy. But I love it so much, it's going to go in our kitchen for everyone to see. We can all use the reminder. #dreamBIG

* We bought a cute little bonsai tree. After doing some internet sleuthing, we've discovered just how complicated the art of bonsai can be. I think I'll leave the care of this tiny tree to the Mister. #blackthumb

* I'm a HUGE fan of Howard Stern - for many reasons. One of them is his interview style because of the insight he gains. This week, Stern interviewed James Taylor (I'm NOT a fan) but the interview was amazing and I came away actually liking him (just not his music). Howard can be quite polarizing and I find myself defending his show and my love for him A LOT to my friends and family (you know who you are). I'll be devastated when he finally retires. Until then, the Stern show makes my every week that much better. #bababooey 


The Five | Get Outside

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Cabin fever hit me hard this year and I've been craving lots of outdoor time this Spring. As I stare at my computer screen, finishing up some of the week's work, I'm pining for the sunshine just outside my door.

Until I can really get down and dirty in my yard, I've been bringing a bit of the outdoors in. Succulents are my jam since I tend to kill most house plants. #blackthumb

My husband and I recently got some new bikes and we just purchased a Peg-Perego ride-along bike seat for our youngest. Here's to family bike rides! #bicyclerace 

And since we'll be spending lots of time on bikes this season, I bought myself a helmet. It's a tad dorky but I actually don't hate it. #safetyfirst

I'm desperate to give our home an outdoor makeover. We have multiple challenges ahead. What's a modern girl to do? Make a Pinterest board! #AtomicFox

I'm obsessed with Rejuvenation, an online store with lots of Mid-Century Modern home decor accents and hardware. I've been swooning over these minimalist planters but found a less expensive version at Target. #HOLLA 

Hope you get some Vitamin D this weekend!

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.


Happy New Year!

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Narrowing down color choices for the kitchen. 

Well, I finally unpacked and plugged in my computer after a hectic move right after Christmas. At long last, we've hung curtains, installed appliances and tackled the sea of laundry that piled up during the chaos. We still have lots to do in terms of unpacking, painting and some light renovating but that will happen...eventually. I'll be blogging the transformation of our 1954 Mid Century Modern ranch home in a series I'm calling #AtomicFox. 

I just know 2015 is going to be a great year but we've started off with a few illnesses and a semi-frightening career decision for me (have to remain cryptic for now). I'm accepting all good vibes sent my way...

So --- now that it's almost February --- Happy New Year!!!

Happy Holidays!

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I'm so thankful for a wonderful ending to a year full of ups and downs. As we wrap up 2014, my family will be packing up and moving to a new house - a Mid Century Modern atomic ranch. We're incredibly thrilled to start the New Year in our new home.

Given that we'll be in full moving mode starting December 26th, I'm taking the rest of the year off (and then some). See you in 2015!

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!

My Sweet Nan Nan...

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My grandmother, who we've always called Nan Nan or Nan, passed away recently. The days since have been filled with plenty of tears but also cathartic laughter, recalling the little details that made her so special and some of the phrases that always made us grandchildren and great-grandchildren giggle. While reminiscing, I couldn't help but think of her signature style and how she shared her approach to beauty and fashion with me so many years ago...

Nan was extremely fastidious in every aspect in her life but perhaps even more so when it came to her cuticles. I'm not kidding. Her hands were always perfect, even up to her last days. While cleaning out her belongings, I found a plentiful supply of cuticle creams, emory boards, cuticle nippers and pushers, multiple bottles of clear polish (she rarely wore actual color) and her favorite hand cream by Aveda. My husband and I were talking about her extreme dedication to her cuticles and he proposed that perhaps it was something she learned while attending finishing school that really stuck with her. Something like, "A lady must always have clean and elegant hands." We'll never know. I just wished I'd asked her about it when I had the opportunity. 

Nan was dedicated to her multi-step skincare routine and natural makeup look and used the same products by Elizabeth Arden, only updating when certain colors or formulas were discontinued. Every once in a while, she'd branch out and visit the Clinique counter* with me and pick up a new product.

*She took me to my first Clinique skin diagnosis and set me on a path toward caring for my skin - if you know me at all, you know that took hold. By the way, her skin looked and felt fabulous right until the end. 

Nan Nan, presenting me with her garter, on my wedding day in June, 2006.

As she aged, Nan's hair became the most gorgeous metallic silver, with a small patch of soft brown hair at the nape of her neck, a holdout from her younger years and, in my mind, a testament to her youthful spirit. She wore her hair in a sleek 1920's pageboy style and it was never out of place, thanks to her once a week hair appointment. On the rare occasion she'd wash her own hair, she only used Paul Mitchell. 

Nan loved the scent of lavender but her signature scent was always Lily of the Valley, just as her mother before her. My mother, sister and I always have at least one bottle in our supply as it was a popular Christmas gift from her. In my mind, the words Lily of Valley and Nan Nan are synonyms.

In the early 1980's, Nan Nan had her "colors done" by Color Me Beautiful. My grandfather and mother thought it was a hilarious notion but she took it very seriously. Nan was a "Summer" and followed the rules (for the most part) for the rest of her life, eschewing bright red and deep black because she was told they'd wash her out. And they did. She truly looked best in pastel colors and wore fuchsia in place of red and navy or grey in place of black. Rose, light pink, periwinkle, lavender and mint were her best colors. And she always looked radiant in them.

When I was a pre-teen, visiting Nan in Miami, she took me to her Eckard drugstore for my first real foray into cosmetics. My mother had so far refused so I took advantage of my sweet grandmother's offer. My first products were clear mascara, a lash curler and small tube of clear Vaseline lip gloss. It was just enough to satisfy my craving yet wouldn't clash with my mother's wishes or my Catholic school's no makeup policy. 

When I moved away from home at the tender age of 12 (to train for competitive figure skating), I'd spent my entire school life in a red plaid Catholic school uniform and had no idea how to dress myself. Nan took me to GAP and we picked out some outfits. We chose five pairs of colored jeans, five turtlenecks and five v-neck varsity sweaters (oy). Nan liked the turtlenecks so much, she bought a multicolored striped one for herself and continued to wear it, even up to last winter. As I was cleaning out her closet, I found it. I just had to save it...

Nan Nan's delicate charm bracelet.

Nan Nan had many other signature pieces like her three strand pearl necklace and single pearl earrings, her half-millimeter gold wedding band that she hadn't removed since her wedding day in 1946, a thick, white plastic bracelet for casual looks, her white (and when she felt sassy, metallic gold) Daniel Green Dormie bedroom slippers (another gift she'd occasionally give to me and my sister). But nothing is as special to me as her gold charm bracelet, started when her first child, my mother, was born. By the time she passed away, her delicate bracelet held charms for her two children, three grandchildren and seven of her eight great-grandchildren. 


There's so much more to write but I just can't see past the tears...


The August List

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August is always all about Cape Cod for me. I've spent every summer of my life in East Sandwich, Massachusetts and while I don't get as much time as I used to, I still appreciate every single minute. I'm incredibly lucky to have grandparents who felt strongly about their progeny truly knowing and appreciating the beauty, wonder and peace of the Cape. My love of the family home stems from their love for me and my siblings and a charming place where we've shared so many great memories. I'm thrilled to continue this tradition with my boys and hope they'll know Cape Cod throughout their childhood and into adulthood. While every trip is different, there are a few constants I always look forward to: lobster, sandy feet, Four Seas ice cream, cheap sailor knot bracelets, gorgeous sunsets...

Since we no longer live in Massachusetts, I try to infuse daily life with reminders of Boston and the Cape so that our boys treat it as a second home, instead of just a place we visit every year. I'm confident we'll be Mass-holes again some day, but until then, we'll savor our yearly trips to our little slice of paradise.

pregnancy is hard...

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I'm firmly in the third trimester of my second (and final) pregnancy. My first pregnancy was a dream - I felt so great and happy that I could have gone on being pregnant forever. This time? Oy...

This pregnancy has zapped my energy, my hair and skin are blah and my style has slowly been sucked away. I have massive lower back pain, can barely manage a quick trip to Target (sadness) and have hormones that make me quite crabby at times. I have been doing a bit of yoga and am trying to be as organic as possible with my food and beauty choices but I can't say I always succeed on that front.

In terms of style, I do have a little bit going for me this time around. I no longer work in an office so I don't have to worry about what's work appropriate. I've embraced a very easy uniform of black leggings and tanks under cozy cardigans and have been heavily relying on accessories and jewels to keep things as interesting as possible. As soon as I get home I throw on large men's sweatpants and a t shirt...the epitome of chic, right? 

my belly at 30 weeks...check out my outie!

priority parking for the helpful!

I know there have been many pregnant women before me with the same feelings and I certainly won't be the last. In fact, I'm so thankful to have a cadre of friends that can relate. And, in the grand scheme of things, these issues of mine take a backseat to the more serious complications of other pregnancies.

The bottom line is...I don't know what the bottom line is. I'm just a little frustrated and needed to vent. I see a nap in my near future...

A few little things that have been bringing me joy during these last few weeks:

* peppermint tea

* Origins Ginger Body Gloss

* belly hugs and kisses from my 4 year old boy

* a kick ass Alexis Bittar ring that I want to wear 24 hours a day

* perusing Pinterest for nursery decor and baby announcement ideas