Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Raindrops on Roses

So, back from Italy work/play week and here are a few of my favorite things:
1. Missoni designed labels on bottles of San Pellegrino.
2. My kid wearing aviators, lounging poolside on a yummy white chaise, reading Elle UK.
3. I know I'm a little late to the party but I am digging Mediterranean Blue polish on toes.
4. The kid can swim!
5. Hubby with a tan in a Brooks Brothers summer suit and Gucci tie.
6. New Tuesday night yoga class.
7. Easy-Off Oven Cleaner. Who Knew?
8. Clog boots.
9. Early morning spent drinking coffee while watching Rachel Zoe Project and reading British Vogue.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Back to Cool

Yo. It happened. A few days ago I wore the weirdest outfit ever. And not in the good/edgy way, or even the "joke to myself" way that I do to entertain myself on particularly boring outings. Nope. It was basically just a "I give up and I don't care" kind of outfit. I won't go into it, but even my five-year-old kid paused to give me a once over when I picked him up from camp. It was BAD. And I did SO WELL in London. I looked normal for each and every public outing. I'd even go so far as to say I looked cute on most days. My guess is that the simplicity of my pared down wardrobe helped me to establish a uniform of sorts and dressing cute was easy. I need to get back there. Truth is, the past 2 months have not been my best in terms of fitness and a few things are a little tight. But! This past week I worked out 5 times! Thank goodness. I've been mixing up the dvds with some amazing walk/runs along the river--the weather has been AMAZING. In two weeks we go to Italy for a week. When I get back, I've got big plans. Join the gym where one of very favorite friends goes every morning. Zumba, hot tub, sauna? Awesome. Also I am going to do an adult ballet class. Very excited about that since I saw the Nutcracker last year! Last summer I took a Vinyasa 101 6 week course at Dhanwanteri Yoga here in South Bend. I was checking the course schedule and saw that they're offering a 201 starting in a few weeks! Very excited.
Also coming up? Lucky Shops in NYC. Can't WAIT!
So, the plan. Work out. Dress cute. Don't shop. Edit closet. Continue getting the house back to normal (not relative normal, but normal like I imagine everybody else keeping their houses). I've already made great progress and am thrilled every time I see my new Liberty of London (um, for Target) bedding!! I make my bed every day because it's just so pretty! Oh, speaking of London: Unpack London boxes. They've been trickling in from hubby's office and are full of very many random things I would really rather just not talk about but they're starting to stack up in the foyer and my mom is coming for a visit and I really got to get my act together.
So, long story short, get it together and celebrate success at Lucky Shops. Good plan.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bright Light City Gonna Set My Soul On Fire

My 35th birthday celebration in Vegas was a triumph of glitz, romance, and complete leisure! Thanks to my unwavering loyalty to Delta airlines, I flew in the front cabin all the way from BWI (dropped my kid and the dog with the 'rents on the DE shore) to Las Vegas. We had a significant delay, causing us to miss our reservation at B&B, but 2 movies and free cocktails kept me happy until I crashed onto the luxe cool cotton bedding in our room at Encore. The next morning we woke up and went to mass at the church right next door--we could literally see it from our window. We picked up some lunch at, um, Ping Pong Thai Restaurant, ahem, and headed back to the room to watch the World Cup finals. Then it was down to the pool. Oh, pool, I miss you. The first day we hit the European pool. Initially we were delighted by the ban on noisy, splashy kids (or even quiet ones) and the friendly cocktail waitresses, but we soon grew tired of all the greasy dudes on the prowl and the sort of partial nudity that just did not seem "European" in the traditional sense. I mean, go to Nice, and, well, it's just not quite the same sort of nude. You know?
Anyway, in the days to come we welcomed the normalizing factor that kiddies add to the whole pool scene. And Mojitos were still available at all the pools, so it was all good.
Restaurants. Okay, first night L'Atelier Joel Robuchon. Tasting menu. Really incredible. We sprung for the wine pairings, too. Night two: Thomas Keller's Bouchon. Great cocktails, escargot, frites, spinach, dessert. Disappointing steaks. Night three: Nobu! Wow. Yes! Fun server. Really yummy Matsuhisa cocktails. Sushi to die for. Another amazing birthday dessert (my husband arranged for me to have them each night! LOVE him).
It was the last night, after Nobu in the Hard Rock Hotel, that we finally got around to gambling. Those cocktails at Nobu, plus the ones served up by the ladies in the studded bras in the casino made losing $12 in the slots the most fun thing EVER. And with goofy pop music, hardly anyone around, hubby busy losing money at the tables--I had myself my own little chair dance party.
Who said 35 isn't awesome? Vegas rocked it. I came home refreshed and excited to see my kid. I got a tan. And the whole thing started off on my actual birthday with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and a bracelet from Tiffany. Hubby kicked it in the ding ding this birthday.
So, back to real life. Still REALLY missing London. Getting a little nuts with home improvements, but that's a good thing. Looking forward to Italy at the end of next month--but I can't start living holiday to holiday. What can I do to spice it up around here? I am thinking it's time to throw a party.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


So, since returning stateside I have been logging on the (our cable isn't turned back on yet) to catch up with the ladies of The Hills and The City. I think I may be getting old which is so awful to think with B-day 35 happening in one week! Anyway, is it just me or is The Hills pretty boring right now? I mean, what happened to the K-Cav is a druggie story line? And I want to see more about Spencer and Heidi and the crystals. For those of you with cable, you're probably more current on the story lines. MTV is a little stingey about posting episodes online. Anyway, over on The City, poor Miss Port is surrounded by a bunch of toxic tarts! Roxy is too much and don't even get me started on the waste of space that is Olivia. Though I think Joe Zee might even be worse. What a suck-up. It really gets in the way of my reading enjoyment--I love Elle. It's my favorite US magazine, and the UK edition is my very fave mag, ever. But every time I turn the page and see A to Zee, I get so distracted by thoughts of Joe and Olivia and how annoying they are (especially together) that I can't even read what is actually a very good column. Ugh.
So anyway, was that Louise Roe I saw Erin talking to in the preview for the next episode? So fun! I actually talked to her in the Chambord VIP lounge at London Fashion Weekend. She mentioned she would be appearing on a show for the CW..but here she is on MTV. Wonder if it's all part of the plan...I am sure it is. My plan? Washing the guest room comforter in my new front-loading, energy efficient washer and dryer! That's actually not even a sarcastic use of punctuation. I do love my new appliances. But guess what? When they took the old ones away, there was a dead, decaying mouse under the washer. I know! So gross.
10 days until my birthday trip to Vegas. So excited! What am I going to wear?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Wanna New Rug

One that my doggie doesn't want to pee on. Hmph.
I tried to new restaurant today. Not new in town, but new for me. It was okay. Menu limited. Service friendly. Kid happy with pizza, but no kids menu which is weird for South Bend. I had a chopped salad that was tasty and what you'd expect except for little teeny pasta tubes tossed in it. I didn't like it. They were probably listed in the ingredients but I didn't read much further than "chicken, blue cheese, bacon." Also, no bread or bread sticks which my ass does not need but my kid could have used. Luckily, I had a pen and some paper, drew an awesome airplane that impressed the kid, and the food arrived fast. Anyway, don't know if we'll be back to Trio's. They have jazz in the evenings, so maybe I will give it another go for date night.
Trying out the shoe hospital downtown. My Dior patent leather pumps need to be reheeled, and a strap is loose on my favorite metallic strappy sandals. I know all this because on Friday I am going to be in DC for a black tie event at the Four Seasons in Georgetown, put on by the Beckett Fund, and I need fancy shoes to go with my fancy dress. Anyway, shoes won't be ready until after my plane takes off from SBN. Will do one last dig around the closet and then will have to go emergency shoe shopping which is the WORST. Also have to find time for a pedicure. Oh! And speak of the devil, I have found the most amazing nail polish. It's Sally Hanson Complete Salon Manicure. Says it's got all the steps of a salon mani (base coat, top coat, primer, etc.) in one bottle. I have to say, I did my nails yesterday afternoon and I am impressed. Two coats gave me good color and glossy shine. My nails dried quickly and I didn't wake up with those sheet wrinkles you can get when you DIY late in the day. Anyway, 2 thumbs up, Sally! WTG.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

She's Got Jegs, She Knows How to Use Them

If there were one piece of clothing that defined my days in London, it has to be the jegging. A bastard child of jean and legging, it is unholy and unnatural. It is something I would have never bought at home. But they spoke to me. At NEXT, buying some clothes for my kid, they spoke to me. They were a revelation!! The amazing black leather, low heeled, waterproofed boots I purchased a year ago in the Nordstrom sale were a wardrobe staple. Shoving in a bootleg or even a skinny zippered ankle was a chore. I was tired of the same old black tights and leggings. The jeggings opened up a whole new world! They were more pants than tights, with back pockets to prove it, so I could wear them with so many more tops and tunics. And I did! The more I wore them, the more I wanted to! I hated waiting for them to dry on the horrible space-hogging laundry rack. I needed them NOW. Alas, on the flight home, in the ladies room of the Delta Sky Lounge, I found a hole. I binned them yesterday. Farewell, London! Farewell, jeggings! See you both in my dreams.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Jiggity Jig

So...home. It's good to be here, but I miss London already. I tore it up, the last week or two. Parties at French Connection, John Lewis, Banana Republic, Harvey Nichols, and TOUS. Out for drinks with the girls at Kettner's and the bar at Mandarin Oriental. Last minute shopping at H&M, Topshop, Harrods, and Harvey Nicks. And still...I didn't feel DONE. I could have taken my kid the the playground at St. James Park every day for the next few months, I could have gone on play dates with our numerous new friends, gone back to the museums, eaten at our fave local Indian, shared another bottle of wine at Brumus with my handsome hubby, fought the lines at Tesco, WHATEVER!!!! I wasn't ready to leave. But, that said, going to mass at our local parish on Sunday was such a treat. Every pew filled with families that we knew, and a priest that knew me by name. I love it. But I still miss London.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Naked Truth

i want some nude clogs. I won't last the weekend without them.

Foxy Lady

I was prepared for many tasty UK delights. Hobnobs, Jammy Dodgers, draught cider, 99's, Sunday roast, liberal attitudes toward drinking a bottle of wine in the middle of the day in a public park, Mueller Rice, fry-ups...I could go on. I knew about these treats, could plan for indulgences, understood my particular weaknesses. But this, I was not ready for.
I'm sorry Mr. Fox, whoever you are, but "chocolatey" doesn't even begin to describe it. I'm usually a dark chocolate girl, but these lovely little crisp cookies are robed in the yummiest, creamiest milk chocolate EVER. And the whole pack is only a quid. And the whole family loves them. And they are a whopping 101 calories per cookie! I don't know what to do! There are 2 whole unopened packs in the kitchen. Why, why, why did I buy them? We've already plowed through 2 other packs since discovering them yesterday. Never listen to a 5-year-old's shopping suggestions in the biscuit aisle.* Here's hoping they (we?) last the weekend.

*You should, however, listen to them when they remind you to buy toilet paper.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pri Mark(')s the Spot

How could it have taken me so long to go to Primark? It's crazy good. And the crazy part is mostly because you go crazy because it's so cheap, and you buy a lot of stuff you really, really don't need. Except the shoes! Oh, the shoes. They are over-the-top trendy and so cheap and wonderful. I got a pair of strappy flat gladiator sandals that were black patent and embellished with BOTH zippers and studs. All that, right on your feet. I also got a silver pair of flip flops with some boho braided details, and some black sneakers that are a weird Euro-combo of Chanel-like quilting and Chucks.
Had a minor incident with the washing machine, but all was back in order before we ran out of clean socks. In the last week or so I've sampled some tasty steaks at Garufa Grill, had a great Saturday at Portabello Road, did a brass rubbing of a dragon with my kid at the Brass Rubbing Center at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and took a quick dip into the National Portrait Gallery to get a better look at the Tudors.
With 23 days left in London, I am starting to panic a little. I've got at least one fashion/shopping event lined up, and a really fabulous wine event. I have a list of museums, parks, restaurants, shops, and neighborhoods a mile long to get through before we go! And we're making new friends all the time, and want to see them all again. Wish me luck.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The (Sold-) Outnet

Man, I tried. I was so excited for the 1st anniversary sale. By the time I logged on, all bags were gone--some fierce ones, too--Fendi and Marc Jacobs? Hello?!!! All shoes gone. Tried my luck on a Chloe cream coat, a Marc Jacobs dress, a Just Cavalli dress, and an Anna Sui satin jumpsuit. They were all sold out when I finally got to the "place order" page. I couldn't bear to waste one more second of my life on it. I mean, a satin jumpsuit?? How many of those do I need?
Anyway, there's all kinds of sales on the high street right now. Midseason, I guess. Going to hit Primark for the first time tomorrow. Hopefully will have lots to report! TTFN

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Just Ask

Last night was fun! The Swarovski event was nice. The space was really beautiful. Cool DJ's, champers, make-overs from The Organic Pharmacy. I should have taken a friend with me because everyone was there in little groups and after the daywear presentation from I bought some earrings, collected my booty and headed home. Here are some pics from the event:

I decided to walk back by way of Carnaby Street. Some incredibly styled girls standing outside The Make Up Store caught my eye. There was some sort of event going on inside and I asked if entry was by invitation only. They answered that well, yes, it was, but just, um hold on...and just like that I was in! A wonderful woman, the host of the evening, maybe the manager? I didn't catch her name but she welcomed me, told me about the brand, asked about my blog, and sent me downstairs for some wine and nibbles (some sort of fish roe on crispbread, yummy), and (YEA!) a goody bag. Back upstairs and a really nice make-up artist (again, I don't have the name but she's pretty, blonde, and engaged) helped me pick out a gorgeous highlighter that I am so excited about. And there was a 20% discount! I could have gone crazy in there--they've got skin care, home spa, and so many color choices in their cosmetics! Wow. They have a great loyalty program and lots of in store classes. I will definitely be back and if you haven't checked them out you should (32 Carnaby Street or
Oh! the girl on the right in the snap from the Swarovski! Incredible. She's Anna Kompaniets ( and

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Raw Deal

I just poured myself a gorgeous cup of coffee from the French press that managed to retain a tiny bit of crema-ish foam on its surface. It reminded me of 2 things, the first being my recent trip to Italy and all the wonderful espresso that followed the many wonderful meals we enjoyed while there. The second is that I am now well enough to drink coffee again, only just recovering from a flu that prevented me from eating, thinking, or writing about food for about 4 days. So, before any more time passes, I wanted to share with you some of the most delicious things we ate and drank over those 14 days. The highlights: tagliatelle with pork; cotoletto di vitello; proper cappuccino in the morning at the hotel; lunch in Bolgheri where everything was amazing but especially outstanding were the tartare, the papardelle with braised wild boar, and a simple chickpea soup. To drink we had wines from Michele Satta (our host), hubby and I also took advantage of the Enoteca's incredible selection of wines by the glass and shared between us a glass 2006 Sassicaia and one of 2006 Ornellaia; that night we ate something so taboo, so deviant, I can barely stand to mention it--raw pork sausage. We spread it on toast. Decadent, delicious, a little disgusting if you think about eating a whole bowl of it with a spoon, but the deviant nature of the act made us excited and giddy; a wonderful lunch in the home of our friends in Florence where they served an antipasti of sun dried eggplant that was amazing, especially when piled on top of bread with fresh cheese; an apertivo of little white truffle sandwiches washed down with a gorgeous white wine from Antinori; "the herb that hurts you"; some very delicious pizzas; apple crostada; a salad with cold black rice; and, um, I am actually finishing this about a week after I started it, and really can't remember what else. Hubby took some amazing notes, but oh! He wouldn't stand for it if I left out our night of beef with Dario Cecchini, especially the Sushi Del Chianti. The rest of the night is a meaty blur of wine, Dante, smoke, socks, and did I speak French at one point? Anyway, it was awesome and my kid really rocked it that night. He ate his weight in steak, napped at the table for a bit before waking and eating some more, colored with strangers, and posed for pictures. Really great trip.
And back in London, over my flu in time for an Easter feast washed down with champagne at Langtry's, dim sum lunches, lovely sunny afternoons with friends in their garden, and a couple fashion events. Last night's was a total bust--except for my kid who scored the jelly beans and Maltesers from my otherwise totally lame goody bag. Tonight though, I am going to an Instyle event at the Swarovski Crystallized Store. I walked by the shop on my way home last night, and suspect the real biz might have been going on last night given the number of paps outside the store. It looked really nice inside, so I am hoping some of that carries over into tonight's event. Fashion show, make-up, jewelry, goody bags, champagne--how bad can it be? I'll let you know...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

I am going crazy. I cannot get "The Greatest Love of All" by Whitney Houston out of my head. All day everyday I am singing it inside. Why, why, why??? Now I know. Marcia Kilgore, queen of Bliss and Soap and Glory, has always had a way with funny, catchy names for her products. I really like it usually. Well, I've got a tube of Soap and Glory's The Greatest Scrub of All and it is sending secret messages into my brain, keeping Whitney on replay. I am attempting to fight back with "Crack is Wack." It's not working. And honestly, it should because, in all honestly, this is not the greatest scrub of all in my opinion. But, maybe it's just that my product branding consciousness realizes that no one wants the words crack or wack on their beauty product packaging, even if it's tongue in cheek. I am looking forward to the end of the tube.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Local Yokel

I have been trying to justify any medium to kinda big fashion purchases by buying only things that do double duty as souvenirs of our stay in London. For example, my lovely Luella tote, my Philip Treacy hat, and my Lulu Guiness earnings. Even Topshop and Boots count. I've slipped a little here and there, like at H & M. But in my defense, we don't have one at home and it hardly counts as big spending.
Anyway, I tried taking this policy with me to Italy. (Just got back Thursday--it was amazing. Actually managed to get my fill of gelato, which I previously considered an impossibility.) We had a day trip planned to the designer outlet mall outside of Florence and I did a great job sticking to my guns by purchasing only from Gucci. (Yes, it is hard when you have such strong convictions about local products--har.) A hand bag, a pair of shoes, and a tie for (undercover label-loving) hubby. I felt very satisfied.
That was until I was dropped off a few days later, by surprise, at the Tods/Hogan and Prada outlets near Macerata. Wow. I actually managed to walk about of both shops empty handed but was haunted by a pale leather braided Tods bracelet that I left there because it was Saturday afternoon and the lines were so long and my kid was going nuts. I'm still thinking about it really, imagining how nice it would look on my tan wrist...sigh.
So, I really only have myself to blame for breaking my locastore vows. If I had bought that bracelet I would not have been lured into the brand spankin' new Marc by Marc Jacobs shop (AND CAFE!!) in the hip Brera neighborhood of Milan. Wow. Really wow. And have you heard about all the really awesome, fun, and cheap accessories they sell in the Marc by Marc Jacobs boutiques?? Well, it's TRUE! I got a couple necklaces (one's a monocle. awesome), a ring, a pen that looks like a lipstick, a tote (I KNOW. Shut up.), an umbrella, and some flip slops. All for a song! And, it was at the end of our trip, I was beginning to get that "I haven't bought enough stuff!" feeling, and it really made me feel "done." And, frankly, really pushed the weight limits of the tiny Alitalia plane that brought us back to London.
And now, rain. Good thing I bought that MJ umbrella! And my new Gucci bag is coated canvas so it does alright in this weather, too. Oh! and I am in love with my new pack-a-parka from Topshop! Am trying to stop shopping but with only 8 weeks to go, I feel I will fail. Maybe I can hold out for the rest of the week...wish me luck!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tote Check

Dude. Been here a little more than two months and have acquired so very, very many totes. Some free, some sort of free (GWP), some purchased in the name of urban-eco-renew-reuse-recycle-ism. In any case, I now find myself in possession of 14 shopping totes that I did not own before I came to London. Oh, man. This is stupid. But at least the free Dorothy Perkins tote that came with this month's Cosmopolitan is on trend with its bow and Breton stripes. And I could argue that it's practical because it seems sort of water proofed (neither claimed nor tested) on the inside. Ugh, even I don't buy it. And, speaking of freebies with the glossies (a glorious UK phenom) I have also snatched up a Neal's Yard facial moisturizer thanks to Marie Claire and a James Brown (hair stylist and bestie of Mossy!!) hair conditioner with Glamour. It seems like there's free stuff everywhere in this city. I mean, I can remember being handed bottles of Vitamin Water, Lemon Coke, and I think some sort of gum outside the Dupont Circle Metro stop every once in a while when we lived in DC, but the free stuff on tap here in London is unbelievable! I mean, if you've got the time and the inclination it's all yours. Cocktails, tastings, lessons, samples. Obviously, I could live without another canvas shopper, but my trip to Italy ends one day after an amazing sounding Elle Magazine sponsored event at Harvey Nichols. Cocktails, canapes, GOODY BAGS!! And I miss it by one day. ONE DAY!! I know, it's for Italy, but I know from past experience that Elle throws a good party (this past LFW and a few events back in DC) and combine that with Harvey Nicks? COME ON! Oh well, I hope there will be more opps to party with Elle before I leave. And, the trip to Italy provides an awesome opportunity to bust out the best tote of all: the Luella Barney that I scored at LFWeekend for a tiny fraction of the original price. It will hold my beauty essentials, a stack of glossies and my Mac, all while being so incredibly fabulous it will be hard to believe I'm sitting in Economy. And maybe I'll stuff in a couple of the canvas numbers into the side pocket so I'm at the ready to stuff them full of cheese, olives, and salumi whist wandering the markets of Tuscany. See? It's all coming together.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Making the Toast of It

Well, here we are deep into Lent and all I have done is shop and drink and neglect wifely and motherly duties. I did fast last Friday, in solidarity with the poor, but my one meatless meal was eaten in a wonderful restaurant and, since it wasn't food, I accepted a few glasses of champagne at the end of the evening at LFWeekend. All while lusting after everything from vintage (original Dior from the '70's!!) sunnies, to Beatrice Ong shoes, Juicy Couture velour tracksuits (which I actually don't even want), and especially the very bikinis I was trying to sell. Except for some very mild hunger, I did not feel like I was showing any support for the poor, neither in prayer nor the sharing of my gifts. When offered a bite of incredible chocolate tart, it was only half-way to swallowing that I remembered my intention to fast. So, while I didn't have another bite, I still got mine.
Since returning to normal life two days ago, I have been trying to redeem myself by cleaning the flat like crazy. Hubby's been a good help with the dishes that built up over the weekend, but the laundry! Oh, the laundry. I must have been behind before I started my fashion fantasy because it is really overwhelming, especially when you consider the completely ridiculous nature of the washer/dryer combo. To wash and dry, it seems to take half a day. If you line dry, the drying rack takes up half the flat. But, it's my job to do the laundry. This is mostly in part because I hate to explain things to people and I really hate to answer questions. An occupational hazard if ever there was one considering I have an uber-curious and interested-in-everything husband, and a five-year-old who can't help but ask questions and require explanations, I mean, he IS five. I chalk it all up to my being an only-child. I've managed to avoid some of the usual pitfalls: I share my toys and don't require or expect everyone's attention all the time. But, I'd rather just do it myself than have to explain, say, where the mop is, or how much coffee to put in the Bialetti, you know? Ugh, I know...
So, back to Lent. Obviously the shopping and casual bubbly quaffing are out. That's a sacrifice I definitely feel. Hubby and Baby have been saying a decade of the Rosary every night and I plan on joining them. Wednesdays and Fridays for abstinence(from meat) and fasting, try to get my ass to a mass during the week, and one more thing: Toast. I hadn't realized it but I have become totally obsessed with toast, with butter and fig conserve or butter and a slice of cheddar. Breakfast, tea time, late night snack--sometimes 6 slices in a day!! And not super healthy whole grain, granary, high fiber biz, either. No lovely sourdough from Poilane, or even a tartine made from yesterday's bakery-fresh baguette. No. What I want is plastic white bread, thick sliced and super-sized. I NEVER buy this at home! I mean, I'm the girl who bakes her own bread and even makes her own yogurt! To assuage some of the crunchy-mom/food snob guilt I buy the white bread with seeds in it. It's not even organic!
So, in order to make the most of the next few weeks before Easter I have decided to give up toast. Also, I will be more patient with my family and their endless questions, and more satisfied with their help around the house, even if it's not the way I would have done it. And I'd better hit the ground running with these, since in 10 days we're off to Italy for 2 weeks (trip to a designer outlet on the itinerary!) and I will have to rejigger and find different means for sacrifice and prayer. The biggest challenge for the next 10 days will be to resist the urge to do the crazy pre-holiday-shop-for a bunch-of-stuff-you'll-never-wear. I am famous for that kind of shopping, and while you may think that after all the clothes and fashiony stuff of the last 2 weeks I'd be sick of it, it's only made me more crazy for it all! Maybe I'll go with that urge to cut bangs and then all my old things will look new? xoxo

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Take This Job And Love It

Back to real life! London Fashion Week and London Fashion Weekend were so fun and amazing and exhausting and fabulous. I already wrote about my experiences at the beginning of the week, the most exciting being the Fashion for Relief show. (I mean, helping women and babies in Haiti while getting a good hard look at your fantasy BFF? And champagne? Come on!) But there were a few other fun moments like my brief stop at Fashion Mavericks, the A la Mode Fashion Show put on by Le Geneve North, the Elle/Warehouse Fashion Week shopping party, the Warehouse Utility Collection Preview Party, and the free events and workshops at Topshop. All totally awesome.
On Sunday February 21st, I manned Pistol Panties at the London Fashion Week Exhibition in the Portico Rooms at Somerset House as a favor to the designer Deborah Flemming ( ) who is the friend of one of my old friends from my summer in Paris, Liz Entin ( and ). Liz suggested that I look Deborah up when I got to London. I did and she immediately invited me to coffee. There I got to meet her amazing, talented, and beautiful assistant Lizzie, who I got to know a little more over the last week and I must say I am smitten. From what I can see, Deborah has hired the right girl. Lizzie is incredible and savvy beyond her years.
Working the Exhibition basically meant staying with the clothes (in this case, swimwear) and being available to talk to press and buyers and answer any questions they might have about the line and the collection. What I didn't realize until that day, was how essential it was for the designer to get the contact info from all the journalists, stylists, and buyers, so that they could follow up with anyone who was at all interested. Having only experienced fashion from the point of view of a shopper and avid reader of glossy magazines and fashion blogs, I think I just imagined that the mags and stores went to the designers and asked for things, or maybe the designer sent over some samples. I had no idea the amount of phone and email follow-up required on the part of designer in order for their designs to be seen and made available for purchase to the public.
It was very interesting to see the other side of the business and to realize that sometimes it is actually boring. The other ladies in the Lingerie Collective were fun to talk to and really interesting, and seeing all the beautiful things on display at the exhibition was such an exclusive treat, one that I never imagined I would ever experience. I also developed an obsession with bangs (or fringe) and may just march into the salon and demand some someday soon. I'm obsessed!! (I also have a new obsession for hummus, but we'll leave that for another post.)
That night after the exhibition there was a digital presentation for the Lingerie Collective. It was an arty little black and white number with a gorgeous girl modeling bras and knickers from the exhibition. Everyone was in a festive mood and there were waiters offering wine and champagne as we walked in, and then always at your elbow, ready for a top-up. From there the crowd moved on to a club in Soho for the after-party. I tried to rally, but when I stepped off the bus and realized I was closer to home than the club I decided to call it a night.
Four nights later I returned to Somerset House for my VIP night at London Fashion Weekend. Chambord cocktails, special lounge access, FROW, personal styling session, and Elizabeth Arden make-overs. And shopping! So many incredible discounts! That night I came home with a Luella bag and I paid 75% less that retail! Amazing! I also snapped up 3 Ella Moss tops for 40 pounds. A (just okay) goody bag was handed out at the end of the night and I went home satisfied with my night out.
The next night I was there again, but this time to help sell Pistol Panties to the throngs of champagne-fuelled bargain shoppers. It was fun and the time flew by. I did the same on Sunday. The prices were slashed even lower and I couldn't resist a Philip Treacy hat and some cute lingerie from Aloe ( *love the designer, Claire Judge). Everyone was getting a little nuts at the end of the weekend, even the bar staff were sticking it to the man and slipping me free champagne. Lizzie and I broke down the display in record time, she managed to snag a dude to help carry, and got the whole lot of bikini bins into the car to be taken back to the shop. Whew!
And that's that. I do miss it already actually, but I don't miss missing weekend fun with my boys. I didn't miss laundry and dishes, but (lucky me!) there were some waiting to welcome me back home. I am glad to be off the champers and espresso and back to tea and water (for now, anyway.) I'm over organizing bikinis by color, style, and size, or digging through bins finding a gazillion different sizes and styles for a customer to try on, only to have them decide against them all, leaving me to reorganize and hang them all back up. I am glad to be back with my kid, reading books, playing with clay, doing math (Wowee. I know!), and watching movies. All that said, I am looking forward to another chance to play "fashion girl" sometime soon, either with Pistol Panties, or whomever I can convince that I am not psycho and that I am fashion savvy enough to help out for free. Though, I may wear a sign around my neck saying "Will Work For Bikinis." I'm telling you, I have not quite reached my fitness goals, but Deborah Flemming works some magic. Girls, get thee a Pistol Panties bikini!!! You won't believe how amazing you look. xoxo

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Home Alone

Well, not totally alone, but without any other grown-ups or awake people around. Hubby is out. A well-deserved outing for drinks with a friend, in between my nights on the town. I've been leaving my boys to fend for themselves so often the last week or two, but this is the final push. As of March 1, Mommy is home to stay.

Last night I went to check out the fashion week events at the Topshop Flagship store in Oxford Circus ( There was an interesting blogging workshop with very friendly and helpful advice on offer. On the way home, I swung by another party at Warehouse. This one was to preview their Utility collection, new for Spring ( It seems like the military trend is everywhere right now, especially in jacket form. Warehouse's take on this trend was sort of MASH by way of Michael Jackson. Sort of like what you would expect Beyonce to be wearing if you were an extra in her music video and she was coming around the corner to kick your ass. Cargo pants, yes, but with a skinny leg. Lots of khaki, gold chains, distressed biz. A DJ, free bubbly (and Vitamin Water!), a goody bag, and the promise of some celebs kept me there, oh, about half an hour. When I overheard one photog listing about six celebs that had yet to arrive and I didn't recognize any of their names (nor did I know that any famous names had arrived already), I knew it was time to go home, eat toast, and go to bed.

Resting up for a marathon weekend. Thursday night will see me at London Fashion Weekend ( This is a shopping weekend, ticketed and open to the public, held after fashion week offering incredible discounts on coveted designer clothes and accessories. There is also a catwalk show and (of course) champagne and goody bags. This is the chance for normal folk like me to pay to pretend we're on the inside, to experience some of the excitement and glamour of London Fashion Week. It's held in the same venue.

I bought tickets to the event before I knew that I would have the opportunity to peak inside London Fashion Week courtesy of Deborah Fleming of Pistol Panties (more on my LFW experience to come). And, Friday-Sunday, I return to London Fashion Weekend to work for the same lovely lady ( Excited to experience both sides of the event, and am so glad I get my mommy's-night-out shopping/viewing/champagning night on the opening night of the event, because people, these women work. They work hard. They told me compared to the Weekend, the Exhibition was slow--and I was exhausted and yawning at 8:30pm that night and had to skip the after-party!

So, sleep, vitamins, yoga and away I go to another adventure! xoxo

Friday, February 19, 2010

KateWatch: I Know What Mossy Is Doing

At least I did last night around 8pm because I saw her! She walked the catwalk, something she rarely, if ever, does anymore, at Naomi Campbell's Fashion for Relief ( fashion show and auction benefitting the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. It was amazing! Last I heard, Mossy had skipped New York Fashion Week and was in France skiing with Jamie. I hardly expected to see her at all, let alone on the catwalk. I thought she'd be too cool for school, and in a sense she was, because she left early. Though, her early departure could be attributed to her emotional state. She was reportedly in tears when the dress she wore in the show was auctioned off for 100,000 BP. It was a dressed designed for her by the late Alexander McQueen, as part of his last collection. She, Naomi, and Annabelle Neilson kicked off the show with a tribute to the late designer, each wearing one of his dresses. Seeing so many famous faces (and bodies, wow) was amazing!

The night started off well, too, with a solo trip to a shopping party at Warehouse (, sponsored by Elle Magazine ( I picked up a few really cute things at a special 25% off discount, a goody bag, and the requisite fashion party accessory: a mini bottle of bubbly with a straw for sipping while shopping. With new togs and freebies in hand, I made the mad dash through the rain back to the flat for a quick assessment and touching up of make-up and hair. We welcomed the sitter, kissed the baby (I know, he's 5! But he's my baby) goodbye, and my handsome hubby and I were on our way to the show at Somerset House.

We were greeted by a lot of security and a fantastic buzz around the LFW tents. Once inside it was a real feast for the eyes, checking out everyone's look, and trying to spot celebs. An army of waiters were there with these futuristic lucite rack-like trays offering water, orange juice, and champagne--I bet you know which we chose. There were some nibbles like breadsticks and nuts and tables selling Vivian Westwood designed charity t-shirts. I wanted to like them, but I didn't, so I left without one. Soon, we were herded into the catwalk area and took our seats.

After the show Hubby and I stopped off at the Knight's Bar at Simpson's-in-the-Strand for a drink, a quick look at our amazing pics, and a recap of the night. I'll post all the fashion-y pics from the last couple weeks soon!

Today we're at it again. This afternoon I will head to the Strand Palace Hotel for an exhibition put on by Fashion Mavericks ( Then I'll walk to meet Hubby at the Charing Cross hotel for the A la Mode fashion show ( I am really excited to see what all these independent, off-the-radar designers are up to this season.

I'll be back for more tomorrow! xo

Picture This


Here I am with the fash pack...


With Philip Treacy at Harrods...


With Lulu Guiness at her pop-up store...


and, um, me and Bob Geldof after the show.

And here are a couple other snaps from the big night. Sadly, I am not in them:


yes, awesome. Geri Halliwell.


I know, right?


Friday, February 12, 2010

Long Time, No Blog

I have been so busy having a nice time that I haven't had a second to document any of it! Sunday lunch with some lovely new friends, a girls night out, a solo spa night at The Sanctuary for some much needed pampering (, date night at The River Cafe (, and more! And at The River Cafe we met fashion designer Paul Smith ( at the bar and he was lovely. In the following days I also met milliner Philip Treacy (, and designer Lulu Guiness ( at her special Pop Up Shop, Kissed by Lulu Guinness. Check out all the pics on her blog and you may see a familiar face or two! And, as the result of the web intro by another friend from a lifetime ago (check her out here at her amazing fashion site, I will be living out my wildest fashion dreams in the following weeks thanks to Pistol Panties (much more to come on this, though check out the brand on the web at fabulous swimwear!) and the lovely Deborah Fleming.

We're feeling at home in our little local church, even though I think ours might be the only child at the 10:30 am mass. We also really loved attending the evening mass at Brompton Oratory, and will have the chance to attend again this weekend with our first batch of visitors from the US. There are also two family masses Sunday mornings, both with a children's liturgy, and we've heard the 11am is the most beautiful in London.

Coming up, there's champagne nail bars, theatre, The Ivy, fashion shows and shopping. There's still laundry and homeschooling (an hour of Italian today, amazing!), budgeting and dishes (waiting for me), missing the dog and seeing so very much of each other in our tiny flat. We love it here, all of it, and I hope, I mean I know,we will go home happy and exhausted.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gastrotourismo (Happy Birthday!)

Last night we broke the seal on celeb-chef restaurants: Gordon Ramsay's gastropub The Warrington. It wasn't exactly what I expected in terms of atmosphere since the gastro and the pub were on different floors and had totally different decor. Entering through the front doors you see a cozy, comfy pub with leather sofas and plenty of room to relax. Upstairs you find an elegant dining room, white tablecloths, lovely armless leather dining chairs and comfy banquettes with lots of pillows.

The family was well turned-out. I think it's called casual-smart over here: hubby in Levi's, french-cuffed shirt, Burberry cufflinks, and an olive corduroy blazer; me in a black tunic with gold sequin detail, dark black skinnies tucked into boots, Missoni scarf, and a Robert Lee Morris for Elizabeth and James snake bangle bracelet which is totally awesome; kid in a Hamley's pirate costume, sans hat and eye patch, but with his face painted like Spider Man. Yes. You've read that correctly. We went directly from a Peter Pan fancy dress birthday party in St John's Wood (where I did not meet/see/or hear about Kate Moss, but where I was happy to see the happy marriage of small children dancing to Abba with an adult-sized Tinkerbell and my own seemingly bottomless glass of Brut Rose) to our dinner reservation. We were the first ones to arrive at The Warrington restaurant and the staff didn't bat an eye at our spider-faced cherub.

On the contrary, there was an amazing kids' menu and coloring sheets and crayons. Orlando had a perfectly cooked medium rare butter roasted rump steak served with best chips I've sampled in London so far, and for dessert, a sticky toffee pudding that made me rethink my whole "restaurant desserts are not worth saving room for" mantra. On top of it all, he was given a private tour of the kitchen by our lovely hostess Laura, and our Parisian waiter indulged my boy by speaking with him in baby French.

On the grown-ups' menu were a chicken liver madeira parfait (not what I expected of "parfait" at all, more like a slice of terrine) with yummy chutney and toasted brioche, venison carpaccio, and pan fried sea bream with braised leeks and fennel. We washed it all down with a Chassagne Montrachet (Bernard Moreau et fils), and topped it off with Calvados and Port. It was the best food I've eaten in London so far, and one of my top 20 meals, ever. One would hard pressed to beat the value of the prix-fixe Winter menu at The Warrington.

I would, and will, return again and again, but for this week we are repenting for our monetary and calorific excesses (mostly due to the hooch) with homemade lentil soup. And even once payday rolls around again, there are only 4 more months and about 4 million more restaurants to experience. AND, I haven't even begun to SHOP. With London Fashion Week (and London Fashion Weekend, to which I actually have tickets) around the corner, I think restaurant hopping is going to have some serious competition in the allocation of funds debate. Oh! Speaking of shopping, here's a wardrobe/packing update: have actually worn every sailor-stripey item, some more than once; have worn many of the tagged items and (maybe lentil soup related?) they fit!; have worn the heck out of the two pairs of suitcase space hogging boots.

Three weeks in. So far, sooooooooo good.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Day 10 and it's the first time I have exercised. Ugh. In my defense it has been snowy, wet, and gross outside. The in-building gym we were counting on, while still in existence, is off-limits because "the equipment has not been properly maintained and is not fit for human use." And, our boxes sent from home only just arrived and in them were my beloved collection of fitness dvd's. So, today it was a little Turbo Jam (T3 for those of you who are into TJ, too). Feels good to move and sweat.

I started the day on a positive note, too, with a little yoga in the kitchen while I was waiting for the kettle to boil. Multi-tasking! And before we started homeschooling I got dressed in my exercise clothes (down to shoes, FlyLady) so I would have a constant reminder that I should exercise today.

The papers and mags are full of New Year's resolution inspired articles on diets and exercise plans which have been encouraging to a degree. But where do I buy kettlebells? The tool essential to what Look Magazine reports are integral to the "15-Min Workout That Transformed Her Body!" Her being Jennifer Anniston, who as far as I am concerned had a a pretty enviable figure to begin with. Then there are the detox centers featured in the February's UK InStyle magazine in places like Spain, Morocco and South Africa. Probably not jetting off to any of those retreats any time soon. But still, the whole NEW YEAR, NEW YOU thing is exciting and appealing and I am determined to keep up the healthy life-style I finally recaptured this past Autumn. Feels like a million years since my gym bunny days, but it's amazing how, now that I've crossed that psychological line that kept me from getting it done, I feel like I never gave it up. It was such a big part of me, I guess it didn't really go anywhere, just went into hibernation.

And this kettlebell thing is not so much an example of an obstacle to fitness, but of the adjustment to living an urban life again. I mean, in South Bend I would just cruise the town in my giant car hopping from Target to Meijer to Dick's to wherever until I found them. Or I'd order online. But I have a real mental block getting used to public transportation again. Additionally, I am now a one handed shopper, the other clutching the hand of my fearless son. And can I order on the internet? Of course I can. But I have irrational hesitation over international shipping, matching shipping and billing addresses, confidence that I actually know my post code--all these things are so easily overcome but they are HUGE in my mind right now.

The next psychological hurdle? Hitting the pavement and becoming a runner again. Have 25 minutes? Pop out for a little noodle. Happen to wake up early on a gorgeous sunny morning? Sneak out before the rest of the house wakes up and go for a six-mile run. (But it's so nice out! Just 3 more miles!) This is the attitude I want to recapture. Even after the baby arrived I used to make time for a little post-nurse jog before hubby headed to work. Once we moved I just never really kept it up. Didn't like the jog stroller, cold weather, rain, hot weather, creepy dude always on the bench, anything really. I'm hoping that this return to urban life will inspire me to see the sites in my sneaks. I've seen lots of runners out there. I want to be one of them. Now I just have to believe what I tell myself, "I can run. I can run. I can run."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What I Ate This Week, Part 2

Just in case you forgot from the previous post:


So, this is micro herbs salad with organic baby plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, lemon and olive oil dressing; organic baguette; Prosecco Rosato; cullatello; venison ballotine; brillat-savarin; braeburn apples. Add to that the kid was already asleep, it was an awesome dinner indeed.

Monday, husband sick. Didn't stop the rest of us from having a delightful lunch of market leftovers, plus some organic chicken bangers for the little one.


While we were shopping and eating our way through the Market on Saturday, we shared a sausage roll from The Ginger Pig, the most amazing bacon, blue-veined cheddar, and onion sandwich ever,IMG_1951

fresh shucked oysters washed down with dry pink bubbly, and a tasty assortment of samples of cheeses, olives, and weird and delicious meat products. We'll be back again this Saturday, for sure! Oh, and ps, here's proof that I'm getting some wear out of the stripes.IMG_1959