12.22.2006
Chocolates, Anyone?


Now, I know that winter is supposed to be all about jewel tones and grey and black. That makes no sense to me, because grey is depressing (unless embellished with silver or maybe a burgundy-red), and black, while elegant, can also dampen the spirits - especially when one hasn't seen the sun in several days, has to scrape a solid inch of ice off the car at 6AM to get to the office by 8, and gets salty slush all over her skirt and fabulous boots in the parking lot.

Yeah. Who wants grey or black to dampen the mood?

This is why I've become more and more enamoured of chocolate (the colour, not just the food). It's chic and stylish (and slimming in the right shade) without being dour and flat like black, and it's certainly more flattering to one's face than grey or black. Chocolate coordinates beautifully with nearly all colours - red, pinks, greens, blues...I love it!

This lovely handbag from 2 fresh petunias is the perfect way to begin culling the black and grey and adding chocolate to your collection. It's absolutely gorgeous with its tilted-square design and the ruffled bow, and it's beautifully structured as well. How could one not want to carry this around? The print is actually an African fabric, and the ruffly bow sets it off with the perfect amount of ladylike prettiness. And what better way to start out the new year than with...a new handbag?!

That wraps it up for this week. As befits Christmas and spending time with loved ones, I won't be cute-hunting again until Wednesday. Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah to all! Best wishes for a wonderful holiday to each of you!

Merry Christmas!  Happy Hannukah!

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12.21.2006
The Second Best Kind of Convertible




Isn't this a fabulous dress? But it isn't just a dress, it's a vintage dress and jacket set. This turquoise, woven gem has a beautiful neckline as well as the original fabric-covered belt. If you're a vintage nut like me, you know how rare that is! To top it all off, the little cap-sleeved jacket (which zips up in back) sparkles with a rhinestone-knot bow! So pretty, so unique...this is an item that's not just beautiful and attractive, it's still modest and ladylike - and in a colour that's flattering to just about any colouring. Not only that, but this dress can pretty much be worn to events year-round. If I can't have a '53 Corvette convertible, I can settle for this. In fact, admission: I want this so much it almost hurts. (Maybe I'll try to make it for myself. Any pattern suggestions?) So snatch it up before I change my mind and whip out the PayPal. ;)

At Bee's Knees Vintage. Happy shopping!

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12.20.2006
"See No Evil"? Sounds Appropriate!



Saw this one and couldn't resist putting it onto the site. This little "See No Evil" monkey pendant must be at the mall on a Friday night, or perhaps he just happened to be passing out donuts to the paparazzi following Britney Spears around last week (or whenever her anti-panties episode happened). At least the little guy has respect for the girls he sees who've never really realized that respect for themselves - and getting it from others - really does mean covering up so they can be appreciated for themselves. (Warning: I'm sassy tonight.) Regardless, he's cute as heck - and comes in a beautiful decorated tin slide-top box that happens to be as much of a treat as the necklace!

The pendant, suspended from a golden organza ribbon, is a scrabble tile covered with Asian paper. It definitely adds a quirky, fun, charming touch to anything from a pretty dress to jeans and a tee. It can also make a subtle statement, at, say church - if it's like my old one, where the girls wear sheer tops with nothing underneath and mini-minis. ;)

You can get a different colour ribbon if you like, and this piece is a ridiculously good bargain at only $10 - and he ships free if you order anything else from Littleput! The artist has several of these - all with that wonderful Japanese style - via her Littleput Books shop. There are more darling pendants (many of them), and even a photo album made from old Scrabble boards!

Happy shopping!

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12.19.2006
Holiday Elegance


Well, I don't think you can get this beauty in time for Christmas parties, but I'm sure it can be at your doorstep for you to wear to New Year's fetes! It's so lovely and classic, but I think it would beautifully compliment fashion-foreward styles just as well as the traditional ones.

The Austrian crystals and softly green pearls set off the silver cross centerpiece on the bracelet. The cross itself is engraved with "There Is No Other" on both edges - making it a wonderful gift from a man to the woman he loves, or perhaps to one very faithful to God. The cross has Swarovski crystal-studded swirls sort of 'growing' out of it. What I didn't know is that green is considered the colour of faith, the Trinity, and the Holy Grail.

I can't imagine anyone (including you!) being unhappy with this beautiful piece. It's from Virago Creations, where you'll also find earrings, charming bobby pins (oohhhhh, so cute!), and many other sparkling treats.

Happy shopping!

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12.18.2006
Ear Candy



A lot of ladies I know balk at wearing flowers - flower earrings, flower jewelry, et cetera. It just seems to be a little 'old lady' to them, a little dated to others (and after the 80s/90s infatuation with 'country style' decor, is it any wonder some of us were scarred for life?). Fortunately, today's designers - particularly the indie ones - are just fabulously talented when it comes to...well, making the old new and chic again!

Take these lovely Garden Earrings from Purple Papaya. Modern colors and a very pretty but fun design. The flowers are delicate vintage glass and slightly opalized, so they have a little extra shimmer to them. She's added Swarovski crystals, green glass beads to stand in for leaves, and silver, daisy-shaped spacers that were handmade in Bali. The wire and hooks are sterling silver French earwires, but Purple Papaya will also exchange those for kidney earwires or clip-on backs.

She has all sorts of pretty at her store, including these cheerful earrings (I had to point them out - love the plum and lime combo!). Sara has a beautiful, lush gallery of her work here, too.

Happy shopping!

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12.14.2006
Truly Sweet
People (like...Mom) think I'm crazy for not wearing pants. I am exclusively a skirts 'n dresses girl. It's just me - nothing freakish or religious, but I just prefer to be...skirted. Let's face it: there's a level of femininity pants don't offer. Furthermore, and more enticingly, skirts offer cuteness and whimsicality possibilities pants can't even think about without looking like Liza Minelli happily walking down the aisle with Elton John.



Take this delicious velveteen skirt from made with love by Hannah. Can you imagine pants trying to pull this off? Good luck. People will point and laugh.

But in a skirt (obviously in the longer incarnation, not the mini one), it's perfect. (And do I ever want this skirt.) It would look great with a snuggly white sweater...or a red one...or a squareneck cami with red detailing (like this, also by Hannah). I think a fitted denim jacket atop a white cami or fitted white tee would also be cute (and a little more...grown up, I suppose). An angora sweater would be cute, but I suggest a mini anti-fuzz roller just in case. Finish off the look with a pair of tall boots and you're good to go! I suppose this skirt is too sweet for some, but it's so festive and unique I just fell in like the minute I saw it.

Hannah has all sorts of other goodies, so stop in! Happy shopping!

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12.13.2006
Cuddle With Your Earrings. Really.
Despite the 60- and 70-degree weather, we'd all look pretty silly running around in in light cottons and so forth. It's December, for Pete's sake. This is why despite the real lack of need to do so, we're toting scarves around, wearing them over our sweater sets because we don't need coats. There is such a thing as sartorial sensibility.




Now, these Rosie Quartz felt earrings from Pagano Design Works fit the wintery cute bill without leaving you sweating like Antonio Banderas while standing in line to pay for those last-second Christmas goodies. They're a flattering pink with maroonish stitching down the middle, and two pretty beads - one quartz, the other a beautifully coloured freshwater pearl - at the bottom of each. Artist Jenni has used food-safe dyes and sterling silver for the bead wiring and earwires.

Best of all, the earrings are made from a carefully washed and felted silk-wool sweater. Talk about new life! These and other pretties are available at Pagano Design Works. Happy shopping!

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12.12.2006
Holy High Glamour Alert!
If I've not yet mentioned it, I'm a big, big fan of classic movies from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Anyone looking at my wishlist would think I'm a DVD-loving grandma, based on the Grant and Stewart and Garbo and Bogey and so forth. I love the era, I love the style, I love the attitude. Back then, women didn't scoff at red lipstick, they wore it to the supermarket. The good old days.




So, any time I see anything reminiscent of that era, I go a little berserk. If I see something that resembles that era a lot, I go quite berserk, scaring our kitty under the couch and prompting Darling Hubby to offer me chocolate/wine/back rub (yes, yes, and yes please). That was the reaction I had upon seeing this ridiculously amazing Millie scarf at Supermaggie. This is so glamourous, it's heavenly. I hear angels singing. Do you? Grab your smelling salts, ladies, because this is a dreamboat of an accessory.

Isn't this gorgeous? This is not merely a scarf. This is a piece of a saint's wardrobe or something. I can just see Greta wrapping this around those ice-white shoulders, or Joan Crawford haughtily exiting a room as this luscious creature drapes over her arms, or Cary Grant suavely encasing Ingrid Bergman in this. It's delicious and drool-inspiring. (Why, thank you, yes, I'll take that Godiva.)

The colour you see is "Soft Camel", but Supermaggie also offers the Millie in Linen, Tomato, Deep Blue, Frosty Grape, Trash (a sort of blue-green-gray) and Vntage, which is linen, lilac, pink, and chocolate-y plum stripes across the width of the scarf. Very, very pretty, and very, very luxe - it's 100% merino wool, 64" long and 12" wide.

In case this is just too intimidatingly glam for you, Supermaggie understands. We can't all channel our inner Stanwyck on a daily basis, so there is also the Mini Millie - 60" long, 8" wide, but still snuggly Merino wool. Honestly, this is an accessory to last a lifetime. Gents, if your lady is really hard to buy for...I can't imagine your going wrong with one of these beauties.

Happy shopping!

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12.11.2006
You'll Even Look Warm
Really, in a hat this cheerily coloured, you've got no choice! Not being one of those who can actually wear orange, I nevertheless have an affection for this happy colour; furthermore, it's my husband's favourite in the spectrum, and as today is the anniversary of the day we met, I thought it would be nice to pick something in his preferred shade. I can't wear it anywhere near my face lest I look as if I'm wearing a death mask, but isn't it difficult to not feel a little happier looking at a bright, joyful orange?

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This fleece hat will certainly keep you toasty - and in style, with prettily crocheted flowers (including felted beads) adding an extra kick. Not only will you feel warm and have a higher happiness quotient in this cutie, it would take a heart of ancient, long-frozen stone to not feel a little better after seeing you in it on the part of the folks you pass while going about your business.

This hat - and others in varied colours, as she only makes one in each shade - is available at From Belgium With Love. Speaking of joy, happily, international shipping isn't that expensive - $4.60 - and it's less if shipped with other items, like this pretty organza and felt pouch. The artist has funky, hilarious luggage tags, pins, iPod goodies, jewelry, and all sorts of cute, so definitely stop in for a peek!

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12.08.2006
Details, Details
Have you ever read Gone With The Wind? It's one of my favourite books; I think I was 13 the first time I read it. One thing that really stuck out to me - because our culture doesn't place quite as much emphasis on it as we do other things - was how the condition of a lady's hands was very important. Poor Suellen and Carreen whining about their ruined hands after Scarlett made them pick cotton in the fields, Rhett's reaction at Scarlett's hardened, blistered hands when she coquettishly tries to wheedle money from him to save Tara. It was quite foreign to me, but obviously made an impression.



Nowadays, while the condition of a woman's hands are important, it's not a big a deal as, say, how big your implants are and how perfect your hair is. Still, how a lady's hands appear is important enough that it makes a difference - evidenced by the number of women who get very regular manicures and even acrylic or gel tips applied to their hands. Unkempt digits won't necessarily get you relegated to the lower echelons of society, but people do still notice. As they say, God is in the details.

That's why I have an affection for rings. It's totally unnecessary for them to be diamonds (not that I'd complain), as long as they're cute and flattering. Darlybird has just such an item in this vintage Japanese coral ring. It's such a feminine thing, with the little flowers, not to mention a nearly universally flattering colour. The cabochon really is a vintage Japanese piece, and is fitted into a hammered gold- or silver-plated band. According to the website, it fits sizes 6-8 best.

It's the kind of ring that, when worn, would make me a lot more careful of my hands, and lend a certain grace to how I conducted myself that day - after all, one wouldn't want to hurt the jewelry. But really, as any dame can tell you, wearing pretty things just kind of somehow makes one feel more feminine and pretty herself, and that is half of the 'grace' thing right there.

Darlybird is well worth visiting, ring fan or not - she offers goodies for women, men, and the kidlets as well as nesting goodies, stationery, and spa-style goodies. Some of it is just plain fun, too.

Happy shopping!

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12.07.2006
Valentina Brooch
The Star City Sound is one of the hippest new indie shops out there. It's not hard to understand why if you peruse the store - although it is hard to not want at least 60% of the things you see! Owner and designer Sarah is a Kentucky native (one of my favourite states!) living in North Carolina who has only a few college majors less than I did. But all of that educational jumping isn't necessarily bad - it usually denotes a curious, eclectic personality, and judging by Sarah's super-chic work, she certainly fits the bill!



She specializes in jewelry, a vein I'd call modern atomic retro chic. Or in shorter terms, "ridiculously cute". Among my favourite items is the Valentina pin. A red vintage owl bead bedecks a pretty wire-wrapped tree with turquoise and dark chocolate-y leaf beads. Is this darling or what? It can be pinned to clothing, a scarf, a handbag, and I think there has just got to be a way to tuck it safely into one's hair (but I might just be insane). Regardless, it's such a pretty piece, and unique too - you'll be the envy of your friends. Which isn't exactly modest, perhaps, but doubtless you can convince them to just find joy in gazing at Valentina's cuteness? Besides, owls are a classic symbol of wisdom - if I recall, the owl was Athena's token, wasn't it? - and they're quite popular at the moment.

Sarah has created all types of beauty and cute. Get a few goodies from her now before she becomes famous and is priced out of reasonablility at The Star City Sound soon!

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12.06.2006
More Holiday Dresses - Retro Style!
Now, before I get to the cute, I just have to refer all of you to the best fashion blog ever, Dress A Day. And for once, not due to the dresses and the fab pattern I bought because of Erin. No, because she's having a "little" fundraiser for Heifer International. This great organization provides animals like bees, geese, sheep, goats, and yes, heifers, to needy families so they can sustain themselves and perhaps make money with the animal. Erin wants to give ten sheep this year, with the help of her readers - because sheep also provide wool, something that can help these families earn some money. She's already way past her goal of $1200 - in no time at all - and is now just shy of $1500. Won't you help? Every little bit does! Thanks. :)




Well, there's probably always some retro factor here, because I adore retro. But these two lovelies are true vintage! It's only happenstance that one is red and one green - I just think they're both charming, stylish, festive, but still modest and ladylike. *sigh* I miss the fifties. Now, both dresses are actually eBay auctions - from one of my favourite sellers to boot - so be aware that they won't be available after Sunday. If you want one, snap her up now!

The first is a pretty green satin circle dress with a really unique neckline. The skirt is a full circle skirt, but what I really love - other than the poofy skirt, of course - is that fabulous double-dipped neckline. It would set off sparkly holiday jewelry beautifully! The little cap sleeves will prevent you from tugging at the bustline all night, too (that's the worst thing about strapless dresses, and why I'd rather not wear them). This is a flattering dress in a colour that will stick out among all the black.

Our second dress is another full circle skirt beauty, but in cherry red light, floaty-looking fabric - it might be chiffon, but the listing doesn't say. Perhaps I'll email seller Kashute to find out. At any rate, this is definitely a holiday winner (one I'm sorely tempted to snag for myself, thank you). Normally I don't like higher necklines - I like to wear jewelry, and have an irritating tendency to overheat - but this one is fabulous in that we have a sheer, pleated overlay atop the sweeheart bustline. And check out that finishing touch - the belt. What a beauty, and what a hit you'd be showing up at the party in this! Sparkly earrings and a few silvery bangles would look great with this.

What beauties - and without letting it all hang out. I love it. They're sexy without being Paris Hilton or Britney Spears...more like, oh, Doris Day in her torch singer years or Liz Taylor...well, just about anytime. Kashute always has drop-dead gorgeous vintage, the kind that makes you want to blow the grocery money without looking back - and she even manages to find vintage shoes in beautiful, sometimes brand new, condition. Top it off with a great seller rating, and I think you have a safe seller to go to.

Happy shopping!

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12.05.2006
There's Something About A Well-Planned Bag
If there's anything that drives me batty, it's having to dig around in my purse for my ringing cellphone, or a lipstick, or a pen, or...well, you know the drill. That goofy little zip-side pocket in most purses is pointless; if I need my phone, I need it now, darnit! And since there are usually six or more lipsticks floating around in my bag at any given time, whichever one my fingers touch first is unlikely to be the one I actually want. Who hears me?





That's why GlassBeach's handbag tote in Brown Bohemian is such a gem: not only are the pockets functional, there are three of them! Three! One for the gadgets, one for the girlie stuff, and one for...I don't know, your mace or radiation detector or kitty treats. As busy as women are these days, I'm sure you can find something to slip into the third pocket.

The bag is made of wide wale corduroy - I must be on a cord kick, as I'm wrapping up a cord skirt right now in the studio - and the center panel features pretty pink-red line-drawn flowers, tiny shimmery dots, and a loop-button closure. She's lined the interior and fashioned the handles with brown twill, which will easily hold up to daily use.

It's a very pretty bag, and very reasonably priced and beautifully coloured for the season. The truly soft, snuggly cord has been Scotchgarded for additional protection. I imagine any lady would be quite happy to carry this!

Glass Beach's store also features wristlets, card wallets, totes, and of course other purses and handbags. Her work looks wonderfully professional and she uses a variety of patterns, so there is probably something for everyone here!

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12.04.2006
Holiday Pretties


Aren't these Cactus Berries earrings darling? It's not just the festive colours that are likable, but the charming juxtaposition of tiny spheres with the rounded rectangular drops at the bottom. Of course, don't be fooled into thinking these are for winter only - wouldn't they pair nicely with a turquoise sundress?

The spheres actually are turquoise, and the rectangles are moukaite, suspended on sterling silver, and beautifully put together by artist Jen Wallace of Delaware. Her drool-inducing online jewelry store, Tilting Swiftly, has been featured in everything from the National Jeweler Magazine to the Chicago Tribune! She even has an Earring of the Month Club. There's something for your hard-to-please friends!

Best of all - Jen is having a fabulous 15% off sale - and offering free shipping on orders over $25 with the code "holidayfreeship". So hop on over and let your eyes drink in the wide variety of her jewelry, as well as handmade bags and snuggly winter scarves. Happy shopping!

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12.01.2006
A Very Yummy Tee
Ah, this darned Blogger beta. It's been acting funky all day! Why do I insist on posting? Well, in addition to being dedicated...I've got a fabulous cold. Whoopee! Otherwise we'd be at Sewickley's Christmas festival tonight, eating roast chestnuts and taking a horse and carriage ride. But that's no fun when one is obliged to carry around a box of Kleenex, so...anyhow. On to the cute, shall we?



"Yum" is about the best thing I can say about this shirt - for some reason it reminds me of a raspberry truffle. Pink and brown is such a chic combination - if I say so myself, having used those very colours at our wedding in April (with a splash of pale greens for accent and to prevent "fall syndrome"). ;) Michelle Smith takes advantage of this classic mix with her Sophia shirt. The brown ribbed shirt is fitted with a pretty, silkscreened flower design. It's just a little bit off the shoulder, making it great for holiday parties of all sorts as well as general hanging out - maybe an all-out "Cranium" tourney? And, of course, you can add a pretty pale green necklace, or perhaps something in pink or black if it's a more formal event. Best of all, this lovely comes in sizes from small to extra large! And the low price - just $25 - make it a great gift option, too.

Available at Michelle Smith's store. She also sells accessories, stationery, and home goods, as well as donating 10% of each purchase to WILFund, an organization that helps women in impoverished nations become self-employed. Sounds like an all-around good deal to me!

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