The Perfect Dress for my Parisian Getaway...

A few nights ago I found myself wandering around the upper East side... I actually had time to kill, which is unheard of in my world (I was so excited)!  I happened upon this little French restaurant, Brasserie Julien... their logo is "Paris around the corner"... and indeed it was.  I ordered a glass of wine, listened to the jazz and thought about all of the craziness of holiday shopping.  I started laughing to myself about the fact that all of the stores push all of these cold weather gift items on you, but meanwhile they are stocking their shelves with latest resort wear.  The world of fashion... wouldn't it just be easier if we could find pieces that we can wear for most of the year.  Pieces that are timeless and make you feel pretty when you put them on...

Well, I have found one brand that you may or may not have heard of that certainly fits into this category... Tucker by Gaby Basora.  She has the most charming pieces that can be worn in so many different ways... you just feel like a lady when you don something from the Tucker collection.  The collection has a definite vintage vibe, apparent from the moment you open up the website.  It is know for it's beautiful prints and silk the is the fabric of choice.  The clothes are very wearable and would certainly look great on everyone.  When I daydream about some of the Tucker pieces that I would buy, I picture myself strolling along a little street in Paris, sitting in cafe or maybe stopping by the flower market to purchase some flowers that I would effortlessly throw together in some dazzling arrangement... 

My only beef with Tucker is that the pieces are on the more expensive side... so annoying!  However, if you ever did purchase a piece it is definitely a good investment.  These aren't the type of clothes that go in and out of style.  They are staples that can be adapted to fit into any wardrobe, therefore the price could be justified...  Either way, you must take a look at the website... I love it!  I believe I may have a new item(s) to add to my Christmas list...

                                                                      - Allison
*Photos courtesy of tuckerbygabybasora.com


Chunky Knits plus much, much more...

On the brink of the cold "winter" weather tomorrow, all I can think about are cozy sweaters, cute tunics, fabulous belts... anything and everything that has to do with layering!  It might as well snow tomorrow with the outfits that I have planned!  When I get into this mood, I head straight to my computer... "Free People, here I come"... to fulfill all of my clothing fantasies.

You may be wondering about my choice in stores... are they too young???  Well, in general, they do market towards twenty-somethings, but if you look close enough there are many pieces that will fit nicely into your wardrobe.  Plus, the bohemian feel of Free People adds a bit of fun and whimsy (we all need a dose here and there).  Another positive of the store... when you add a piece of their clothing or an accessory, you are not going to look like everyone else.

In general, I love their sweaters, dresses (many can be worn as tunics), and jewelry.  They also have great knit tops and slips to use as your base when layering.  The prices are reasonable (for the most part) and, of course, there are many splurge-worthy items... especially in the jewelry department!  You just have to remember that you are probably not going to wear the items the way they are styled online or in the store.  But, I do recommend checking out the website and just remember to think outside the box a bit... have some fun!  

                         - Allison
P.S. This is a great store for gift items!
*photos courtesy of freepeople.com


A Perfect Gift...

Since we are all in the gift-giving spirit right now, I thought that this would be the perfect time to mention Gorjana jewelry.  I know that I have mentioned her jewelry in a previous post, but that was before I owned her studded leather wrap bracelets... 3 to be exact.  And, I love them!  They are so delicate (but so cool), which makes them perfect for layering and for everyday wear.  I feel like hot stuff (seriously... hot, hot, hot) when I wear them, and I don't have to worry about knocking my daughter in the head with some chunky bracelet (yes, this has happened on occasion)... so what could be more perfect???

Well, not much could be more perfect than that... except giving a gift that someone truly loves!  Okay, since we are all on the same page right now, you must check out Gorjana's jewelry for all of the women that you are buying for this holiday season.  She has very delicate necklaces that are screaming to be layered, cool cuff bracelets, beautiful earrings... some more statement, some very delicate, as well as a bunch of really cool rings (I especially love the cuff ring!).  And, do you want to know the best part (besides these are all very classic, chic pieces of jewelry)... it is all very affordable!  I cannot honestly give you a name of a jewelry designer that has such tasteful pieces at such reasonable price points.

Gorjana's backstory is really cool as well... she was born in Yugoslavia, moved to Canada, became a model and then a jewelry designer (and very recently, handbags too)!!!  I really do believe that everyone has a specific path, although it may be filled with many muddy roads and potholes, eventually she will enter the place that she was always supposed to be... that is how it is with Gorjana... beautiful!

- Allison
*P.S.  Become a fan on Facebook and receive great updates and insider tips on upcoming sales!

*photos courtesy of gorjana.com


I am totally Carrie & I am going to Saks!

This may have to do with the fact that I watched Sex & the City 2 yesterday, either way I am going with it... I felt like I was channeling Carrie Bradshaw last night!  Some might say that I was a bit more Charlotte, but I beg to differ.  Since this discussion could be a post by itself, I better get to my point...

Last night, my Fashion & Finance cohort, spoke at the New York Junior League meeting.  They had their own F & F night in conjunction with Saks Fifth Avenue (I guess we were on to something!).    *Alright, here we are at my Carrie moment... all dressed up, a great event, drinks with the ladies, plus a little time for myself to walk the streets for some inspiration... this couldn't be better!*    And now, back to my story... the F & F event started with my friend, who is a fantastic speaker as well as a very knowledgeable financial advisor.  Then the ladies from Saks spoke... yay!  I love anything to do with fashion!!!

First, I was very interested to learn that Saks has taken on a new initiative to really let people know that they aren't just a high end department store... they are also a "go to" for affordable products and gifts.  I think that this is a great idea as well as very smart move in times like these... people like to buy luxury goods, but they also like to spend wisely and want quality products at affordable prices.  Saks is offering everything from hostess gifts in the $20-$30 range (chocolate shoes, greats soaps, candles... even ornaments) to great ideas for kids that are under $50, as well as fantastic suggestions for the special man in your life (all price ranges!).  I have now learned that I can buy all of my presents at Saks, and I just discovered that they are offering free shipping through Thursday.  Even if you aren't ready to make your purchases in the next two days, I am confident that there will be other free shipping incentives before Christmas. 

Mirror & Pouch... love it!
Fur Trapper Hat... fun, warm & luxurious!
If this wasn't enough, then the women's fashion director of Saks, who has recently been to all of the shows... NY, Paris, London, Milan... I die!, gave us some insight into the trends for Spring 2011.  Now I want to go into this further in another post, but let's just say that Tory Burch was right on the money!  In general, the '70's were a big influence... easy dressing, fit & flare pants, new "midi" lengths, the peasant blouse & dress (belted, of course)... overall some refreshing changes to look forward to this Spring!  

One more exciting piece of news... Saks is unveiling it's holiday windows on Monday!  I have heard they are going to be completely fabulous!!!  Definitely a "must see" this holiday season, so remember to check them out when you head in to see the tree!

                            - Allison
*Note to self... some "to do's"...
       - stick to your holiday budget
       - consolidate your shopping... try Saks
       - start your Spring "must have" list
       - go into the city more... it is only 20 miles away!

*Photos of mirror & hat, courtesy of saksfifthavenue.com


Fashion & Finance

Thursday night was the first official Fashion & Finance event (held at Garden State Plaza's J.Crew), and I would say it was a smashing success!!!  The idea started over a glass(es) of wine with my friend, who specializes in wealth management (she's a genius!)...  It is simple really, get an intelligent group of women together for a night out... share some affordable ideas for updating your style as well as some great tips on financial planning.  Then, the best part... you get to shop with a discount!

We decided to use J.Crew as a venue, not only because we are big fans of the store, but more importantly there is something there for everyone.  Decorative tee's for those who would like to just jazz up their basics, sequined everything for the more adventurous or beautiful costume jewelry... who doesn't love buying a new bauble... sure to always brighten your day.  The beauty of J.Crew is the fact that the brand encourages mixing & matching, wearing things in unexpected ways as well as wearing the same piece in all facets of your life... therefore it is very affordable.  Think about it... you buy the sequined tank for a party, then you could wear it to work under a jacket and later, layer it with a sweater on the weekends!  This is why I love, love, love this store!

For me, I would say the hardest part of prepping for this event was trying to streamline what I wanted to talk about.  I have a bit of a crazy brain (ie. millions of thoughts racing around at any given minute) so I have a little difficulty focusing.  Therefore, any time I walk into J.Crew, I get really excited because there is sooo much to play with.  As you can imagine, my brain goes into overdrive and I just don't know where to begin... that is why I spent many hours in the store in the week prior to the event... just trying to focus!

Well, eventually I figured out... it is all about smart shopping... using what you already have and then adding a touch of sass and sparkle to freshen it up!  Okay then, if I am going to tell everyone else this, I guess that I have to practice what I preach, right?  Ugh!!!  I wanted to buy the entire store, especially because I have another presentation next week, but I refrained and used what I had... played around a bit with texture, casual/formal, found an old belt that seemed to fit my needs... voilĂ ... it worked!  I can officially say that I am doing exactly what I am telling you to do in my presentation... but, I am not going to lie... I would still love to buy everything in the store!

However, I do need to let you know that there are two fabulous belts online that I am drooling over... perfect for spicing up something that you already own....  I am in love!

                             - Allison
*photos of belts, courtesy of jcrew.com



As I drove my daughter to preschool this morning, I was trying to decide what to wear... you must understand that I am not a morning person, and the most I can manage before school are my "comfy clothes" (otherwise known as dressed up jammies).  Why is my decision is so hard today... it is definitely the weather.  It is 40 degrees, gray, windy and spitting half frozen rain.  It is that time of the year where there are more leaves on the ground than on the trees, but I am actually a bit excited because you know the holiday season is just around the corner!

Then, suddenly, as I was mesmerized by the colors of what was left of the Fall foliage... a lightbulb went on!  I have got it!  I want to wear a beautiful floral dress, layered with a tissue t-neck or a gray chunky knit sweater belted over it and, of course, my Frye boots.  Now, I don't own this fabulous dress, but a Ralph Lauren gown came to mind as did many other beautiful designer florals.  It just seemed like a perfect day to wear something that is pretty, feminine and cozy while adding that element of ruggedness. I think that this will be my perfect November outfit... we can all dream, right?!

After all of this daydreaming, I have come to the conclusion that we must all have a Fall floral dress in our closets.  It will be our "go to" on days when we feel a bit down or just need to feel pretty.  Plus, you could dress it up with faux fur and heels for an evening out, or winterize it a bit more and wear it out to dinner after a long day of skiing.  The options are endless.  Most importantly, you can probably find a great dress at Forever 21!  Really you have no excuses, go get your dress!  Me, I think I will be adding one to my Christmas list!

                         - Allison

*photos courtesy of bergdorfgoodman.com & neimanmarcus.com 


An exciting makeover...

For awhile now, there has been quite a void in the market for affordable, fashionable clothing for women about 40 and older.  Now, I am not being an ageist or anything like that, it is just a fact (seriously, when you are 45, you are not going to want to wear a taffeta miniskirt when you go out, are you???).  As we get older our preferences for stylish clothing don't change, it is just some of things that you wore when you were younger just aren't as appropriate anymore (such as shorter hemlines).  Women, in general, tend to prefer more tailored and elegant pieces as they age... classic versus trendy... heavier fabrics that skim the body versus tight, clingy clothing.

The exciting news is that Talbots has stepped up and has begun to fill this void in the market!  "Talbots?!", you say... "my mother wears Talbots."  This isn't your mother's Talbots... or, should I say, this is now your Talbots too!  Talbots has just revamped their line.  They have gone back to their roots and revisited the original vision of founder, Nancy Talbot.  She wrote in a store publication that the clothes in her store are "fashionable but not funky - chic and understated, the hallmarks of good taste."  And, the designers have done a great job of living up to this vision!

So what exactly is Talbots doing differently?  Well,  they have taken many of the current trends... sequins, lace, chunky knits, leopard print, etc... and used them in the design of tailored, timeless shapes that are very flattering for women of every age.  And, fear not, those of you who love all of Talbots basics... they are still there, the fit has just been updated.  In general, the clothes are more tailored to a woman's body now... the days of the boxy shirt or jacket and the pants that have no shape are gone.  No matter what you wear, the fit is the most important factor in any piece of clothing that you own.

My advice to you... go take a look at Talbots... a far cry from "your mother's store"!

                                                                 - Allison
*all photos courtesy of talbots.com


Are you label crazy???

Who doesn't love to wear a label... Tory Burch flats, a Burberry quilted coat, a Louis Vuitton or Gucci bag... I could go on and on.  I am not going to lie, I love my Louis handbag and I have definitely had my eye on a pair of leopard print Tory wedges, but when does it get to be too much?

Burberry coat... so cute, but is it too much?

Let's face it, these labels are status symbols.  For most of us, we dream about owning (for example) a Chanel quilted handbag. Then, one day, after many years of pouring blood, sweat & tears into saving money for this above said bag... we can finally buy it!  Oh, the joy!!!  Of course we want to flaunt it, who wouldn't?!  But there does come a time when too many labels can take you from chic to a wannabe... no joke.   Now, I don't want to offend anyone, this is just something that I have observed and mulled over for a bit... this is my conclusion.

Beautiful bag, but are you buying for the logo?

For example, I recently saw a very cute woman wearing Tory flats, a Tory belt (also with a large insignia), a large Louis handbag and a Burberry coat complete with a plaid collar and cuffs.  Then, the other day at the store, I saw another really well-dressed woman in the checkout line holding her Louis wallet, a very large Chanel bag (I was a bit jealous) and Prada boots (how did I know they were Prada, because it was written right on the top of each boot)!  Do you see what I mean?  It just gets silly after awhile.  We get it, you have a lot of money, or you are buying great fakes!  A stylish woman does not need labels to be fabulous.

Gucci aviators... sexy & subtle

So, the next time you are going to buy an investment piece, stop yourself for a minute and think... am I buying this just for the logo, or are you completely in love with this handbag, jacket, shoe, etc.???  Just remember, the most chic and elegant ladies are usually the ones who are not wearing really visible labels, or wear them sparingly.  The most important factors should be the fit, shape, the details, "is it a classic?"... cultivate your own personal style instead of defaulting to the status pieces.

The YSL Muse bag... this is an investment piece!

Now that I have finished my rant, I still want my Tory wedges, but I will be careful what I wear them with (when I get them)... it is all about what is right for you!

                    - Allison

* photos courtesy of berfdorfgoodman.com, toryburch.com & ruggedelegantliving.com


Another Reason to Love Burberry...

Who doesn't love Burberry???  I know that you all either own something with the trademark plaid, or you would love to own something... myself, I am dying for the classic Burberry trench as well as the most beautiful bag that I saw in the window the other day...  Anywho, since I can't buy my beautiful bag, I will survive with my new Burberry makeup!!!

The makeup is what I am so excited to tell you about!  I read an article about the launch of the makeup line several months ago.  After reading Christopher Bailey, the creative director, talk about the makeup and how it relates to the Burberry brand, I was sold... I had to try it.  He explained how it was a very natural looking makeup line.  Not too dramatic, just the right shades to brighten you up your face and enhance your natural beauty.  Imagine yourself in the English countryside for the weekend... wearing tweed jackets, comfy wool sweaters, wellies... walking through the fields, riding horses, etc... what would your makeup look like?  That is where Burberry comes in... it is fabulous!

A little taste of the clothes...
My bag... I die!
Such a great mix of classic & edgy...

Now, I do love the entire concept of the makeup line, but it is the lipstick that I got really excited about!  (I didn't have time to try everything... going back in a few weeks for the works... I'll let you know how it goes.)  Personally, I have been trying to find the perfect lip color that is a mix between a stain and a lipstick.  I like having a bright pop on my lips without doing the perfect pout, using liner, etc.  So, I have tried many different brands... glosses, pots, lipsticks, etc.  Nothing was quite right.  Then, hello, Burberry!  From the minute I put it on, I knew it was right.  It is creamy, but has a bit of a glossy look.  And, it isn't drying.  It doesn't have that heavy lipstick feel, and it is not slippery like gloss.  You do not need a pencil and can even apply with your finger as a stain, if you prefer.  Sheer perfection!

The packaging is also great... it makes you feel special!  The plaid is on everything... compacts, caps even the makeup itself.  Seriously, you must try!  A little on the expensive side, but I am feeling that is completely worth it!  Go try for yourself (available at Nordstroms)... let me know.

                         - Allison

*photos courtesy of burberry.com & makeupandbeautyblog.com


Get the adrenaline pumping...

My pre-race jump!

 Well, this isn't your usual fashion write-up, but it is an awesome experience that I highly recommend!  I am talking about a race that I ran in a few weeks ago, the Warrior Dash.  Now, this isn't your run of the mill 5k... it is a bit more of an obstacle course where the muddier you get, the more you are revered!

The infamous mud pit!

Let's just say that when a friend of mine brought up the idea of running, I thought this was the best idea ever... however, that was over birthday drinks!   Then, the next day when I looked up the race (and the course) I started to have second thoughts.  Let's just say that I am not one that likes to get dirty.  A good sweat is okay, but mud... no way!

Alright, so I committed.  I started "training", felt great and then we put our house on the market and moved over the summer.  Running was not my top priority.  The day of the race comes, I hadn't run in 6 weeks, but I figured I can handle 3.25 miles, no problem!  However, when you walk in to the base of Windham mountain (that's right, our race took place on a SKI mountain!!!) I started to freak out a bit!

The start of the race... complete with torches!

I forgot to mention that this race is only part of the day, after you run there is plenty of beer, music and crazy people who decided to dress up for the run!  So, after the first heat started, the torches were going off (at the start of the race), the music was blaring and we decided to jump into a giant "pillow" (I think this is what stunt people use)... I finally felt my blood pumping... I was ready to go!

Ready to run!

Then, it was our turn... we lined up, we counted down, the torches started flaring and I began running up the mountain.  This is when I realized that I should have been running for the past 6 weeks!  The first half of the race is up the mountain with a few obstacles mixed in, but once you make it to that point you think you are in the clear... until you come to the water!  This is when it hits you... you must embrace the whole experience and just jump... there is no going back now!

So, I did.  I thought I was going to die going up the mountain.  Then, I got in the water, and I really thought I was going to die!  It was at least chest deep and soooooo cold!  I could barely breathe.  You just have to force yourself through.  The group of people that you are running with as well as the people cheering you on really help!  Once I climbed out, I felt so good!  I was so proud of myself... I could do anything after that!   And believe me, I did!  I ran through the woods, the mud, down a mountain, face first on a slip 'n slide into mud, jumped over fire, and at the end... I went through the mud... on my hands and knees!  

The fire... slip 'n slide is in the background...

That's it the race is over.  I am covered in mud, soaking wet, I got my medal and I am so happy!  It was so much fun!  So much fun, that I am planning on running in two of these next year!  The sense of accomplishment is intoxicating... not to mention after you try to rinse as much mud off as possible, and change your clothes... the beer tastes so good!

Warrior Dash Champs!

I was one of 15,000 people who ran that weekend.  Why?  It has to be for the escape.  Escaping the daily responsibilities of adulthood, while you get to run, climb, get dirty, etc... just like being a kid again.  Plus, it is such a fun environment!  Everyone is pumped up, supportive and ready to have a good time!  I highly recommend to everyone looking for a little adventure!

Some of the runners...

And on a style note, it is best to wear dark colors... unless you want everyone to know how muddy you were by the end.  And, dri-fit clothes are the best!  They help when you are soaking wet with half the race to go!

                                                                   - Allison

Grace & Emma