Thursday, March 31, 2016

Casual, Convertible Travel

Later today I'm flying from Glasgow to Malaga, where the temperatures are considerably sunnier and warmer than they are here. This always poses a problem at this time of year. You can't really run around in Scotland in open toe shoes for very long (although I've done it before when catching a flight, and it was brutal), so I always try to come up with some casual kind of convertible outfit that will play on both sides of the flight, yet have minimal pieces to change-out.

I like that slouchier, more casual looks are coming back into vogue, because it makes this kind of dressing so much easier than back when skin tight jeans were the thing. And do not even utter the word leggings to me. No. Leggings are for yoga, and wearing under your tennis skirt when it's cold. I don't think I could bear walking down the aisle of a plane in leggings. I am of the leggings are not pants school of thought.

But I digress. Just like our parents always told us (right after the whole thing about 40% of your body heat leaving the body through your head, which turned out not to be true!), the key to surviving such drastic climate changes is layering.

Here, I've used my black flutter-sleeve draped tee and a pair of cropped jeans as the "base" . A lightweight cotton cardigan (which will also work well at night in a warmer climate), and a change of shoes, and that's basically it. Oh, and a ponytail. Because I used a blowdrier today for the first time in months, and now my hair is massive. So best not to turn your back to it, try and move really slowly,  and whatever happens, do not look directly at it, because it will see that as a challenge and attack. Just stay nice and calm and still, and eventually it will get bored and move on.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

B.Y.O.S. (Bring Your Own Sunshine)

This weekend sort of marks the beginning of the deluge of tourism that sort of defines the warmer part of the year here on the west coast of Scotland, and in classic form, the rain has been steadily falling since late last night. I thought I had a dry moment and went outside to shoot this, but the Gods of Weather and Mischief must have seen me, because it immediately started raining again. Luckily, I was able to move quickly and get it done. So all the more reason to bring your own sunshine, I guess. While it's still not quite warm enough to be wearing this look without a coat, we're getting there. Slowly. 

This look is really only a "look" because of the color (and maybe the pattern of the trousers). It's quite simple, and if you were to take the color away and trade it for black or grey, you would likely get bored quickly and slip into a coma by the end of this paragraph. 

I like yellow with blue, and I find that mixing a bright yellow with a bit of a softer blue, like this periwinkle, softens a look a bit and gives it less of a nautical vibe which tends to have sharper edges and more defined shapes. This sweater (a gift from my Mom, thanks Mom!) is very slouchy, so I thought it would best be paired with a blue that was a little softer. The shoes are a few seasons old, but I love them. Kitten heels and pointy toes…straight outa the 90s

Some silver jewelry to finish it off, and that's that. Simple, easy, and super-sunny in a place that currently, is so not.

Gap cotton-linen sweater (old), similar / Kenar trousers (last season), similar / Chinese Laundry shoes (old), sorta similar / Barca turquoise ring (old), similar / Sterling cuff (old), similar / sterling star drop earrings (via TK Maxx), similar

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ostara at last!

Ostara is one of the names given to the Spring or Vernal Equinox, which occurs on the 21st of March. While thoroughly-referenced academic information on the matter is actually kind of patchy, It is widely believed that Ostara was a Germanic folk deity that was a Goddess of Spring. Legend has it that the Saxon version of Ostara was called Eostre, and that one winter Eostre found an injured bird, whom she transformed into a hare in order to save it from the cold. Apparently the hare did not fully transform, and was still able to lay eggs, which the hare would then decorate and leave as gifts for the Goddess.

Eggs are a universal symbol of fertility, and back in the pre-Christian days, most people would have lived by the almanac, with the egg symbolising the beginning of the fertile growing season during their Spring festivals. It's believed that the Christian church absorbed these symbols of the pagan festivals into their own narrative in order to lure the pagan population into the fold of the church and stop practicing the "old ways". Hence the similarities, or so the story goes.

Regardless of what your personal beliefs are, the message is the same; the Spring Equinox is seen as a time for the reawakening of the earth, growth and new possibilities.  And of course, for those of us who simply cannot stand the thought of putting on that dark, winter wool sweater one more time or we're simply going to lose our s**t, I'm serious you guys, I'm not joking….the Spring Equinox is one of the most welcome events on the yearly calendar. 

So much so, that the very minute that the temperatures get warm, we tend to go a little nuts and get out all the warm weather gear and start wearing it immediately, if not inappropriately (see my freezing cold feet in open toed shoes..not warm enough for these yet by a long shot). However, appropriateness notwithstanding, I felt that this was as good an opportunity as any to show off my new/old (by which I mean secondhand) silk tunic, originally from J. Crew, which is a perfect top for Ostara / Eostre Month / Easter, or whatever your thing is. 

silk J. Crew tunic (secondhand), similar  / Jag skinny jeans (old), similar / thrifted shoes, similar, Hagit Gorali ring (similar designs)

shared with: Not Dead Yet Style, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish

Monday, March 14, 2016

How to Rip Your Pants in Italy

Greetings my fashion-loving readers! I'm back from my ski holiday in Canezei (the Dolomites, Italy) and I'm rested, well-fed (really well-fed), and ready to pick up where we left off before I bolted for the slopes and left you holding the sartorial baby.

While you may be thinking that the sly grin on my face is because I ripped my ski trousers in a super-glamorous accident on the slopes involving a chiseled Italian ski instructor and a bottle of Ferrari Spumante, you would be mistaken - but I'll get to that in a minute.

I try to pretty much stick to a fashion-and-beauty-only format here on the blog, but I do occasionally stray-off into the realm of travel and food, and this is one such occasion. I suppose it's inevitable when you spend as much time in transit as I do. There are however, some things in life that are just worth shouting-out, and this past week definitely had an abundance of those things. To prove my point, I give you exhibit A.

After a massive 24-hour dump of snow, we were set-up nicely for the week, and the weather steadily improved to become the glorious spectacle that you see there.

But enough about that. Let's talk about the food. Oh. My. Gaaawd. How much did I eat!? The week was basically one big, long bacchanalian feast, and I have at least as many pictures of food as I do of skiing. Probably more. But there was one place in particular that caught our fancy; so much so that we were in there every single night, either for dinner or for apr├ęs-ski, which then would usually turn into dinner. Yes, I'm embarrassed to admit that there were nights that we clomped in there in our ski gear right off of the piste and just never left.

Osteria La Montanara is located at Via Dolomiti 147 in Canazei. If you are looking for really well-prepared, delicious, unpretentious food and amazing wine that will make you question everything you thought you knew about anything (two words: Valpolicella ripasso), look no further than this place.

In case you're unfamiliar with the whole Italian eatery thing, an osteria is historically a more casual, inexpensive dining experience where once upon a time, you could expect to find the place crowded with locals. A step above the osteria would be the trattoria, and of course above and beyond that, the ristorante. These days, there is a lot of blurring of lines with these designations, but it's a good guideline nonetheless if you're trying to decide where to eat in a pinch. Basically, the bottom line is this; if you're going to be all fancy-pants about it and demand a reservation and a lot of quiet so you can eat your meal in the tomb-like silence that so many diners seem to think is required in order to eat a meal, you should keep walking. This place is crowded and buzzing, and there may very well be more than a few people still in their ski gear at midnight having not yet conjured the will to put the wine glass and the fork down and walk away.

The staff here are beyond gracious and professional, despite what can become a very hectic serving environment, and by the end of the week, despite having every reason to want to murder us where we stood (pretty much in their way all the time), we actually felt like we had made a friend or two along the way.  My husband bonded with the Chef over all things Scottish, and it was really great getting to know more about his point of view on his food, business, and life in general. He didn't even give me too much side-eye for my vegetarianism, and made sure I had plenty of grilled veggies, mushrooms, and polenta to keep me from falling off my perch. Vegetarianism is not so much a thing in this part of the world, as was pointed-out to me by the guy from one of the local specialty food shops who practically chased me down the road waving a giant slab of speck and yelling "You cannot beeeee a vegetarieeeeeen in EEEEETALY!"

I don't know when it happened. I can see how it happened, but I still cannot put my finger on the exact moment when it happened. All I can tell you is this; at some point in the evening of one of our last nights in Canezei, we were at a table at Osteria La Montanara when I felt a cool breeze…right around the region of my parte posteriore. I casually ran my hand across my derriere and realized that my beloved Rag & Bone skinny jeans had split like Moses and the parting of the sea.

I have absolutely no idea how long they had been like that (although one of the members of our party would later tell me that he thought he had noticed it before we ever left the apartment !?!?), but I had been potentially parading around Osteria La Montanara like this all…night…long.  Back and forth to the bar. Back and forth to the loo... scooting past other patrons who were seated and therefore right at eye-level...scooting past Sexy Bearded Italian Waiter Guy with a shy "scusami" while the only bright white knickers I brought on the trip screamed forth from the gap at the back of my jeans.

You know what? Totally worth it.

If anything, the experience boils down to two important points:
  1. Never, ever buy factory second jeans, even if they are limited edition Rag & Bone, no matter how much you love them. 
  2. Osteria La Montanara is so good, it will blow the derriere right out of your pants. For real. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Trend Alert: OTK Cowboy Boots

I happened upon this article in Vogue Magazine's online edition (where these photos are from), and I found myself drawn to these boots. I have no idea why. I have never been a big wearer of traditional cowboy boots, if only by virtue of the fact that they're only comfortable after you've worn them approximately 417.3 times. Sure, if I ever found The Perfect Thrifted Pair I would snap them up, but its not really something I think about. Or, at least it wasn't until I saw these.

They are impractical, completely OTT (a bit on the camp side), would probably cause some kind of awkward thigh-chafe requiring an ointment or creme, yet I cannot stop looking at them. What is wrong with me?

Plus, they're as uncomfortable as they look - or so says the author.
Manoeuvring is an issue. Until you've broken-in the leather, you will have to adapt your walking style to John Wayne's. That said, in Pret A Manger no-one bats an eyelid.
No one bats an eyelid, unless you count the two people in the background who are clearly staring at her. But still. I would totally go there. How about you?

Oh, and I suppose you've noticed I've been a bit absent of late. I've been literally running from one thing to the next in preparation for our ski holiday which starts at 4am tomorrow when the alarm in this hotel room goes off. Italy this year, and I'm completely excited to try a new place we usually go to France). I've packed this Missoni sweater as well as this one, as well as this Prada top. You know, because Italy.

Anyway, check out the OTK cowboy boots and visit the article in Vogue and tell me what you think. Are they compelling or have I completely lost my mind?