Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tickled Pink

I think that one of the most surreal, hilarious and absurd moments I have had as a "fashion blogger" was going to the famous, dare I say infamous, "Pink Wall" at Paul Smith on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. When my husband saw this wall online he said, "what's the big deal? It's just a wall painted pink." Well, apparently it is a very big deal! I thought it would be fun to check out the wall one day because we were in the neighborhood eating at Shake Shack and it was only a few minutes away. When we arrived, we were greeted by a "Rules of Conduct" sign, which you will see in the last photo, in addition to several bloggers/Instagramers already lining the wall to take pictures. I was about 90% sure that one of the Instagramers was a former student of mine (eek!), so I went inside the store to shop for a while with my husband. When we came out, the number of people coming to take pictures had actually quadrupled! It was like a black holeactually a pink holesucking everyone who is involved with social media into its abyss!

Upon seeing this pink wall, I was reminded of the artist Yves Klein, who had his International Klein Blue color, a unique color of blue that he never patented but did numerous paintings with, including a performance piece with models doused in the paint and used as human paintbrushes. If Yves Klein can have his blue, why can't Paul Smith and bloggers have their pink? I have to admit, even though it is, as my husband says, "just a pink wall", it is a rather beautiful shade of pink that has an immense visual impact, so I get the appeal. Artists such as Klein and Mark Rothko have suggested with their work that colors can have a powerful impact on the human psyche...or just make for really great blog/Instagram pics!

I would title the photo below: Katie, Contemplating the Pink Wall. Actually, while we were here, two women on vacation approached my husband and me and asked "Is this a famous wall?" They seemed really amused by it and we just played it off like we were not intentionally here, even though that was a lie! There was also a man posing for a photo with his dog, which made me wish William was better behaved so he could have his moment in the pink limelight, although red is more his color!

Skirt: Kate Spade (outlet) similar "leopard dot" styles below
Shirt: Target
Shoes: Kate Spade
Bag: Louis Vuitton Epi Alma
Sunglasses: Prada here

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Charmingly Charleston

Over the last couple of weeks I have been sharing some of the outfits I wore on vacation in Charleston, but since I took hundreds of pictures of the lovely scenery, sites and my personal favorite, historic homes of the area, I thought I should share those too. Earlier I wrote about my husband's strict agenda and schedule for touring the city, which really paid off because we were able to pack in so much during our brief stay. Below you will see some of my favorite photos from our trip and I am also sharing some of my suggestions about visiting the city for those of you who might plan on taking a vacation to Charleston in the near future, which I highly recommend!

Below you will see some pictures of historic downtown of Charleston. There are so many historic palmetto-lined streets and lovely homes and buildings to admire. We were lucky enough to take tours of five of these homes, which is something I truly recommend if you ever visit the city. It's amazing to see the care, time, and money that goes into the restoration of these homes, many of which date back to the 18th century before the United States existed. It's also amazing to be in houses where so much history took place. For example, we toured a house where George Washington stayed for a week and walked the same staircase he did. If you are a history buff like my husband, this city is truly for you!

If you travel just a little ways outside downtown Charleston, you will also discover several lovely plantations. One such plantation, Boone Hall, is home to the longest avenue of oak trees in the country, as you see below. It truly makes for a spectacular and grand entrance! In addition to the oak trees and lovely gardens, one can tour the colonial revival plantation house, picturesque gardens, and the grounds that still produce crops such as strawberries, peaches, and cotton. Also, if you are a fan of the movie The Notebook, it, along with other films and TV series were filmed here. (Believe it or not, I have yet to see The Notebook. Sorry, Ryan Gosling!)

Another plantation we visited was Magnolia. This is a wonderful place for families, as there is a petting zoo, wildlife tours and other family friendly activities going on all day. I think my favorite thing about Magnolia plantation was this red bridge that looks like the one where my husband and I were married. I made my husband renew his vows to me on the bridge here! (I guess, even though I haven't seen The Notebook, I am a hopeless romantic at heart!)

Here are some of my recommendations for things to do, see and eat in the Charleston area if you ever find yourself in that neck of the woods. I hope to go back to finish up the things on our itinerary that we didn't get to!

Stay: The John Rutledge Inn Bed and Breakfast
This amazing historic house is within walking distance of almost everything in historic Charleston. Not only will you be served a delicious breakfast of your choosing each morning in the location of your choosing, there is also an elegant ballroom where tea, brandy and appetizers are served in the afternoon and evening. The staff is also extremely friendly and accommodating.

Eat: Halls Chophouse 
Almost every local I talked to in Charleston raved about the new "foodie" scene in Charleston. While there are many exquisite restaurants featuring a variety of cuisines, most of which we were unable to sample due to our short stay, I am a fan of classics, especially good old fashioned steakhouses, which is exactly what Halls is. Halls will treat you like family. (They even sent us a handwritten thank you note after our visit!) Even though Halls sticks to classic steakhouse fare, they definitely elevate it to the next level with a large variety of cuts and kinds of steaks and chops and sides from which to choose. For example, I ordered a bison fillet with truffles and a cast iron skillet of pepper jack creamed corn as a side and both were exquisite. (I couldn't finish either, so we took them to go.)

See: Boone Hall Plantation and Rainbow Row
I think one my husband's favorite parts of the trip were all the historic forts we visited. (Okay, we only saw two forts, but it seemed like a lot to me!) However, I am someone who likes colorful and aesthetically pleasing things, so the stretch of colorful homes called Rainbow Row was more my style. We both enjoyed touring the exquisite home and gardens of Boone Hall, which was right up both our alleys. I didn't include any pictures of the forts here, as I didn't think they'd be of much interest to my readers, but you can view pictures of Rainbow Row by seeing my post Strolling Through Rainbow Row.

Do: Ride in a Rickshaw
When we first arrived in Charleston, we couldn't believe two things: how bad the heat and humidity were and all of the rickshaws taking tourists from place to place in the city. The concierge recommended one rainy evening that we take a rickshaw to our restaurant. At first I was reluctant, but it turned out to be a fun way to see the city, avoid the rain/humidity somewhat and get the inside scoop from a local.  I give major props to the guys who pull the rickshaws on their bikes, especially given the heat and humidity, which is why I would also suggest being generous in your tip!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

That Popsicle Dress

This is the last of my "outfit posts" from my vacation to South Carolina. I mentioned this in a previous post, but for the hot and humid weather in Charleston, you definitely can't beat a simple sleeveless dress to keep cool! At first, this simple shirt dress from Anthropologie might look relatively unassuming, but upon closer inspection there are some seriously cute popsicles adorning the fabric. I saw a few other bloggers posing with this dress and eating popsicles on their blogs and, truth be told, given the weather, I sure wish I had one handy as we were strolling the streets of Charleston when these photos were taken! Actually, I did get a free snow cone at one of the plantations I went to, which was very refreshing and the price was right! (I did, however, almost get the snow cone all over my dress, which is one of the drawbacks to wearing white!)

Despite the obvious danger of stains, the great thing about wearing white is that it's a blank canvas that lends itself to numerous options for styling. Even though this dress has a pattern, it is essentially a pretty basic white dress that could be styled in numerous ways. I decided to style it with pops of pink and purple to accentuate the popsicles in the print. Below I have selected a few adorable white dresses for summer and some fun accessories that would go hand in hand with the dresses just like popsicles go hand in hand with hot weather!

Dress: Anthropologie here and different dress featuring popsicles here
Sandals: J. Crew
Bag: Coach  similar here
Sunglasses: Prada similar purple style sunglasses here

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Shifty Stripes

Summer is always a fun time for me to try new things. This is because I'm not working, so I have plenty of time on my hands, plus I tend to feel more creative and inspired. Trying new things often includes going to new areas to try new restaurants and explore new places but it also means trying new styles in my wardrobe that I might not feel so free to experiment with because I am more focused on "professional" attire during the school year. This adorable striped shift dress is definitely not something I would wear to work, but it is absolutely perfect for a hot summer day of strolling through a new area, going to a new restaurant and discovering a new location.

Originally, I wanted to wear this dress to stroll along the beach and pier in Santa Monica, which is on my "summer to do list". Unfortunately, one of the freeways was closed due to roadwork this weekend, so Santa Monica was completely out of the question. (I'll save that adventure for another day when the traffic isn't so crazy!) Luckily, I found these adjoining blue and orange walls that matched my dress perfectly. Like the color scheme of the stripes on my dress, they "shift" from orange to blue!

Dress: c/o SheIn here
Shoes: J. Crew similar silver sandals here and here
Bag: Louis Vuiton Alma in Turquoise similar turquoise style here
Sunglasses: similar purple shades here
Necklace: ASOS similar hot air balloon necklace here and charm version here

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Strolling Through Rainbow Row

My husband and I have very different approaches to vacationing, which I suppose translates into different styles to approaching life in general. Take, for example, our recent trip to Charleston, SC this summer. Before we left, my husband had printed a two-page itinerary of places to see, complete with hours, addresses and directions. I am more like, "let's just meander around, get lost and see what we discover" type of person. But, as the old adage goes: opposites attract and I think there is probably something to gain from both approaches. The one thing I did plan (in fact, it was so important that I added it to my husband's itinerary when he wasn't looking) was to visit a strip of colorful, historic homes in Charleston known as "Rainbow Row".

So, obviously, on the day we went to Rainbow Row, I had to wear something colorful like this rainbow skirt from Alice and Olivia. Although it is a midi length skirt and made out of somewhat thick material, I imagine it was much more comfortable than what women during the 18th and 19th century would wear strolling the streets of Charleston. On one tour of a historic house in the area, the docent, dressed in mid-19th century garb, told us that women during the time were not allowed to reveal their ankles and if a gentleman happened to see them, it was his obligation to propose marriage! Well, no one proposed to me after seeing my ankles on Rainbow Row, but it is the 21st century!

Below you will see the rest of my pictures from Rainbow Row. The word "stroll" implies a certain leisureliness, but truth be told we were actually sticking to a schedule (my husband's, of course) in which we had to get to a tour of a house within 15 minutes of arriving at Rainbow Row. I hope the pictures look effortless and carefree, but in reality we were on a tight schedule!

Skirt: Alice and Olivia On sale here
Shirt: H&M
Belt: Target
Sandals: J. Crew
Bag: Coach Similar here
Sunglasses: Prada Similar purple style here