Monday, November 30, 2009

Hitting the Motherlode

I bought a pound of Mother Lode French Roast coffee at Berkeley Bowl last week and it is my new favorite. The flavor is amazing and the roast is super dark, but not overly acidic.

You can find a list of retailers carrying this brand on the website or order directly via the online store.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Hate Perfume

I am always looking for that unique scent or perfume that will wear well and not give me a headache. I was exited to find CB I Hate Perfume during a quick trip to Dish in San Francisco.

These scents created by perfumer and artist Christopher Brosius are exciting and different from the usual perfume and can be used as personal or home fragrance. All scents are available as essential oils or spray and both are alcohol free.

I bought Burning Leaves ($60) which sounds strange, but reminds me of my country house with the smell of maple leaves and fires in the fireplace. I wish that Dish carried a wider selection because there are so many of these I would like to try. In the Library was also tempting, but I wish they had had Russian Caravan, Cedarwood Tea or M3 November which all sound amazing.

Retro Gifts for the Photo Buff

Digital technology has made it easy for even the amateur photographer to achieve amazingly perfect shots. That's probably everything old school and imperfect is so popular right now. Here's some retro-inspired photography accessories and equipment for that photo enthusiast on your list.

Lo-fi Digital

This Diana lens and adapter for Canon DSLR ($60) is absolutely genius. Now you don't have to switch between film and digital to achieve the look of a Diana camera. Dianas are known for their low saturation, soft surreal blurs, and unpredictable colors and now you can achieve that same look with your DSLR camera. Available from Photojojo.

Blackbird, Fly
This plastic twin-lens reflex camera ($140) is a remake of the Japanese design developed in the 1920's with one lens for the view-finder and one for shooting. This camera uses 35mm film but also allows you to shoot in square format as well. LIke the Holga or Diana, this plastic TLR will give you unpredictable results, varied colors, etc. Available in a rainbow of colors from the SF Moma store.
Fuji Instax Instant Camera

Digital is cool, but sometimes you want the immediacy of a physical photo. This next generation poloroid from Fuji ($90) will print credit card sized photos on demand. Camera comes with a built-in flash, wide angle lens and multiple exposure settings. Film is about $10 for 20 exposures. Available from Photojojo.

Retro Camera Straps

I still have my 70's woven tapestry camera strap for my Canon SLR. You can find vintage straps on eBay or check out these new straps with that vintage look for your DLSR camera. The Boneca Linda shop on Etsy features a variety of woven straps like this madison strap ($35) at right.

I've blogged about Kat Straps before. These straps are handmade by a weaver named Kat and are available in all kinds of colors and cool designs like strap #28 at the left for $38, but all of her designs are amazing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Slipper Round-up

Now is the time to stock up on slippers because after the holidays it is extremely hard to find a pair. Here's a few that I'm considering in my search for the perfect winter foot-warmer.

Boiled Wool

I love the simplicity of these colorful boiled wool slippers ($60) from Garnet Hill. Made in Germany with latex soles so you can go outside with them. Unfortunately the orange ones (my favorite) are no longer available, but if you happen to like pink or blue these look great.

Knit Booties
These cozy knit booties ($69) from Viva Terra are hand-made by a small group of indigenous people in South America. Made of cotten and wool with agave fiber soles for slip protection they are available in natural or grey.

Duvet Slippers
These quilted nylon slippers ($19.95) from Baffin are like mini-duvets for your feet. More like slippers than socks since they do not have a rubber sole, these slippers look comfortable and easy to pack for those weekend ski trips. Available in a variety of colors such as espresso, fern, merlot and black (pictured).


I'm a little bit tired of the ubiquitous suede Ugg boots, but I love these Ugg sweater slippers ($80) with a cool cable knit exterior and the warm and cozy sheepskin inside. Available in brown or creme from Bloomingdales.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wrap it Up

Here's a few uncommon wrapping supplies to make your gift stand out this holiday.

Vintage ribbons

These grograin ribbons ($28 for set of 5) from Sundance Catalogue Company evoke Christmas's of yore. Each spool comes with 10 yards of ribbon and set features 5 different colors/patterns.
This Japanese masking tape ($27 for set of 6) would dress up any plain wrapping paper. Set features 6 origame patterns in a cardboard dispenser.

This red and white striped string ($35) from Bell'occhio minds me of Paris for some reason. I can just image boxes of sweets tied up with string like this. Also available in black and white.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hostess gifts

'Tis the season of holiday parties and gatherings not to mention Christmas gift-giving. I'm trying to be a bit more organized this year and start early. Here are some ideas for hostess gifts or Christmas gifts in the home and entertaining theme.


The Raj Teapot ($45) from Sundance is a beautiful reproduction of the teapots used by the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company on voyages between Bombay to London in the early 1900's.

In antique silver plate over brass, with nickel plate interior. The set comes boxed and would be a great gift alone or with an assortment of fine teas.


These hand embroidered and handwoven napkins ($18 for 4) from Pakistan are simple enough to compliment a range of styles from modern to bohemian.

What's even better is that each purchase supports snow leopard conservation and improves the livelihood of impoverished nomadic herding communities.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

A hand-carved Mexican molinillo ($14), or frother, would make a great gift packaged with bowls and some Ibarra mexican chocolate. Include a recipe for Mexican hot chocolate and some instructions for using the frother.

These latte bowls ($30 for 6) from Anthropologie come in a great palette of colors and would be great for hot chocolate.

Rootbeer for Grownups

I love rootbeer so I cannot wait to try Root ($39). Based on old root tea medicinal infusions that date back to the 1700's this 80-proof liquor would be a great addition to anyone's liquor cabinet.

Serve it alone, in cocktails or even or ice cream. Comes with a history of the beverage and recipe.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I am still mourning the loss of Domino Magazine and Blueprint. However, I am now somewhat mollified by the launch of the new online magazine Lonny.

Created by some of the former staff members from Domino this online mag offer a similar experience with pages that turn and loads of beautiful images and photos. An added benefit is that you can click on something that interests you and get taken right to the website.

I was especially drawn to the country house spread. Love the use of antlers as a towel rack in the bathroom and the old skirted sink--a great mix of rustic and refined.

There's plenty of content to dig into in the first issue and lots of inspiration for the house as well as personal style. Look for the next issue out in December!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hot Line

What is old is new again with these amazing vintage rotary phones ($198) that have been restored and painted in vibrant primary colors.

Perfect for that retro 70's vibe. These phones are available in red, orange, yellow and green from Get 'em while they're hot!

Note: these phones will only work with standard land lines. They will not work with internet phone lines. Small price to pay!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Purely Elizabeth

Purely Elizabeth features baking mixes that are free of sugar, dairy, wheat and gluten. They are packed with good fiber from hemp, flax and chia seeds and sweeted with maple syrup or agave nectar.

I just made my first batch of the blueberry maple muffins ($7.99). They are definitely not the overly sweet white blueberry muffins you would get in safeway. They feel healthy, but still very delicious. Good texture and not too sweet with lots of blueberries in every bite.

Note, you do have to provide your own blueberries and maple syrup so be sure to have those items on hand if you want to make these.

Next I'm going to try the ultimate cacao muffin mix!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Les Gazelles

Les Gazelles in Santa Barbara has an amazing collection of embroidered Mexican dresses ($1800). Entirely handmade on off-white cotton. These dresses are stunning works of art.

Available with different trim colors and motifs these would be stunning at a summer cocktail party or even dressed down for lounging on that beach vacation.

Les Gazelles also carries shawls, bags and jewelry for a modern bohemian vibe.

Friday, October 9, 2009


The infinity scarf or tube scarf (also called a snood) is another must have item for this Fall/Winter. Wear it up over your head like a hood or just loosely around the neck or even in some cases turn it into a dress! Here's a few of my favorites:


The Oak black oversized tube scarf ($148) is nice and chunky. Unfortunately it's made of 100% acrylic but I still like the knit and color.

Bop Basics

This cable knit tube scarf ($68) from Shopbop's own line of basics comes in taupe, white and black. Also 100% acrylic.


The Vince ribbed circle cotton scarf ($95) is a bit more refined than these chunkier versions. Available in amethyst and charcoal in 100% cotton.

American Apparel

The American Apparel tie dye circle scarf ($34)is more than a scarf. Extra long it can also be worn as a shawl or caplet and even turned into a dress (see options above).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mad for Plaid (2)

The Liz Claiborne plaid suit that I blogged about in August has finally hit stores and Hurray!

The plaid blazer ($179) in a wool viscose blend is fully-lined. Featuring a two-button closure. It would be great alone with jeans and a t-shirt or paired with the plaid pants.

These high-waisted plaid pants ($139) are nice and roomy. Also in a wool/viscose blend.
Note: I recommend ordering at least 1 size down from your normal size. These sizes run HUGE!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Patricia Field

The Patricia Field online store has some crazy clothes and accessories that would be great for clubbing, Halloween or if you are a performer. However, taken individually there are quite a few interesting pieces that are surpringly wearable and affordable. Here's a few of my favorites...

Union Jack Bag

Unfortunately this great quilted bag with the Union Jack design is currently out of stock. I would probably carry it as clutch rather than use the chain strap. Will update the post if it comes back in stock.

Buddha Ring
I love this buddha ring by nOir ($88). Definitely a bold statement at about 1.25" tall. Gold metal with clear rhinestones and 1 red-rhinestone dot on his forehead. It's a fun piece of costume jewelry I would deifnitely wear.

Black Hearts Military jacket

This Black Hearts faux-leather jacket ($88) with a military style front has full-length sleeves with zippers at wrists. A great buy at this price point to dress up jeans and a t-shirt.

Sailor Jumpsuit
The pants on this sailor-inspired cotton jumpsuit ($78) are super wide-legged and dramatic. The red belt is detachable and could be replaced by another one. Love this jumpsuit paired with heels.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Flashdance Revisited

I have to say I was a huge fan of the Flashdance look in the 80's--the sweatshirt with the ripped out neck slipping down over the shoulder to expose a white undershirt.

The Vince gold metallic cashmere sweater ($295) is a sophisticated remake of this look. I love it worn belted with leggings or pencil jeans.

I think it looks best worn a bit loose and large. Available from Bloomingdales and

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Nicholas K Fall 2009

I love the Nicholas K fall collection with it's mix of feminine and tough like an army jacket over a super girly dress and bomber jackets and army pants rolled up with boots.

One of the key pieces of the collection is a plaid shirt with an adjustable scarf collar ($225) shown here cinched in with a wide belt. Available from

I also love the cut of the pants in this collection like these loose fitting black cropped pants that are very similar to the ones from Anthropologie I blogged about a few weeks ago.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Home on the Range

I am crazy about the look that Epperson designed on Season 6, episode 6 of Project Runway which aired last week.Tough, but feminine, if only this look was available commercially I would seriously buy it. Love the styling with the wide belt and boots too!

If you missed Project Runway and want to catch up, full episodes are available online at

Friday, September 25, 2009

80's Glam

Sequin trousers and leggings are everywhere for Fall and seeing them on Heidi Klum last week on Project Runway dressed down with a loose tunic top and vest got me hooked.

There are a ton of options out there right now, but some are less "sequiny" than others. I like the ones that are completely saturated in sequins the best.

These Express sequin leggings ($98) are reasonably priced and would look great with a loose fitting black tunic top and flats or a long boyfriend blazer, heels and a t-shirt.

The Mango sequin trouser ($99) has a looser fit. Love it paired with this tuxedo jacket. These are not quite as sparkly as some, but like how they flow.

The Topshop sequin harem trouser ($160) comes in electric blue, pink and gold.

leggings are pure rock n' roll with zippers at the ankle and pockets.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not Your Average Oxfords

As you know if you read this blog I'm a huge fan of the menswear look. What better way to jazz up that look than with a pair of less than average oxfords? Here's a few I'm adoring right now...
Robert Clergerie
These metallic lace-up oxfords ($689) from Robert Clergerie don't even look real with their pewter mirrored finish. A similar pair is featured on model Lauren Hutton in the October issue of O Magazine. Available from

Pour La Victoire

These burnished silver lace-ups ($226) from Pour La Victoire have more of a modern feel with the elongated toe. Also available in a burnished gold color from

Elizabeth and James

These "Wicked" distressed suede oxfords ($295) from Elizabeth and James have more of a classic vintage look. Lover the dark grey color.