YSL Perfection at SAM

It was a dark and stormy afternoon with sheets of torrential rain coming down. In other words, a typical Seattle day-perfect for a stroll through the fantastic fashion exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum featuring Yves Saint Laurent in all his glory.  YSL truly experienced an amazing journey from teen fashion prodigy to world famous designer and this exhibit running through 1/8/17 invites you into his world of fashion through a behind-the-scenes look at the designer’s life.


The exhibit is so much more than the 100+ gorgeous outfits that YSL created.  You can see his early sketches and paper dolls that he created as a teen fashion prodigy, the swatches and drawings that he used to create his collection, personal photos and much more.

YSL was born to create unique and original works of art that spanned a long and turbulent career.  Like most artists, YSL fought childhood bullying first and then, later in adulthood, depression and addictions while somehow creating masterpieces that you can now view at the Seattle Art Museum.  I loved seeing not only the final product but the genius behind the creations.


Day Six Fashion Challenge-Classy Yet Sassy

So, what do you wear when you have to catch the 6:40 a.m. shuttle for a “what the Hell were they thinking when they scheduled it this early” morning meeting?  Well, first, you take time the night before to plan out your outfit so you don’t look like a fashion “don’t”.  Seriously, I have been lazy and not done this in the past and ended up looking not so good and that’s being too nice.  I also learned the hard way to do that all important bathroom mirror check when I get to work to avoid wearing my dress backwards (yes, for an important meeting)and, yes, that really happened.  Now I am a little more aware and try to always take a moment to check for major faux pas before facing the boss.  I have caught myself sporting only one earring, holes in tights, etc. and managed a quick wardrobe tweak to fix quickly before I embarrass myself AGAIN.  Live and learn!

Banana Republic both classy and sassy
Banana Republic both classy and sassy

But this morning I had prepped the night before and purposely picked my new Banana Republic black sweater (50% off!) that was light but warm with a cutout back detail that was highlighted by the white shirt underneath.  Now, this was no ordinary boring white shirt.  This was my custom made, fits like a glove, French cuff cotton shirt that I designed in Shanghai, adding print details to the collar and underside of the cuffs.  I love it and only wish I had bought a few more while I lived in Shanghai.

Add in the dragon cuff links that I bargained hard to get for less than $10 at the South Bund Fabric Mart in Shanghai and the bold turquoise Banana Republic necklace that always garners major compliments (bought last year on sale) and I was feeling good despite the early call.

Classy black pants from Nordstrom’s and my comfy Dansko studded heels made this a great outfit for a very long work day.  Now, off to plan my outfit for Day 7 so I look decent despite another early call.  Good night!

Day Three of 30 Day Fashion Challenge

A grey, rainy Saturday calls for fashion to match.  So, on Day Three of my fashion challenge to wear a new outfit every day this month, out came the grey tones in the form of a Merona grey balloon cozy cardigan that Hannah picked out for me awhile ago and the grey V-neck t-shirt that she also sourced for me at the Boise thrift store for a few bucks.  I love having her as my personal shopper because she has such a good eye for fashion AND she loves a bargain.  I taught her well–fashion isn’t about how much you spend but how you put it all together no matter the price you pay.

Day Three in grey tones rocking a bicycle scarf
Day Three in grey tones rocking a bicycle scarf

Of course, no outfit is complete without a necklace and scarf so I wound my grey bicycle scarf around the gorgeous silver Chinese inspired necklace that James got me for Christmas.  Done!  Off we went to run errands after we borrowed my son’s car (really my old car) that is now held together with plastic tape and a prayer.  We noticed another large dent and the side mirror pretty much hanging off the side, to which James replied when asked what happened, that he had a run in with a very solid pillar that got in his way.  Oops!  We were in China at the time of impact last year so he never thought to tell us since we had already warned him that there would be no further repairs to this 19 year old car–Infiniti makes a great car but it can’t run forever. But, for now, it got us to Ikea to buy some final home stuff we needed and to Lenscrafters for new glasses.  We get around Seattle without a car most of the time using Car2Go, Zipcar, Uber, our own two feet and an Orca card but it’s nice to borrow our own wheels sometimes. Having James over to puppy sit Thor and Izaac while we ran around town was an added bonus.  They love him and give him LOTS of puppy love while he was here.  We bribed him to stay for dinner by promising Chinese food, which is not at all like food in China but still yummy.  Good to be back in Seattle with family close by!

Thor and Izaak giving James lots of puppy love
Thor and Izaak giving James lots of puppy love

Fashion Forward in Saigon

Silk dress Marilyn Monroe style with fan flowing out skirt on display
Silk dress Marilyn Monroe style with fan flowing out skirt on display

When you peel back the layers of fashion in Vietnam, you discover that besides the Vietnam traditional outfit for ladies which consists of a flowing tunic with pants, the fashion here varies widely with trendy boutiques offering truly fashion forward choices for shoppers in Saigon.  Of course, you’ll pay to be unique so you better load up at the ATM with millions of Dong ’cause you are going to need it to take home one of these outfits.  Hot Damn, let’s do some shopping!!! Not only are the stores decorated with trendy touches from statement art to  industrial chic with stained concrete floors, steel lighting plus the visual displays make you want to touch and buy their products.  One chic store had everything from b/w Vietnam portraits screenprinted on iPad covers to brightly colored recycled vinyl bags and sandals to handmade necklaces.  Hold me back–my luggage is already too heavy! Lured in by the outfits in the window featuring men’s pants with a studded fly (for dudes who want some attention I’m guessing), this gallery of fashion finds featured garments that were works of arts accented by the dragonfly wire hangers they were hung from.  Very expensive and probably too nice to actually wear  in my lifestyle, I admired the artist’s embroidered shirts and wraps as well as her one of a kind necklaces.  Thom shot off some photos for me while I tried to distract the shop girls because I knew they wouldn’t allow it–sure enough, they shut him down quickly but not before I got a few to share.

Studded fly for the man who wants a little attention
Classic Lambretta scooter on display with fashion art
Classic Lambretta scooter on display with fashion art

At yet another gorgeous showroom, the beautiful silk prints in heavy brocade fabrics draped just right were set off with huge statement necklaces.  I wouldn’t dare buy silk because I would almost surely dribble coffee on it or, God forbid, sweat while wearing it.  Still, I appreciate the gorgeous styles that are too expensive for most folks here in Vietnam.  I was surprised to see as many luxury retailers here with the large showpiece stores-LV, Chanel, Hermes, etc. all are represented here in Saigon by our hotel.  Our last day is today so I’m off to pick up a few more items to remember our great stay in Saigon.

Statement necklace aceents silk print top
Statement necklace accents silk print top

Styled by Hannah

I was lucky enough to spend time with my family this week in South Bend, Indiana.  Clean air and blue skies!  Even better, my gorgeous daughter Hannah and Baby Mia accompanied me to spend quality time with my sister, Mom and best friend Patti.  What a great time we had!

My beautiful daughter and stylist Hannah
My beautiful daughter and stylist Hannah

When it proved to be too hot for a Zoo visit on Saturday, we hit the mall instead.  Yes, it cost me more than the Zoo but we so rarely get quality shopping time together so Hannah took advantage of the opportunity to style an outfit for me. I also had to procure a statement necklace for her so that she would give me back the one she is wearing in the picture–I love it and just am not willing to give it to her–yet!  No worries- we found a beautiful substitute at the mall.

It was fun visiting the University Park Mall where I worked as the Assistant Store Manager many, many years ago at L.S.Ayres when Hannah was only 2 and James was a baby.  That’s a story for another time but, desperate to leave my job that I held while pregnant with James, I interviewed for my new job that would take me to the UP Mall only 7 days after giving birth.  Several week later, we loaded up the car and moved to South Bend, Indiana.  We were, and are, truly crazy but enough reminiscing and back to my new outfit.

After finding Baby Mia the perfect dress to accompany her parents to a friend’s wedding in Coeur d’Alene next week, we had some time to shop for ourselves and we made the most of it.  Finding fashion bargains is truly one of Hannah’s skills.  She can go to a thrift store and come out with a stunning outfit originally from Anthro for less than $20 and looking spectacular.

I love the quality of Banana Republic and know what size I wear without needing to try anything on-a time saver!  Hannah combined the trendy polka dot cotton shirt with basic chinos from there but made it POP with the new statement necklace and my zebra belt.  My new nerd glasses from Warby Parker, bought on our last NYC trip, give the hipster edge to the look while the Cole Haan wedges, which are actually comfy to walk in, give me a needed lift since I am severely height challenged.   Thank you, Hannah darling, for making your Momma look stylish for her meetings! Watch out Hotlanta-here I come!

Styled by Hannah
Styled by Hannah


Warby Parker Fillmore Glasses: https://www.warbyparker.com/eyeglasses/men/fillmore/tennessee-whiskey

Francesca’s statement necklace and earrings: http://www.francescas.com/category/jewelry/necklaces/statement.do

Banana Republic polka dot shirt, zebra belt and chinos: http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=84171&pid=970435&scid=970435002

Cole Haan wedges-picked up at Nordstrom Rack (my fav!) two years ago in Atlanta–classic and comfy!




Just another night in Shanghai with free-flowing Cognac and The Dickpunks

Hennessy Artistry Concert
Shanghai Mercedes Benz Arena

Free VIP Tickets and Free Hennessy cognac cocktails!  Hello, date night!  Thom and I experienced another side of Shanghai last night attending the Hennessy Artistry concert at Shanghai Mercedes Benz Arena.  Walking the red carpet and entering as VIP’s thanks to one of my co-worker’s connections, once again we were spoiled to be standing right by the stage to enjoy artists from around the world.  Most were winners of X-Factor like contests and all were wonderful including Rebecca Ferguson from the UK and The Dickpunks from Korea.  Yes, that’s really their names and they rocked it out with a Beatles-like feel and look.

Thom enjoying the view by the stage.
Hipster famous China rock star hanging with us by the stage. Love the bow tie and plaid jacket!

The hipsters were out and rocking all the latest fashion.  I saw lots of sequins, Doc Martens, skinny pants, boots, bow ties, plaid and Thom was rocking his kangol hat.  At one point, they interviewed one of the performers next to us at the bar by the stage.  Thom, looking so cool, was standing next to her and showing his big smile up on the jumbotron for all to see.  He is so spoiled!  Then, a band from China complete with silver metallic leggings tucked into their boots and fur accented jackets stood next to me to get their press pictures taken.  Since we were one of the few Laowai’s there, I think  they liked including us in their press photos.  We made a friend from France who was with the event coordinator and Thom enjoyed talking Shanghai expat stories with him.  When he found out we moved over here without ever having visited, he remarked how “brave” we were.  He was probably really thinking that we are crazy but what an interesting life you can lead when you appreciate every moment of every day as an opportunity to experience new things!

I, of course, worked my way up to the special leather couches up front only to be told politely that this area was reserved seating for the Hennessy executives at the event.  No problem!  The lovely event coordinator introduced me to her boss, who was rocking thick black framed glasses and a fedora plus a metallic shirt, and we became friends when I won him over with a big smile.  You do get much better treatment when you’re nice vs. acting entitled or being demanding.   He escorted us to the bar instead to enjoy “the best seats in the house” PLUS immediate access to the various complimentary cognac cocktails being liberally pushed upon us because, after all, the concert was really a big marketing event for Hennessy and extremely well done to seduce all the rich Chinese to buy their liquor.  I was happy to sample the offerings and enjoyed the apple and berry concoctions.  Cognac and The Dickpunks…just another night in Shanghai!

Doc Martens, pink fur & plaid-Shanghainista Style!

Never having been to China before I moved here four months ago, I couldn’t have imagined the super trendy Shanghainista scene I have found here…from the coolest shoes (including lots of handmade shoe stores) to fur galore to an obsession with lace/plaid hipster outfits, I am loving all the diversity, even if I can’t pull off wearing every trend I see or agree with where it originated.

Let’s start with the touchy subject of fur-yes, it’s real here and no, you can’t tell from WP_20131228_032WP_20131228_009WP_20131228_010

what animal it came from but probably most are outlawed in the U.S.  From regular brown tones to the wild and crazy pink, purple and you name it, you can find it because the fur is flying everywhere inWP_20131229_042WP_20140103_001 Shanghai.  Once upon a time, I had a full length fur coat because it was the “thing” to wear in NYC and I spent a whole month’s salary to buy one to look cool.  It weighed a ton and smelled nasty when it got wet but I felt like a million bucks wearing it and thankfully never got paint thrown on me by a protestor.  I would never wear one now but I can relate to the status of it (very big here in China) and the warmth of it as well.  You can even buy fur pelts right on the street—name your price, guess your species.  Again, not my cup of tea but it is very common in China to see these street pelt vendors, especially in Beijing.

The scope of fashionable shoes here does surprise me because most people have hefty commutes with lots of walking.  Believe me, there is a reason that foot massages are part of every day life here.  After you walk a mile in stiletto’s, your tootsies are crying out to be rubbed for an hour or so with hot oil.  Looking good here takes precedent over comfort (not for me, of course, but for fashionable people-I keep my heels at the office and wear ugly “pillows of heaven” Uggs for the commute).  Besides the high heels, though, Doc Martens are featured everywhere right now in fabulous bright colors and patterns.  WP_20131223_040I’m tempted to buy a pair to make a statement ANDWP_20131223_033 still be able to walk miles on the streets of Shanghai, as Thom and I love to do on the weekends.  Yes, I’m probably too old to wear them but who cares!  I’m imagining some thick soled, neon patterned or polka dot suckers worn with black tights (yes, going to the gym is paramount to this look) and a black skirt with a bright wool jacket…also needing to be purchased.  The coats here are adorable but not necessarily warm so I haven’t found the right one yet but I will keep on looking.

Then, there is the whole plaid/lace fashionista thing going on with whole stores devoted to this type of outfit.  Let’s face it, you have to be petite and below a size 4 to pull this type of look off and look adorable.  WP_20131223_028WP_20131223_027Thus, the reason you don’t see these stores in the U.S. where the average size is a 12 not a 4.  I find here that I am no longer a size 6/small but have graduated to a size 10/medium if I’m lucky and that’s at a nicer European store like Zara….again, another reason to make you want to go to the gym and stay there for awhile.  That being said, I could never pull off the plaid/lace look but I do appreciate all the styling that goes into it with multiple layers, jewelry, boots, tights, hats, etc.   It’s not easy to be a fashionista and when I see a great outfit styling, I appreciate all the work that went into completing the image.  Who knows—maybe I’ll have to crank up my shopping and styling to keep up with the Shanghainistas but I draw the line at pink fur!

Keeping Warm, Shanghai Style

The weather is finally getting colder and the Shanghai fashionistas are breaking out their winter wear. The coats are beautiful and brighten up these gray days. With everyone commuting long distances to work in Shanghai, you have to wear layers and dress for any type of weather. Today I actually saw some real fur being worn–not sure what type of fur since pretty much all animals are fair game here in China but I was envious just because it looked so warm though I swear I saw a little head peeking out of one of the folds on this particular foxy cape.  A coat to keep you warm AND a pet to keep you company–what a creepy combo!





The shoe story doesn’t really change too much when the weather changes. I still see the stilettos being worn on the street and wonder how on earth these women navigate the uneven streets and dodge the traffic wearing them. You have to be seriously nimble to survive just crossing the street here so I’ll stick to my “commuter” boots that keep me alive and put on the “work” heels after I safely reach the office.  You don’t see the ladies here wearing sneakers with their work outfits like you would on the streets of Manhattan..fashion definitely comes first here over function.


I look forward to getting a fashionable Shanghai coat myself soon like the looks I saw out and about this past weekend. Now, if I could just find functional but fashionable air masks to compliment my outfits like this rocking chick–crazy cute coat PLUS matching mask.  Keeping warm, Shanghai Style!Coat-9499