Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What to Wear: An Affair to Remember

I was re-watching An Affair to Remember over the weekend - as one does - and feeling so inspired by all those rich 1950's reds and oranges from Deborah Kerr's wardrobe.  Perfect for fall, whether you're a temporarily-crippled redhead or not. Is it possible to find a few modern pieces that hit the same style?

1. Chiffon Top - A pretty two-tone orange chiffon top is a modern interpretation of the beautiful cream and burnt orange dress that Deborah Kerr wears the first night she meets Cary Grant on the ship. It also looks a bit like candy corn...which I can't stop seeing now.

2. Brown Dress - Nothing comes close to how pretty her brown wool wrap dress is in the movie - worn in the scene when she first gets home from the crossing. This brown DVF dress is a poor approximation. Also, this $1,200 tailored brown Talbot Runhof dress and this $1,400 Lucas Nascimento wool dress.

3. Coat - A dreamy burnt orange wool coat for only $90 from Asos. To stay warm on the deck of your steamer ship.

4. Blouse - An ivory chiffon blouse with metallic dots instead of orange details is a contemporary version of the gorgeous dress for visiting Villefranche-sur-Mer.

5. Robe - A light slate blue robe from Etsy is the right thing for scheming elaborate, complicated and overly-uncommunicative ways to leave your lovers.

6. Blazer - A classic red wool blazer from J. Crew will never go out of style.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Picking out the Right Pair of Fall Sneakers

After wearing a (very cute) pair of metallic leather loafers to the NASA open house on Saturday morning and proceeding to cancel plans due to achy feet all Saturday night...I made a resolution to buy and wear actual sneakers this fall. Pinterest is full of "cool girls" wearing sneakers with leather leggings, rolled up jeans or trim suits outside of fashion hard could it be?
Pretty hard, it seems. I spent an hour pinning sneakers of all varieties. Ideally, I'd like something in a darker color so they won't immediately get wrecked when I'm resetting my pedal while biking. Wedge sneakers seem a little too trendy for this soon-to-be 35-year-old.  I'm a little unhealthily obsessed with these Nike Sneakerboots. Came really close to buying these French gold high-tops before chickening out. Classic Converse are cute with so many things, but I don't find them comfortable. These Alexander McQueen Pumas are the current leader...maybe...?

Take a look at all the sneaker options on Pinterest. Do you have a favorite?

Monday, October 20, 2014

What to Wear: Touring NASA Ames

It's October in the Bay Area. All the fun outdoor events are scheduled for these few warm, sunny weekends. Fleet Week, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, the Treasure Island Music Festival and, for the first time in 17 years, an open house event at the NASA Ames Research Center.
I wore white Levi's skinny jeans, a J. Crew camel sweater with zipper details, a light plaid blazer, J. Crew metallic suede loafers (which were not comfortable enough for all the walking), a silver belt and a Coach cross-body bag.
Rob and I woke up before dawn to take BART to meet Trent and Ev in Burlingame. We arrived right before the gates opened and still faced a massive traffic jam. Worth it!
We got to see all kinds of planes, helicopters, robots, wind tunnels, etc while walking around the research campus and talking to scientists. There was even a Mars rover:
My arms are sore from carrying around Ev - who alternated being very into the planes and very bored by the whole thing.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New Accessory: Headphones

My sister gave me an early birthday present yesterday: a pair of bright blue Beats headphones to wear on Caltrain. All the cool commuters look ready to DJ on the train to work. Now, the challenge is to find cute outfits to wear with my new accessory...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

5 Step Dinner Party: Family-Style Italian

I think the heat wave in San Francisco is about to break. It certainly was hot when we had old friends over for a casual Italian meal on Sunday night.  When you're spending time with people you've known for 13 years, it is cause for celebration - hot or not.


  • Charcuterie: A spread of sbriciolona, soppressata, lomo, smoked trout, mt. tam cheese, tomatoes with kale pesto, green onions, bread, fresh cranberry beans with truffle oil and basil
  • Spaghetti with turkey ragu
  • Garlic bread
  • Chocolate gelato

Step 1: Set the Table
After a lazy morning of coffee and the Sunday paper in bed, I set the table with a mix of red and white linens. For the two kids at the end: smaller plates and the smaller luncheon set of silver.

Step 2: Shop
Margaret joined me to brave the heat with a walk to farmer's market. We drank fresh watermelon and pomegranate juice while shopping for basil, tomatoes, cranberry beans and other supplies for the week ahead including asian pears, fuji apples, broccoli and persimmons. On the way home, we stopped at Fatted Calf for a spread of house-cured meats and cheese.
Step 3: Prep
Margaret and I cooled off from our hike around town by shelling the fresh cranberry beans in the kitchen with all the doors and windows wide open. She headed home shortly after our guest of honor, Mike, arrived to stay the week for the Dreamforce conference. I boiled the fresh beans for 15 minutes and then mixed them with olive oil and truffle salt. Mike helped chop onions for the ragu sauce and prepare the garlic bread while we waited for everyone else to arrive.
Step 4: Antipasto
Our friends Peter and Jill arrived with their two young kids in tow. With the kids playing in the other room, the grown-ups sat down to glasses of locally-brewed beer and the spread of cold meats, cheeses and veggies.
Step 5: Mangiare 
The kids joined us at the table for a big bowl of classic spaghetti with turkey ragu (the secret to my family recipe is plenty of red wine cooked down in the sauce) and hot garlic bread.  Jill and Peter brought an excellent red wine to go with the pasta.
We finished the meal with simple chocolate gelato from a ice-cream shop around the corner.  So fun to catch up with old friends over a nice meal! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

What to Wear: Dandiya Raas (Indian Stick Dancing)

Finding the exact right thing to wear to obscure events is my favorite thing! Accidentally dressing too costume-y is something I can't stand. So this request from Teresa is just right:
I'm going to Dandiya dancing in the Mission on Saturday night, and I'm wondering what to wear.  Mind you, I've got two saris (one orange, one burgundy).  How can I dress for Indian stick dancing that doesn't scream "costume!" and would look nice?  I'm planning on black flats but they will be kicked off ASAP.

Option 1: Sari on Top
Sari top - Use the cropped top from your sari as a mix and match start.
Pants  - A pair of navy draped twill ankle pants are oddly listed as "jogger-inspired" according to the website. These pants are a little dangerous because they look so comfortable, you'll be tempted to wear them all the time.
Pumps  - If you're going to kick off your shoes as soon as you get there, may as well start with something cute. These teal suede pumps are a nice tie in with the colors from the sari top.
Earrings - Gold, pink and orange drop earrings.
Bracelets - You're going to need a good quantity of gold bangles.

Option 2: Sari on Bottom
Sari skirt  - It's quite hard to find a photo of just the skirt from a sari, so I'm making do with the bottom of this burgundy dress. PS: this indian fashion website is my new obsession. The jewelry! I'm attending an Indian wedding next month and maybe need everything.
Top  - A modern black wrapped crop top is a good match with the skirt and brings down the level of costume-risk.
Shoes - These black sandals are from Naturalizer, so may be comfortable enough to dance in.
Earrings - Beaded hoop earrings won't flop around too badly while you're dancing.
Bracelets - Pear details on the bangles match the earring details.

Option 3: Indian Inspired
Dress - Do your own thing with an inexpensive orange chiffon swing dress. If it is too short, wear a small pair of shorts underneath for safety.
Necklace - A gold beaded necklace is a nice compliment to the dress.
Shoes - Hot pink pumps with a bright orange dress? Yup.
Bangles - A set of bracelets in dark pink and gold.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

What to Wear: Tech Startup Launch Party

Silicon Valley's tech scene is booming and there are company launch parties in San Francisco almost every night. The dress code for these events is casual, but modern - think "art director" or "PR agency account manager." Food is served in Chinese takeout containers by waiters in logo unitards. The cocktails flow as freely as the hashtags. Pull your hair in a loose top knot, put on some bright lipstick and dig out your weirdest pair of is time to launch!

Pants - Weird pants are the thing to wear to this kind of party. I saw everything from harem to palazzo at an event on Wednesday. Weird pants are casual but showcase that you're in on the latest trends. How about a pair of comfy "leather" leggings as a starting point.
Tunic - A classic white tunic on sale from Banana Republic.
Jacket - This emerald green moto jacket is blazer-adjacent.
Booties  - I really like these $150 stacked heel gray booties. Plus, sensible enough for biking or walking around town.
Purse - A cross-body city bag from Coach fits your smartphone.
Earrings - Silver studs.