Friday, December 2, 2011

Bouncing back (+ avoiding hangovers!)

The holidays are upon us. So you know what that means - family, fun and food.
When there's too many things to choose from, some of us tend to overeat. We've all been there. One of my major problems is keeping it to a minimum - tasting everything but not eating too much at the holiday buffets. When there's so many things its hard not to go wild.
So let's say you overeat. We all do. I've discovered some great tips to help you bounce back and prevent holiday weight gain. It's worked for me; it'll work for you!

The day after a holiday (or weekend, or week) of eating too much:

Work out. This will make you instantly feel better. I've found that if I miss a few days it's incredibly hard to get back into the routine, but once you get back on the wagon it's much easier to stay on it. Sweating flushes out your system and you'll feel great, or at least accomplished, afterwards. Make sure you weight train too. We all know muscle burns more calories than fat, even when you're not active. I NEVER see girls working with the free weights at my gym. I'm one of the only ones. Don't be scared. Ignore the guys and use those weights. They're way more effective than machines.

Drink a TON of water. It will flush you out. During the workweek I drink close to 100 oz. of water a day. I just like water alot. At an average dinner the waitress refills my glass at least 2 times. But during parties and get togethers I'm not focusing on filling my 20 oz. waterbottle 5 times, like I do at work. So I often get dehydrated, especially since I drink so much water most of the week. You've heard it before - you want your pee to be as light as lemonade, not very yellow (unless you recently took a vitamin, in which case it may be highlighter yellow because of abortion.) This is TMI, but mine is usually almost completely clear.

Eat your fruits and veggies. With so much toxins in your body from all that red meat/alcohol/processed stuff/sugars, veggies help restore your body's pH and, again, flush you out. Cucumbers are awesome and I make it a rule to eat it almost every day, but especially on Mondays following a busy weekend. Cucumber are 95% water and are great for moving the toxins through your system. I also like carrots, and lots of leafy greens. It really helps.

Eat something with fiber. One caveat: if you body is not used to fiber (the recommended daily intake is 25 grams a day but most people get under 10) you will be hurting. You have to build up a tolerance for it so start small. Don't grab a huge bow of Fiber One. This, Kashi and whole grain foods have a ton of fiber that will give you alot of gas and, um, bathroom issues of you go from zero to 60. Start with naturally-occuring fiber in fruits. Raspberries and apples have alot and will be easier on your system. The reason you should eat fiber is actually because your body can't digest it. It will bind to toxins and get escorted out of your body. Yes, this means you will "go" more. Sorry. You gotta go to get the bad stuff out!

I'm partial to juice drinks. Sometimes they have a lot of calories - fruit is high in calories - but they're worth it. You could do a juice cleanse; I've tried the BluePrint Clease. It's difficult though (for me at least, because I'm blood type O and crave meat; more on that later) and pretty expensive. You could make your own juices - BPC has a book out that give recipes. Or just go to Whole Foods and buy one of their pre-bottled juices or drinks which range from $2 to $5. I like It Tastes Raaw, Cell-nique, Urban Detox and Skinny Water. Not sure HOW much they help, but they taste good and definitely give you a lot of nutrients.

Take vitamins. Your body has been depleted by all the stuff you ate, so give it its vitamins back. I like a multi and B-complex for energy. Gummy vitamins are awesome, by the way! I also like fish oil for better skin, hair and nails - it has also been proven to ease depression, lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation.

Stay fresh. Avoid processed foods for a few days. Studies have shown that we actually develop craving for processed foods, so if you avoid them you won't have the desire to eat them. Manufacturers specifically PUT addictive "ingredients" (crap) in our foods to make us desire them. ANYTHING you want to eat you can eat organically. Even burgers, cakes and cookies (don't overdo it thought!). It's much better for you, and for the planet. Not better for your wallet? Go to Trader Joes. They have organic food at super reasonable prices. Even Stop and Shop has its Nature's Promise brand, which is natural food at a low cost.

Do Yoga. The moves twist and turn your body, literally wringing out your insides like a sponge. You'll feel better, and your organs will let go of the toxins they've been harboring.

Massage. I know it's expensive. Get your significant other to help you out with this. It's so enjoyable and it also helps move toxins out. If you want an inexpensive professional massage, get one from the nail salon!

Take an Epsom salt bath. This draws the toxins from your skin.

Get more sleep. This is when your body recovers. You'll love it.

If you do these tips, and try to keep them going all week, you CAN eat what you want on weekends and not gain weight. Just keep it balanced.


BONUS POST

I'll show you how to avoid a hangover! Work for me!

You went out and, despite your promise not to go too hard, drank way too much. Now you're home, it's 3 a.m. and you're drunk. You know a hangover is coming, but what can you do to avoid it?

DRINK WATER. Number one most important thing. Part of a hangover is from dehydration. I know you don't WANT to drink water before bed but you have to guzzle it. And keep some by your nightstand for when you wake up thirsty.

Take those vitamins. Drinking really depletes your vitamins, especially B. Make sure you take a multi plus B before bed, and when you wake up.

Take ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory). Your body's inflammation goes up when you drink, so take Advil to keep it down. It will help with the future headache!

Eat something carby. This will soak up the remaining alcohol in your stomach.

Stay up later. I have no idea if this has ever been tested, but it works for me. If I'm still bad and very dizzy I know I shouldn't go to bed yet. I'll stay up, eat some food, drink water and watch tv or read before I get in bed. The room has to stop spinning. I'd rather be tired than hungover. When you get in bed I've heard about the "put one foot on the floor" theory. I don't know if this works, never tried it, and my bed is too high to try it anyway. Let me know if it works!

Anticipate how bad it will be. Were you drinking beer? Wine? Hard stuff? Was it brown liquor or clear? Clear is easier on your system, as is wine or beer.. sometimes. It really depends on the brand - how it's made, fermented and distilled. Know yourself. If you drank Jose Cuervo all night make sure you drink more water and eat more bread! Know your limits too, but you already knew that, right?

The next day, eat some junk food. I know it's contrary to what I said above, but the grease will coat your stomach and make you feel better. But make sure its fresh, hot and worth it. And keep it to breakfast only! Starting at lunch, get back on the wagon. They say eggs and hot sauce are a miracle food. I haven't tried this either. I like a slice of pizza, home fries or chicken nuggets.

Vitaminwater Revive. I don't know why, but this is a miracle drink. I always feel better after drinking it. It has the electrolytes and vitamins your body needs the next day. I'm pretty sure it alludes to this on the bottle.

Get MORE sleep. Don't feel good? Not a work day? Go back to bed. Your body needs to repair itself and sleep really helps.



I hope these tips were helpful! I'll be rereading them this holiday season for sure! Have a great holiday everyone!!

xoxo

B

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cheapest fashion finds

Nothing thrills me me more than finding something fabulous on clearance. Knowing something is worth so much more than what I paid for it just delights me. This is why I love shopping, or hunting really, at TJ Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory, consignment shops and the sale bins at all my usual stores. Here are a few recent bargains I've found:



Platform heels by Elle at Kohls

So I needed a new pair of black heels. I go through them like crazy - they get all worn down and ragged and I need afresh pair often. I have a basket of shoes waiting to go to the cobbler in my car. But I needed nice pair asap, so I went to Kohls. I was walking by the clearance rack and there these were - sitting together, size 8. Perfect, and meant for me. Originally $60, they were marked down to $11. $11!! Money well spent!



Wet Seal leopard skirt

I know. I'm an adult, but I still love the girly stores. I found this skirt full price at a whopping $12 or something. Had to get it.



Chicos satin Casablanca cargo pants
I love these. They were originally $89, marked down to $29.99. I got tan/gold and also bought them in black. My only regret is not buying a smaller size - I've lost weight and now have to roll them so they fit. They are baggy anyway, so this mostly works.



Michael Kors tee

I've had this shirt forever, and also have it in different colors and fabrics. It's a cute basic tee that I got for around $15 at TJ Maxx, and they are at the MK outlet for $19.99. Bargain!



Corset top LBD

You may not be able to see it that well, but this is a corset top dress I found at Marshalls for $7, marked down from $25, orignally $40 I believe. It's satin, and cute, and, even though I already had about 5 of them, you could always use another little black dress. I wore it to Atlantic City for my friend Courtney's birthday.



Juicy Couture dress

I got this dress originally for my friend's wedding. I also wore it on New Years, pictured here. It's a heavy satin with visible seams. It looks and feels EXPENSIVE. And it was, originally $250, and I got it for around $100 at the Juicy Outlet at Clinton Crossings.

I also love discounted accessories, or cheap ones in general. Stores like Forever 21, Charlotte Russe and Joyce Leslie have cute jewelry, shoes and scarfs for cheap so you can create new look without investing a ton of money. Love it!

*I know I have more examples at home but I can't remember them off the top of my head. I'll add when I remember.

So get out there and start looking for your next budget buy. There's so many opportunities to save - you will rarely have to buy anything full price. Don;t forget sales and coupons - sign up for your favorite stores' mailing lists and get in the know. Happy hunting!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Local event planner creates 'a Polished plan'


Lindsay and Blaine Hurty look at fireworks over Wee Burn Country Club. Photography by Bruce Plotkin Photography.


Published in the Darien News, www.dariennewsonline.com.


Sarah Taggart's skills as an event planner were tested when the eye of Hurricane Irene came roaring through Greenwich. The wedding she spent months planning took place on Saturday, Aug. 27, right on the Sound at the Belle Haven Club -- in the path of the storm and steps from the water.

Damage control ensured. A tent was cancelled, everything was brought inside and quite a few people were unable to make the wedding.

But regardless of these last-minute changes, the event was successful and very memorable.

"It actually ended up being fabulous," Taggart said. "It was a stressful 48 hours, though."

These are the types of last minute issues an event planner deals with. It's a high-pressure, stressful, yet exciting job. It's an area Taggart first explored in an event planning student group at the University of Connecticut, where she majored in marketing; from there she worked in fashion merchandising at the TJX Companies, but she always remained a fan of event design. She took a job at Wee Burn Country Club in Darien and stayed there for four years, handling numerous events during all seasons. This prepped her for a chance to do it on her own. After single-handedly overseeing all of Wee Burn's events for a few years, she discussed the idea with a fellow event planner and decided to start her own event-planning company, titled a Polished plan.

The business launched in March. Taggart created a business plan and a website. She drew on her experiences and was hired through word-of-mouth by a few Fairfield County brides who wanted her to create the wedding of their dreams.

Taggart decided to start her own business because she wanted to do what she loves and express her creativity through event planning.

"I like to plan creatively," she said. "This job gives you freedom and flexibility. I decided now or never -- do it now and give it a shot."

Taggart's process begins when she meets with her client. Although she's been charged with mostly weddings, she is emphatic that she enjoys planning other types of parties -- birthdays, corporate outings and special events. She recently did a 60th birthday party where she was able to use a more flexible creativity in her designs.

"It's fun; you have more creative ability," she said. "It's not just wedding etiquette."

Taggart and her client decide how much help she can be. She can be there every step of the way -- meeting with vendors, setting up contracts, suggesting ideas and planning the overall vision for someone who isn't sure what they want. She can also help at the very beginning and end portions of the process -- getting everything together and then helping out as the approaches. She offers what she calls a "month-of" service to help with final details, like things the bride hasn't even thought of, and on the weekend of the wedding she is at the client's disposal, making sure everything runs smoothly.

"I have my checklists, iPad, BlackBerry -- a planner is a problem fixer," she said. "Some people just want to be the bride and need someone to take the last details off her plate."

One bride who has Taggart's present attention is Darien resident Christine Flynn. The 2004 Darien High School graduate is marrying Joseph Devine at the Country Club of Darien next week. A recommendation from her photographer led her to Taggart's business.

"We wanted someone who could help us with a lot of the logistics, coordinate everything, work with vendors and give us advice," Flynn said. "We wanted an expert in this kind of stuff who we could hand it off to. Our photographer said she'd be a great resource -- organized and diligent. She's been that and more so it's been really great."

Flynn believes having a wedding planner take a lot of the pressure off the bride and allows her to enjoy the moment.

"Her organization had kept me really at ease and kept it fun instead of being a giant burden of stress," she said. "[Taggart is] extremely helpful and allowing me to enjoy the process."
Taggart knows what the Fairfield Country bride wants. Trends are apparent here on the Gold Coast.

"The Fairfield County bride is preppy and nautical," she said. "There are a lot of beautiful venues here so people are keeping the decor simple; you don't need a lot."

The venues in this area make Taggart's job easier. They are often equipped with everything needed to make an event a success -- experienced staff, tableware, linens, seating and catering are often included. Taggart makes sure everything is up to par for her brides, but overall she's happy with venues she's worked with, which include Wee Burn, Country Club of Darien, Country Club of New Canaan and Greenwich's Belle Haven Club.

"They're very well equipped -- for a planner that's a beautiful thing," she said.

As for her own wedding, which took place last year, Taggart was able to play the part of both the planner and the client. She loved being able to make all the decisions and let her creativity run free.

"It was a lot of fun. It was a chance to be 100 percent creative on my own," she said. "When you're a planner you look at things objectively. [But with my wedding] I got wrapped up in it; I was a bride true to heart. I just wanted to have a perfect day."

She chose a nautical theme -- her husband is in the Coast Guard -- and was married in a non-denominational church in New London with a reception following at Harkness Memorial Park in Waterford. Do-it-yourself details, another big trend right now, personalized the wedding. She designed the escort cards: old postcards with names and table numbers written in calligraphy and hung from clotheslines. She designed the programs and put together a candy bar for her guests.

"It was really fun," she said. "DIY is a huge trend -- 20 years ago you wouldn't say you made anything yourself. But now people are wowed by it. It's the economy -- getting more for your money."

Next up for Taggart is a Flynn's classic yet modern wedding at the Country Club of Darien next week. She is in the final stages of the planning process and is excited about the turnout.

"The wedding has a lot of greys, smoke, whites and lime green," she said. "It's Oct. 8 but you don't have to do fall colors. You can make a unique event with a still-seasonal neutral palette."

She enjoys working with ideas and visions that constantly challenge her, but her favorite types of wedding are rustic and vintage affairs. A "casual but gorgeous" approach is her favorite. The only thing a bride needs to make her wedding perfect is a plan and the ability to execute it perfectly. That's where a Polished plan steps in.

"The word `polished' is fabulous; it popped into my head [when thinking of a company name]," she said. "It explains how most brides want their day to be -- put together, seamless and cohesive. A gorgeous, polished affair."

Visit Taggart's website at www.apolishedplan.com.


A scene from a birthday celebration by Sarah Taggart of a Polished plan, at a private residence in Darien. Photography by Jamie Collins Photography.


The inside of the tented reception at Lindsay and Blaine Hurty's wedding at Wee Burn Country Club.


The event planner and her husband Zack pose for a bouquet shot at Harkness Memorial Park. Photography by Snap! Photography.


Ashley and Daphne Bourne take a fun shot; their wedding was at Wee Burn Beach Club. Photography by Maly Bloomberg Photography


The escort card table at the Darien birthday celebration at a private residence. Photography by Jamie Collins Photography.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The jewelry box

I love jewelry. I switch between the daintier, fine jewelry pieces I'm lucky to own and big clunky "junk jewelry" that are fun to wear.

There are a few basic pieces every girl should own, as well as cheap, trendy baubles you can rock for one season only. I recommend Forever 21 for jewelry like this - it's the cheapest of the cheap. You can get some dangly feather earrings, (feathers are hot right now!) or funky bohemian bracelets and necklace for as little as $2. The other girly teen stores also carry a great selection of up to the minute trends, although slightly more expensive; like $8 vs. Forever 21's $5. No big deal.

I'm liking the feather trend right now. Especially ostrich feathers - they're so colorful and the blues greens and purples are really nice jewel tones. The key is to wear them alone - too much and you can look like a performer.

The bohemian look is in. My cheap favorite: a load of glittery peachy gold bangles from Forever 21 for $6. An arm full of bangles is an easy way to put summer into your wardrobe.

I'm always a fan of pearls - they're so classy and they can make any outfit look more pulled together. I have a few sets of pearls from my grandmother but my favorite is my Chanel costume jewery strands of pearls with silver charms. You can find similar styles at any of the girl stores too. Pearls with ribbons and chains look awesome.

I also like huge colored stone bib necklaces. I'm sure the Housewives on tv (who also seem to favor these necklaces) have real ones but fakes are fine. They dress up everything. So cute.

Huge flower rings are in right now. I got mine, a huge rhinestone-encrusted flower, at Forever 21. They bring the drama during a night now.

I like to add a friendship bracelet-like item to my wrist to switch it up sometimes. Charlotte Russe usually has them in a bucket by the register. I have two cord ones, a tan and gold heart one and a black and red rhinestone lips one.

A few of my fine jewelry pieces are trendy too, but I've been wearing them for awhile and they still serve me well. One is the Tiffany key necklace, which I like to wear with the "Diamonds by the Yard" necklace. I like a smaller charm necklace and a longer, semi-matching one to wear with it.

Honestly, if I didn't inherit my grandmothers amazing just under 2 carat diamond solitaire (lucky lucky) I would have possibly wanted a different stone for an engagement ring. Everyone has a diamond engagement ring. And you truly have to spend a lot of get a nice one. There are stones out there that are just as beautiful - Kate Middleton's sapphire included, of course. I like the trend on different engagement ideas. Sapphires, aquamarines, amethysts, pink tourmalines and rubies all make gorgeous rings. And you can get them cut much bigger than an equally-expensive diamond would be. Just a thought. I know I wouldn't mind if I was given a huge pink ring!

I also like a mix of white and yellow gold. A few of my pieces have both; I have a Michael Kors watch with both, as well as some necklaces. It's convenient because then you can wear the pieces with everything. I know its me being OCD, but if I have sandals or a bag with gold hardware, I don't want to wear white gold jewelry. But most of my jewelry is white gold or silver - so then what do I do. With jewelry that has both I can wear it with whatever. It's also unexpected and different, which is what I'm always looking for.

Finally, one of my favorite places to go for knockoff cheap jewely (that often looks like the real thing) is Chinatown. Yes, I know, shhh about it, but everyone goes. It's a guilty pleasure for all of us. I wont say when I go or what I get but I always walk away happy. And with my wallet happy too.

Here's a few things I'm liking now:

Chanel flower ring



Glittery rainbow bangles from Forever 21



Feather necklace (also in pink)



Tiffany key necklace


Tiffany "Diamonds by the Yard" necklaces



Charlotte Russe pearl and flower necklace



Charlotte Russe "love" friendship bracelet



Lanvin knotted pearl and ribbon bracelet

New York and Company bib necklace

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Healthy living



I'll admit, I didn't always eat healthy. I grew up in a pizza and bagels kind of italian family and I never really learned about nutrition. We got to go to McDonalds a lot when I was a kid. Which was awesome then. Now, not so much.

I tend to favor quick and easy meals, and the drive through was no exception. When I went away to college I gorged myself on the buffet-style food in the cafeteria, or the fast food in the takeout place on campus. Even when I had my own apartment I fileld the freezer with frozen foods: pizza rolla, garlic bread and frozen dinners. For as much crap as I was eating I gained only a relativity small amount. I could've done worse. But over the years I began to gain more and I felt terrible: tired and sleepy all the time. I often got sick, which was a result of late nights, unhealthy food and a lot of drinking.

As soon as college was over my habits continued because I didn't know anything else. I counted calories - a piece of white bread has less than whole wheat - and that's all that mattered. But even though a cheeseburger from McDonalds only had 300 calories - the same as a bowl of Kashi, soy milk and a banana - the nutrients were just not there. So about two years ago I completely overhauled my lifestyle.

I never set foot in a gym in my life. One day I was watching some kids at the school I worked at and I got winded playing kickball with them. I was so out of shape. I took note, but still didn't do anything about out. Then, two years ago, I got fed up. I researched nutrition and fitness, joined a gym, got a trainer, dumped my old eating habits and committed to a healthier lifestyle. And what an amazing change it has been.

I've lost a good amount of weight, but even better is the energy I have and the way I feel. I feel healthy and strong. I don't deprive myself at all, but I always have fruit during the day and veggies with meals, eat leaner protein and have completely cut out all artificial ingredients. I simply wont eat it. I've learned so much in the past few years people actually ask me health and food questions! I feel like if its not going to benefit my body I don't want to eat it.

Not to say I don't slip up. Often when I got home I run into trouble because my family still has the same eating habits; my mom also likes to bake and her icing is amazing (and filled with butter and sugar!). I try to buy my own healthy food to keep in the house and snack on innocuous things when we go to parties - pretzels or cheese and crackers. I just make sure when I get back to my life I continue my healthy habits. Sometimes I try some new supplements or a cleanse. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. I've gone through stages and changes and it's constant work. But I feel accomplished overall. I can outlift many of my peers and I have better eating habits than most people I know. This makes me feel good.

The only thing I truly have an issue with is stress. I have a high-stress job that really affects me. I've learned to cope with it by taking breaks and doing yoga when I get home but it's something I'm still learning to deal with. I'll update as I make progress, which I hope will be soon. I also have a possible move in the works - I'm getting married and my fiance lives outside of Philly so I'm considering a move there for a change of pace. I've been in Connecticut for 5 years and it's time to move on. I've kinda checked out of here mentally and I think that's contributing to my stress. So we'll see where life takes me.

I'll close with some of my favorite health tips I've learned over the past few years!

-Always eat breakfast, but make sure it has a lot of fiber and protein which fill you up and set the tone for your day. Sugar so early will cause a crash.

-Fruit is actually meant to be eaten alone. I'll snack on it in between meals on an empty stomach. It's easier to digest this way and your body metabolizes it better. Don't follow a heavy meal with fruit.

-Foods like wine, dark chocolate, berries and green tea have a lot of antioxidants which are great for your body. Indulge in these.

-Always read labels. You'll be surprised with how many things you can't pronounce are on the label. I always choose the produce with the least amount of ingredients, or the most nutritious ones.

-Know your products. I knwo I'm generally safe if choose to eat foods from companies that produce healthy fare. I love Kashi, Annies, Vitalicious and Nature's Promise.

-Shop smart. I know when I buy from Whole Foods or Trader Joes I'm getting quality food with good ingredients. Trader Joes is really inexpensive too. But you can even shop smart at Wal Mart if you know what you're looking for.

-Eat whole grains. I love carbs, and I will never give them up. So I traded the white refines stuff for whole grain or whole wheat and not only does it taste better but it keeps you fuller and more satisfied.

-Know your sugars. Propaganda aside, high fructose corn syrup is a man-made sugar. It's used in tons of products because its cheap to make. Look at your "maple" syrup. It's mostly HFCS! And be aware that the HFCS industry is trying to change the name to "corn sugar." Same thing. Cane sugar is natural, stevia and honey are good also. Don't even thing about aspartame: Sweet N Low/Splenda/Equal are all artificial and overuse can lead to cancer. Avoide "sugar-free"; this means it's made with one of those. The natural sweet substance least likely to spike blood sugar is agave nectar. Find it at a health food store.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summertime - Updates

Summer is here in the Northeast - finally! It's been wayyy too long since I've updated the blog. I've been crazy busy, but here are some things I'm working on for this season.

My art
I've been drawing and painting lately and I love it. It allows me to express my creativity, which is a basic need for me. I'm doing a lot of DIY items for the wedding and invitations are one of them. I found a designer I want to emulate - watercolor flowers on heavy cardstock with different damask borders and tied with a rhinestone buckled ribbon. Gorgeous. I gotta get going on that.

Health and nutrition
I'm doing another cleanse. This one is modified; as much as I love the Blueprint Cleanse it's just too hard for me to sustain myself on juice alone. It was incredibly challenging. I'm supplementing juices with whole and raw foods on this one, and it's two weeks long. I'm doing the 365 cleanse from Whole Foods. I like trying different kinds. I've just been eating junk and drinking too much and I need to get those toxins out. Plus its summer and it's time to get healthy. I'll let you know how it goes.

Style
Summer is an easy breezy clothing season. I live in dresses, tanks and cutoffs. But I of course like to dress them up for work or going out. I recently bought these cute wraparound strappy sandals from a cheap store and saw them in a Glamour editorial! They were about ten times the price in the mag though. I love when that happens. I always pay attention to the runway and fashion coverage and recreate high fashion looks for less. Speaking of, I'll end with a few of my favorite summer looks I'm feelin!

Express


H&M (just bought this)



NY and Company


Bebe


Bebe


BCBG


Lily Pullitzer



More to come!

30 years of fashion: Mitchells hosts Michael Kors' fashion show




By Belinda Stasiukiewicz
bstasiukiewicz@bcnnew.com

Thirty years of fashion came together in one outstanding line at Mitchells of Westport Tuesday, May 10. Celebrity designer and Project Runway judge Michael Kors presented a fashion show at the high-end store. Kors, who also serves as a judge on "Project Runway," greeted fans, took photos and even dressed some of his most loyal fashion-followers.

The event was an exclusive fashion show for Kors' Fall 2011 line. People flocked to the upscale department store and stood anywhere they could catch a peek as models walked down the runway showing off the goods everyone will wear, or wish they could wear, this fall.
According to the designer, his latest line is special to him because it celebrates his work over the past 30 years.

Kors began his fashion career as a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, and launched his first womenswear line at stores like Bloomingdales and Saks in 1981. From there, he became creative director at French line Celine before focusing on his own empire in the early 2000s.
Part of his appeal is his varied lines are accessible to everyone. His designs span from high-end designer pieces that make up Michael Kors, to the affordable and trendy womenswear included in MICHAEL Michael Kors.

Models dressed in the high-end line took the runway at Mitchells. Kors' creations included trouser suits, Grecian gowns, trench coats, oversized fur jackets and, to everyone's delight -- as gasps and cheers emitted from the crowd -- glittery disco dresses and tops. Colors were neutral and sophisticated -- creamy beige, hot red, charcoal gray. Plenty of sex appeal, too -- many tops showed off plunging necklines and a few sheer items left virtually nothing to the imagination.

This line combined all of Kors' work from the past three decades. He took a step back and used the fashion ideas he liked most from each era to create one all-inclusive collection.

"I think back to each decade -- the sex appeal of the '70s, the sportiness of the '80s, the simplicity of the '90s and the glamour of the beginning of this decade -- all merged together," he said.

Fashionistas from all over Fairfield County chattered about the clothes as models walked by. After the show, Kors met with fans and even helped assess their choices as they tried on items. Mitchells sales associates brought racks of clothing straight from backstage for women to pour over.

"That looks great on you!" Kors exclaimed as a young girl tried on a beige pantsuit with the low-cut disco top underneath. As he talked with her a dressing room door opened and another women in the same outfit in black came out. "You look great too," he said. "We have both colors here."
Attendees enjoyed talking about their favorites.
"I loved the black halter pantsuit," Audrey Dinkeloo said. "They were beautiful -- all fabulous. I'll have to come back to try them all on." Dinkleoo and her daughter, Sydney, attend many of Mitchells' events.
Sales associates at Mitchells have a personal relationships with their customers, "We're like a family," Scott Mitchell said in his opening speech, and the Dinkleoo's enjoy being part of it.
Ginny Pittarelli is also a regular Mitchells customer. Even though she recently moved from Westport to Manhattan, she came back specifically for the show.

"Mitchells is an extended family for me," she said. "I try not to miss an event." She was sporting a purple Michael Kors dress with a sweater; seemingly all the attendees were paying tribute to the designer by wearing his creations.

Kors has a special relationship with Mitchells, and with Fairfield County in general. He has hosted fashion shows for four years; the previous years at Mitchells' sister store, Richards, in Greenwich. "Every May he comes to Connecticut; he's inspired by Fairfield County," Andrew Mitchell said. "We opened our Michael Kors shop last year; it's been successful."

Kors indeed loves this part of the country.

"Fairfield County is the perfect blend of gorgeous country and big city sophistication," he said. "It's luxurious and comfortable -- which is part of the Michael Kors DNA."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Inspiration in trying times

It's well into winter now. I'm trying to focus on the pretty stuff in life to get me through these dark, dreary days. Unfortunately there's alot of negative things going on in the world. I feel like if we all took a minute and appreciate the beauty of life this world would be a better place.

I'm looking ahead to spring. I'm ready to take off my boots and walk barefoot through the grass. I can't wait for the cherry blossoms to bloom and evenings to stay bright and sunny and that first spring day when the temperature reaches past 70 degrees. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Let's focus on the task at hand: finding inspiration in the depths of winter.

I always find inspiration in the strangest places. Movies and tv often inspire me. I've always been pretty imaginative, and I like to use ideas I see on the screen in my everyday life. Needless to say, HGTV, TLC and the Food Network are some of my favorite networks. I also have some favorite people who are just the essence of creativity, inspiration and class. These people may be fashion icons (Victoria Beckham, Betsey Johnson, Anna Wintour) celebrities (Lady Gaga, Madonna) or even reality tv personalities (Lisa Vanderpump from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the Kardashian girls). These people are unafraid to be themselves, and often have great style. They use their whole lifestyle to show the world what they're made of, and are wildly successful  because of it. Who can't admire that?

I often look to magazines to inspire me. As much as the information online is easy to access and always available, nothing can quite replace a magazine to me. Having the tangible object in my hand, smelling the scent from its pages, seeing the editorial layouts on smooth, shiny paper; how can you replace that? My favorites include fashion, beauty cooking and interior design magazines. I cut out my favorite articles and things that isnpire me and put them into a scrapbook. Whenever I need inspiration, for a story or project, whatever, I pull it out and look it over. Similarily, I put on one of my favorite DVR'ed shows or movies and they inspire me as well.

My favorite movies include the always-popular fashion flicks Clueless, Legally Blonde and The Devil Wears Prada. Whenever I'm in a fashion funk I put one on. I also get fashion inspiration from different genres: Alice in Wonderland for example. The costumes in the movie are gorgeous. I need to start making my own clothes! As for inspiration on the interior design front, I need only turn on HGTV. I also pick up on things in the places I go: restaurants for example. I like to take details from nice eateries and incorporate them into my home. I often use ideas from dining rooms at restaurants in my own dining room. Some clothing stores have great decor; I can imagine decorating a little girl's room like the Pink room at Victoria's Secret, or an entranceway like a Brighton store.

The most important thing to me when I'm feeling down is to concentrate on something I love. Designing and decorating are things I've always enjoyed doing; and when it's cold and snowy out (If I'm not at work!) there's no better time than to rearrange your closet or start a new design project. So use the dreary winter to get things accomplished! Find your inspiration and use it in everything you do!

xoxo,
B