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."