Beautiful Life and Style


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Deja Vu.. and the art of blogging

WARNING: Taking a minute today to rant about the art of blogging. Regular content to resume tomorrow.

It is no secret that bloggers love J.crew. And why wouldn’t we?? Brightly colored classics, affordable statement jewelry, well designed prints- its a dream. But there is a downside to having this accessible mecca of blogtastic items- we all share it – constantly- and many times its the same 5 items… Today I’m talking about the colorblock tartine satchel.

First I saw it here. Then here. Then here and today here. And I can’t remember as I’m writing this but I’m sure I’ve seen it a few other places too….. It seems like everyone and their mother thinks this bag is the cat’s meow. But is it really? Has anyone seen it in person? Or does it just have great colors and photograph well?? I dunno, front-on it looks lovely- but side view??? It seems rather gigantic and a little awkward to carry under your arm:

Tartine SatchelTartine Satchel2

 

I don’t mean to be criticizing these ladies in anyway- I love each of their blogs and draw on them daily for inspiration. I mean, as you can see each post has the bag mixed up different ways. They are in no way the only “offenders” , and this is not the first “viral” blog item. Remember the Jcrew bubble necklace??? Then a few months ago it was the US launch of Zara Home (did anyone even buy anything??) and we saw it again a few weeks ago when everyone shared images of Miranda Brooks home featured in Vogue (don’t we ALL get the magazine??).

What is it that makes a specific item (product, image, design, painting, etc.) sharable? And how is it that no matter how long we spend researching new ideas, we oftentimes end up sharing the same ones? I can’t even count how many times I’ll have come up with an “original” post to only find out its been blogged 10 other places – with the same images! And then I catch myself thinking- did I truly come up with this idea independently?? or was it somehow influenced by something I saw earlier?? (Kind of like Leibniz and Calculus…… too nerdy??? I’ll stop…)

Is something great because its truly great- or do I think its great because others told me it is? Do we post something just so everyone knows “hey- I know this awesome thing exists- I’m not blind to trends!” Or is it to be one of the popular kids-this club where “omg you wear sperry’s and like diptyque candles too??”

When I was little I used to enjoy reading catalogs. Not magazines- literally Pottery Barn, Bloomingdales and Hannah Anderson catalogs. My mom would even send me some in care packages at summer camp just so that I could skim through and look at outfits and products. I don’t know what it was that made me enjoy them- but just imagine my delight to what the internet has evolved into today. An ENDLESS supply of visual stimulation. So maybe I’m the only crazy person to notice how many times the same things appear everywhere- because I spend hours online everyday?

There is this mantra in blogging that you should post EVERYDAY no matter what, to help build a readership. Well- I can say its sometimes difficult to post something new everyday- especially if you are looking to share cool things that aren’t over-blogged about. I don’t like the idea of someone noticing the days I don’t have more time to devote to research, or a more original idea to share- the perfectionist/ introvert inside me says NO! So I second guess myself and don’t post. But maybe I should- maybe I’m missing out on an aspect of blogging where we love and read each other BECAUSE we have so much in common.

I in NO WAY have 10,000 readers, but it truly makes my day when I recognize someone from a previous comment. So at the end of this long ramble-  are you still here???- this question is for the handful of you: What keeps you coming back to read? Which posts/topics are your favorite? am I deluding myself thinking that anything can be truly original?

All Blogs

guilty??? via

Note: I almost deleted this post. I’m guilty of everything I say here- and I’m probably not articulating my point in the clearest way. I hope no one gets offended- because its something that EVERYONE writing a blog must deal with. The irony is that I’m sure I’m not the first one to post these questions! I guess I just wanted to throw out a frustration I have. Do you see it too? Do you have a blog? How do you distinguish yourself as an individual thinker while still staying relevant to the interests of your readers?

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Business Casual

Ohhhhhhh Businesss Casual- the most vague of all dress codes, ranging from dressy jeans to pencil skirts with silk tops. But with all the flexibility- people STILL get it wrong. There must be some serious grey area on the line between “casual” and “business casual”. I know I work for an engineering company (notoriously challenged dressers) but I was in SHOCK today when i saw a girl walking around in a hoodie. Not a cute sweater hoodie- an actual sweatshirt. I mean, dressing for work shouldn’t be so difficult! Pretty much my rule is “If you can wear heels with it, its a go” but I guess not everyone got the memo. I’m not saying you have to have some super corporate/ super expensive wardrobe- but I think if you want to be taken professionally in this world, you need to dress professionally.

So here is my quick guide to dressing for the “business casual” office. Let me know your thoughts- maybe I’ll extend this feature to different dress codes as well- or maybe even put together a feature for the guys out there (are there any who read this??….besides you, Nick?)

The best part is I think that each one of these tops could be matched with ANY of the bottoms- that’s 25 different outfits for those of you counting!!

Business Casual Workweek


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Fall Colors

Yesterday Nick and I went to Fenway Park for an amazing food festival hosted by Phantom Gourmet. Even though it was pretty chilly with on and off showers- there isn’t much that will scare away a New England crowd, and people turned up to sample the 100+ vendors in swarms. We tried everything from clam chowder to pulled pork sandwiches and there was definitely a healthy dose of people watching. Which is where this post really begins. I was almost at the point of disgust to see that 99% of people at the event were wearing jeans- and the only reason I can’t say 100% is because I wore black leggings. I wish I had taken a picture to demonstrate how everyone looked exactly the SAME.

Which got me thinking, since when are jeans the American uniform? When given the option we seriously wear nothing else! Don’t believe me? Look around. At the grocery store? Jeans. At the airport? Jeans. At a bar? Jeans! I mean I get it – there are few options for pants that are comfier or more versatile than your trusty blue jeans, especially when it starts to get cold- but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options! Especially this season, because the amount of colored denim in stores is almost more than regular jeans! There are no excuses, ladies! I know this past summer pastel jeans started working their way into Boston wardrobes- but lets not stop there! I’ve rounded up a few beautiful examples of how to wear these colored jeans right through fall-  would you do it? Which look is your favorite?

Sources: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

 


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Eye Opening Os Gemeos Mural in Boston

This past weekend I was mindlessly wandering around Facebook when I came across the “Boston, Massachusetts” page and noticed that someone had posted a picture of our city’s newest public art by the graffiti artists, Os Gemeos. I thought it was bright and colorful and was happy to see that we are starting to embrace street art in Boston. But I speak too soon- I was shocked to see the responses. There are currently 947 comments, and 623 more at Fox News– I won’t make you read through them all. They all fall into two categories:

The first half went something like this:  “Looks like a terrorists wife. It is a slap in the face to all those who lost someone on 9/11 & another slap in the face to our military who is over there risking there lives.”

The second half went something like this: “How does this represent Boston or the people that live and work here? I don’t like it. I don’t understand it.”

Firstly, in what sick world do we live in that anyone with a head covering is automatically a terrorist? Just because someone is muslim, doesn’t mean they are a terrorist. And just because someone drapes a shirt over their face CERTAINLY doesn’t mean they are Muslim. And while I know this wasn’t intended to be a Muslim- what would be so wrong if it was?

Secondly, where is the rule stated that everything in Boston must “fit in” with the rest of the city? I’m pretty sure the Prudential Center was revolutionary architecture at the time, and the Zakim Bridge certainly isn’t lined with cobblestone… We don’t live in the 17th century anymore, and not every sign in the city has to have a picture of Paul Revere and an American Flag on it. Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean its bad- maybe it means you should expand your horizons and learn something new!

Additionally, I don’t care how great of a picture you get on your computer screen –  it’s pretty hard to judge art until you see it. Think about someone trying to appreciate the colors of a Rothko, or the glow of a John Singer Sargent painting without standing in front of it…. Luckily, this is down the street from us, so Nick and I took a stroll to the Greenway, with cameras in hand, ready to take in our new mural.

Crouched between the skyscrapers..

I don’t know about you, but I really like it! Love the colors, love the scale and the creative use of the building. I have to be honest that it is a lot more bold than the rest of the buttoned up greenway, and I’m surprised they got the approval- but I’m all for it. Its unlike anything I’ve seen before in Boston (or anywhere for that matter) and this is a good thing! The definition of what makes good art is continually evolving- to me it certainly includes a well thought out piece that inspires creative thought and discussion.

love the little faces hidden throughout!

Os Gemeos, “the twins” in Portuguese, are actually Otávio and Gustavo Pandolfo, two street artists with a growing presence in the urban art world. Their yellow characters are a recurring theme in their work, as are the hats, hoods and scarves they are often depicted in. In the past, Os Gemeos has been quoted as saying they paint what they dream. I would really like to step into one of these dreams- they seem so colorful and fantastic! The mural is privately funded and has been put up in correlation with an exhibit at the ICA featuring the art of the duo. (Time for a field trip!)  I think that public art installations are a fabulous way to exhibit the work of street artists- obviously the work they are most known around the world for cannot usually fit inside a museum, so to also leave their mark in more “traditional” ways throughout the city offers greater exposure and understanding to what makes the artists great.

The detail and shading is spectacular!

I don’t think any picture I take could make you truly appreciate the size of this mural. It is 70’x70′ and it was impossible for me to get a close up shot of the entire piece.  It is crazy picturing them on cranes painting, not even being able to step back and view each addition of color, and yet at the same time they were able to fill in each nook and cranny with detail.

me putting the size in perspective…

With all of the controversy surrounding the mural, the hatred seems to be fueled by a limited few who hide behind the shield of their computer screens: as issued in a public statement- the ICA has only received one formal complaint. GOOD. I hope it is here to stay and this doesn’t become a “one step forward, two steps back” moment for our city.

What do you think of it?


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Target, Neimans and the CFDA love story

Have you heard? Target and Neiman Marcus are joining forces to create a capsule collection of 24 CFDA Designers. The collection will debut this holiday season and will feature items ranging up to nearly $500, but most are promised to be below $60.

I’m curious what everyone’s thoughts on this are. I know I won’t make a lot of friends by saying this, and I don’t mean to come off as a fashion snob (because I’m not) but I really hate all of these top designers cheapening their brands for the mass-market stores. Not too long ago there was the Marni for H&M, and Mary Katrantzou for Topshop, or who can forget the Missioni for Target. These collaborations seem to be more and more frequent, and I really wonder what the point is? I get that it brings some brand notoriety to the market-but at what price to the designer? While they are certainly big money makers for the stores, I have to imagine the designers are sacrificing part of what their brand is built upon to make their clothes available to the greater consumer.

Hear me out.

Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta makes some of the most beautiful gowns in the world. His fabrics are all gorgeous and each detail of a dress right down to the tiniest zipper has been thought through- not to mention that everything is made in America. The precision craftsmanship and attention to detail and quality is the backbone of the brand. Now, I don’t care how carefully or closely he monitors Target- they cannot afford to create clothing in the same way. For less than $60, they could barely afford the threads and sequins of a real Oscar de la Renta Gown. So what is the consumer buying? The name.

Carolina Herrera

Carolina Herrera is another perfect example of a designer who’s attention to detail is legendary. Her garments are always simple with amazing flourishes- whether it be an intricate sleeve or neckline. Luxurious yet wearable. Well if you take away the luxury aspect what are you going to be left with? A very pretty, cheap sundress? when wearing it will you really say- this is a Carolina Herrera? No- because it won’t be. Everything that the brand stands for won’t be there. But the actual brand label will be.

Prabal Gurung

So these designers agree to lower the quality for the sake of promoting and growing the brand. But now that “brand” also includes cheap, quickly produced tshirts and pants? How does that not detract from the name overall? Now Prabal Gurung will be known for his runway clothing and his $60 dresses. What makes his target dress any better than the average target designer at this point?

What about the DVF prints? Or the Rag and Bone tailoring? Who really believes that these won’t be sacrificed up for profits? Am I alone here? When you take out the elemental reason a brand is a luxury, what keeps them appealing?