Striped Spring

With Spring in the Step . . . JCrew striped dress (last year's) and Wolford lace capris

With Spring in the Step . . . JCrew striped dress (last year’s) and Wolford lace capris

Yesterday (Saturday) in NYC brought temperatures breaking 70F.  With the sun shining bright, it was the perfect day for an afternoon walk even if I was working all day and all evening on various things.

The first days of spring tend to incite an adventurous spirit.  Sartorial fantasies build over the winter—the sleeveless fluttery blouse, the thin linen pants, the billowy dress, the ballerinas and sandals—and finally we can indulge.  So when the temperature hit so high this Saturday, I found myself wanting to break out of my norms and wear an entirely new combination.  I wanted a sartorial adventure.

I have a love for shorter dresses . . . the proportions just look better for my shorter legs.  That doesn’t mean shorter dresses always flatter me, though; like many women of my age, the bumpiness of the thighs can murder any ideas of really showing off the legs.  As a result, I have a few dresses hanging in the closet that I’ve never worn.  Sacrilege.  So while the snow still lay upon the ground, I grabbed a couple pairs of Wolford’s lace-edged capri tights.  I’ve watched women wear capri tights with dresses and tunics for years now, but I’ve never indulged myself.  Time to try it out!  I felt a little ridiculous, but it was also very freeing—no need to worry about walking up and down metro steps or about the wind blowing!  I paired the combo with some simple ballerinas from Patagonia (so very casual) and the indigo barenia Evelyne bag.

Despite it seeming so early in the spring season, I already can’t show my face to the sun.  Sunburn!  Because I’ve been having some big-time sensitivity issues with my skin this winter, I’d been avoiding even my lovely sunscreen.  No more—I simply can’t do it.  But in combination with the sunscreen, I picked up this hat (what’s the style???  I don’t know the name) from H&M earlier in the week.  I love it.  I had to get it super tight so it won’t blow off my head—which means I can’t take it off or else risk showing all the indentions on my forehead (I’m so pretty), but it’s definitely a feel-good hat.  For $13, it’s a steal.  Between sunscreen, hat, and big sunglasses, even my prickly skin is revealing its paleness again.

Today (Sunday) promises more beautiful weather.  I have more work to do all day, but I plan to indulge in another, even longer walk.

How has the adventurous spirit of Spring moved you?

Posted in Daily Vestment, Vestiary

A Moment of Kitty Zen

The dear one . . . finding her perfect place

The dear one . . . finding her perfect place

A moment of kitty zen . . . because this week, I need it.

How about you?

Posted in Aesthetic Life

Day at the Ritz

DvF wrap dress (with blouson sleeves), Ralph Lauren shearling gilet, Wolford net tights, YSL boots, and Hermès Indigo Chèvre 37cm Drag II

DvF wrap dress (with blouson sleeves), Ralph Lauren shearling gilet, Wolford net tights, YSL boots, and Hermès Indigo Chèvre 37cm Drag II

Ahhhhh . . . the sweetness of silk and shearling and leather together

Ahhhhh . . . the sweetness of silk and shearling and leather together

Thank you so much, everyone, for helping me celebrate my most recently found perfections.  I know it’s not world peace, but it does make me more peaceful inside to know something is right.

And talking about right, it help underscores the joy I have inspiring the creativity of others.  That’s really my core aim in my everyday life; it’s my work and it’s my way of navigating in the world.  So it gives me exceptionally great pleasure to finally meet face-to-face with my writers, and the start of spring is bringing them to NYC one right after the other.  Early last week, for instance, another client came to town.  We’ve been working together for about six months now as she develops a book for women, but this was our first chance to be together in person.  She kindly invited me for a day at the Ritz—and how could I refuse?  From before noon to very late at night, we indulged in champagne, food, and sweets while talking about the inspirations we find as women.  It was a complete delight.

As the weekend tempts, and the fullness of this week here at AA closes, I find myself thinking a lot about pleasure, inspiration, and enjoyment. Enjoying the self, enjoying one’s work, enjoying the feel of textiles and leathers against the skin.  Enjoying the ache of a good walk, enjoying the rain when it hits the hand.  Life is very much a challenge, so it becomes all the more important to find enjoyment where we can.  That can be in a scent or in a piece of silk.  It can be savoring a confection with a beloved and reconnecting with an old friend.  It can be found in taking up a pen to write an actual letter or in tapping away at a text on the phone.

What enjoyment are you rediscovering as springtime begins?

Posted in Aesthetic Life, DvF, Hermès

The Mythiques Phoenix Rises From the Barenia Fall-Out

Hermès Mythiques Phoenix pareo RTW SS2014 in Blue Ink—with my new-to-me Indigo Barenia Evelyne 2 PM

Hermès Mythiques Phoenix pareo RTW SS2014 in Blue Ink—with my new-to-me Indigo Barenia Evelyne 2 PM

Allow me to introduce the two newest favorite Hermès pieces.  They go fabulously with absolutely everything in my everyday wardrobe, and they speak volumes with the quietest of details.

First, the neutral scarf of all neutral scarves: Mythiques Phoenix cotton pareo in Blue Ink.  This was found in the RTW section of Hermès boutiques, as it’s part of the larger RTW collection of dresses, tunics, and swimwear.

Right away, credit needs to be given where credit is due.  A week or so before the H meet-up, I started going through the “Spring 2014 Scarves” thread on the Purse Forum for the first time.  I didn’t know anything about the scarves this season except for a random look-about earlier in winter with a fellow scarf lover—so I needed to get up to speed. As soon as I saw a couple of women modeling this scarf, I knew.  This was the one.  THIS.  And so that day MP and I stopped off in Hermès Madison.  I first went to the pareo section on the third floor before a gentleman figured out why it wasn’t available in his department and sent me down to the second.  By the time I’d arrived, he’d called and a SA now waited for me.  Oh my!  I liked that.  So I dove right in and described what I wanted.  Her news was sad: What they received had sold.  But would I like her to find one?  Oh you bet!  And so while MP and I looked through all the beautiful RTW pieces (she graciously offered me a dressing room . . . that I didn’t accept, sigh), she studied her computer.  Success!  She found one to bring in.  I was so excited.

By Wednesday, I was all aflutter.  Why hadn’t she called?  Had it been a joke?  Was she giving it to someone else?  I nearly stopped by during my afternoon walk, but I held firm.  Wait for the call.  Thirty minutes after returning home, the phone rang—it had arrived!  And so I ran in first thing the next day.  Acting like I was studying its play with my skin, I pretended to wind it around my head, but the truth was I was too certain to figure out what to think. So I packed it up to bring home and show MP.

A neutral scarf is the hardest scarf to find.  I mean, given that it’s neutral, is it really the thing to fork over a few hundred dollars?  Wouldn’t a DvF scarf on sale be the better choice?  You know I love Hermès—oh how I love Hermès—but I’m fully aware that there are other things to be found in the world.  If I was going to keep this scarf, it had to be perfect.  So I brought it home and let it sit in the bag for hours while waiting for MP to return.  Maybe he was late, because then I got antsy.  I hesitantly opened the box . . .  Would it be beautiful? . . . and then lifted it out.  Barely looking at it, I brought it to the mirror and draped it over my shoulders.  And that’s when words left me.

The MP (isn't that perfect?) pareo draped simply over the shoulders

The MP (isn’t that perfect?) pareo draped simply over the shoulders

I loved this scarf so much at that moment, I again didn’t trust myself.  So I waited until MP came home—but he loved it, even when pressed.  And then I didn’t trust him, so I kept the tags on until after our Saturday H meet-up so that my dear H friend could see and judge it too.  That’s what I love about fellow H friends; we can brutally honest about how things look.  And her reaction was beyond what I anticipated.  There really was nothing except perfect about this scarf.  How perfect?  Well, she called up the SA who helped me and ordered one too.

PSA: If you desire this pareo, contact H now.

The funny thing was . . . this followed quick on the coat-tails of other Hermès finds.  Just so you know, I’ve been really good in 2014.  The only thing I’d bought all winter long was a tie for MP.  But then, spring arrived and some incredibly rare things appeared.  Barenia things.  My favorite things.

Hermès Barenia: Ebene Barenia Pictoin PM, Ebene Barenia Trim I 31cm, and Indigo Barenia Evelyne 2 PM

Hermès Barenia: Ebene Barenia Pictoin PM, Ebene Barenia Trim I 31cm, and Indigo Barenia Evelyne 2 PM

Ever since the arrival of the Porc Sellier Kelly 32cm, I have been rather content with my collection.  And that increased as spring drew close and I realized I could finally try to use the Barenia Picotin PM in my possession.  I’ve been terrified to use it in NYC since its so open, but after all these months, I’ve grown more comfortable—So it’s time to try.  And it was with this in the background that I suddenly found myself staring at two other Barenia bags . . .

I’ve had Barenia bags before.  Both were natural Barenia (golden), but something wasn’t fitting as my collection grew, so they found homes with other women (one a collector herself).  Moving to New York pushed something to the fore: What I wanted was dark Barenia.  Indigo Barenia, however, is so difficult to find it might be a unicorn, and rarely do nice examples of Ebene Barenia come up.  So imagine my surprise when I found both within a couple days of each other.  A well-used, yet so beautiful (and smelling fabulously of the tanning process) Indigo Evelyne PM, then a mint-condition Ebene Trim I.

These acquisitions . . . what can I say?  I love H.  But other things also contributed to my decisions.  First, I knew the next bag would be blue, preferably navy/indigo, and could be used more casually (the Indigo Drag being a professional briefcase).  Second, I wanted a shoulder bag, or more than one.  Living in a place as big and complex as NYC without a car (I don’t like cars, by the way, so I never take cabs either) has underscored the value of a the perfectly sized and weighted shoulder bag.  These pieces seems to offer that for me, though only time will tell.

Ever since all these things have come into the wardrobe, I’ve been wearing the pareo shawl nonstop (it really does go with basically everything I have), and the Indigo Evelyne doesn’t leave my side.  I really need to carve out some time for the beautiful Trim, so my aim is this weekend; it’s maybe the most interesting bag in my collection regarding the feel of the leather . . . unused Barenia is its own level of suppleness.

MP pareo and Indigo Barenia Evelyne with an everyday ensemble as I go out to have cake (the Neue Galerie again!)

MP pareo and Indigo Barenia Evelyne with an everyday ensemble as I go out to have cake (the Neue Galerie again!)

For the past years, the most used scarf in my collection has been the rouge vif Carré Kantha.  It goes with almost everything and it always makes me happy.  While I wear other scarves a lot, I’ve always known that the red Carré Kantha was my real perfect scarf.  It just works.  But now, years after that purchase, I’ve found a second scarf that I believe is exactly the same level of perfect.  This makes me very happy.  I’ve been searching actively for my neutral large scarf for over a year.  Now—just expect to see it in every photo for the next few months.  :)

Any recent treasures for you?

Posted in Hermès, Scarves

Essentials: Santa Maria Novella Terracotta Pomegranate

The renowned pomegranate of SMN

The renowned pomegranate of SMN

I am a devotee of Santa Maria Novella.  Its hand and cuticle creams have been my saviors for a long, long time, and its cuticle cream actually makes the best non-prescription eczema cream I can recommend.  Since coming to New York City, I’ve ventured often into its Manhattan boutique—the independent Lafco down in SOHO on Lafayette—purchasing gifts for the writers and clients I visit.  As the winter ended and spring arrived, I was ready for a refresh across the board—from home scent to la toilette—and Santa Maria Novella was my first stop.

So far, I’ve only experienced the famed pomegranate when gifting to others.  I don’t know how much they were beloved by the recipient, but as you might imagine, I choose gifts like these based on what I most desire myself—and the days spent with the pomegranate’s scent radiating out into the rooms convinced me of its supremacy in the home fragrance department.  If you don’t know Santa Maria Novella, it’s a centuries-old apothecary located in the heart of Florence, and its products are crafted with the most beautiful ingredients.  The pomegranate terra-cotta is produced by submersing the ceramic piece in vats of oils for months, impregnating it with scent.  When taken out of its packaging, it fills the room with what I’d describe as a lush, old-school “powder” scent.  It is old-school, clean, and always, always fresh.  I’ve walked into our apartment every day for the past few weeks and been joyfully met with that fragrance.  Its beauty never diminishes, and yet it doesn’t impede on other scents of candles, perfumes, and other fragrant elements like fresh lavender.

The pomegranate is an indulgence.  It’s $69—not for the faint of heart.  And yet, after spending handsome sums on candles since coming to New York City, I thought it even a wise choice.  This “wafts” continuously for 9–12 months, making it pennies per day (if only the Frederic Malle Tubereuse candle had been so kind on the daily pennies!).  It is highly recommended by Aesthetic Alterations, both for personal and gift usage.  And Lafco creates a lovely gift package should you really be giving this treasure away . . . in case you could ever part with its perfection.

Posted in Essentials, La Toilette