Saturday, March 28, 2009

Feeling Crushed


Lily's Smile via Flickr by Laurent Orseau

In this day and age relationships can be tricky, especially when we are talking about work-related relationships. Sexual harassment and hostile work environments are beyond bad. It's my hope that no one has to go through that, no matter their age, gender, race, religion or orientation.

But I also think some harmless mutually accepted flirting can be fun... and good for your work life.

Think about it. You spend a whole lot of time at work, hopefully with people you like and respect. You've got men and women, stress and silliness. People who have common interests and common stories. You are bound to develop a crush.

I fully admit that I fall into crushes all the time. In fact, I can't think of a job or a time that I've been at that I haven't had a crush... or two. I'm not talking desperate silent crushes. I get crushes on people that I think are cute, smart, witty, nerdy, cocky, obnoxious, you name it. And I'm not great about keeping it secret either.

I openly admire them. I make oblique flirty comments. I bat my eyes and am very happy to see them. In fact, if I work with you, I may have a crush on you RIGHT NOW!

So why is this good for work?

Well, it makes it a whole lot easier to go to the office. I look forward to spending time with these people. And I work in a pretty high stress field with lots of deadlines. A bit of flirty fun makes getting through crap much more bearable.


Crushes get you happy. There's a bounce in your step. You want to look your best and your brightest. You shimmer and shine. You feel great and you make the other person feel great too.

I fully endorse crushing.

Get on it!


This message brought to you via the fact that I got to spend lots o'time with one my my major crushes last week. Le sigh!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ensemble du Jour

This Spring weather has me crazy. On Tuesday it was gorgeous and a wore a girlie skirt and these peachy suede Guiseppe Zanotti heels.



Then yesterday (and today and into the weekend) it's crummy and rainy and cold. I wore black and grey and I'm wearing black and grey again today!

Yesterday I wore my new Wet Seal strappy booties in black. I'll have to wear the white ones soon because I luv them. So cool. I wore them with latex-y leggings from Twelve by Twelve, a black mini-skirt, cami and my delia's rugby stripe boyfriend cardigan.

3-25-09
3-25-09 - by Princess Poochie on Polyvore.com

I think this was a bit out there for the work folks but don't know why? I was all covered up... it was just the materials that "surprise" them I think.

Shiny!
















Today is much less interesting. It's rainy and my feet are cold so I'm wearing my snuggly wellies. but I do have on cute Hansel from Basel knee-patch thigh-highs!


3-26-09
3-26-09 - by Princess Poochie on Polyvore.com

Maybe the sun will come out so I can wear some darn color!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I am Grasshopper

I've had this post planned for a long long time. At least 6 months. And in that time the contents of what I was going to write about has changed at least three times. I'm not sure what has taken me so long to get around to it. Maybe part of it is embarrassment. The other part of it is possibly fear or reticence. I hope it is obvious to what I am referring to when I say I am a grasshopper as to why.

I'm referencing, of course, the grasshopper in the Aesop fable The Ant and the Grasshopper in which the wise ant toils and saves for lean times while the grasshopper sings its Summer away.

Yes, that is me.

I am admittedly a horrible horrible saver. Let's suffice it to say that -


When I was first going to write this post, I was thinking about the things that I spend my money on. I don't tend to judge people on what they buy (or what they don't buy, either). Because everyone spends their money on some indulgence. Some people spend it on cars or travel or concerts or comic books. Around here much of the money gets spent on the pets and on food. The pets actually get the highest priority to me. The house also received some good touches too.

And for me personally, it's obviously shoes. I like clothes okay, but get bored with them so I don't spend a lot and tend to stick to basics. I like jewelry but don't have a lot of it, not even as gifts. I'm not a purse person either. Frankly, I'm too lazy to rotate them all the time, have no where to store them and am actually more seduced by luggage than a "must have" bag. I have a few small clutches, a few decent ones and a few vintage ones. They take up a single shelf in my armoir.

But with the economy the way that it is and the nature of the advertising industry in which I work, I've been trying to cut back on my impulse buying. I've been a total recreational shopper. I would go to Target or look online or in catalogs and see things that I just had to have. I also have a nasty habit of being disgustingly acquisitive. This is not a good combination.

So I've tried to stop tempting myself. But given what I write about a lot here and what I read online and off, it's kind of hard to turn it totally off. I have just had to resort to averting my eyes. I don't go into Target. I am cancelling and not opening the catalogs. I'm deleting the "Sale!" emails unopened. Is it working? A bit but still....

The good thing is that I haven't seen a whole lot to be inspired about. I'm just feeling kind of blah about what's out there right now. And I'm finding a bit of will power to resist the things that may speak to me but that aren't perfect for me. I admit this is no easy task. I've also tried to impose a limit on myself to only shop/buy something I "need" which has helped with the impulse aspect.

The hard thing is that I used to say that I feel like the Medici - an appreciator and a sponsor. My "funding" helps the artists that I buy from to continue to be able to create their wonderful items. On some level I admit to being touch envious of that creativity and therefore covet it. But what is my identity outside of this spending?


I don't consider myself a creator, so if I stop buying what is my creative outlet here? I'm not saying I'm without skills or talents. I'm a great baker, pretty good at photography, I can put together a great color scheme and table design, I can organize a heck of a closet and I have a clear vision of how to design a room. But how often do you get to do those things? Most of my other pleasures are internal and quiet. By finding, selecting and incorporating things like amazing unique accessories I feel I am interpreting the art, making it known to the world. Like an archaeologist makes and interprets a discovery.

But now that all seems kind of silly... and risky... and a bit pompous. And it also no longer rings true with me. I'm becoming even picker. Almost frugal. Okay, maybe not totally frugal in my heart but somewhat frugal in my actions. I'm still getting some thing but then they come home, I stare at them for a few days and am deciding to take them back. I don't know if it's boredom or fear or what.

Part of it also is stemming from the aftermath of when Napoleon was killed. A lot of things that interested me before that suddenly didn't really matter that much to me at all. Life does continue but it left me a bit apathetic about what I was doing. I also ended up wanting to just spend more time at home than out running round to stores just to have something to do.

As I said, the premise of this post changed a few times so it's probably pretty rambling and yawn-inducing. Mainly it's about getting some of my thoughts down about where I am at right now with money and spending and even a bit of the malaise I've been feeling. I feel that this has come through online here too.

Part of me is also trying to find my key differentiator. More marketing talk, I know. What that is all about is what is the main thing that makes me different and unique, especially online here. I don't get specific or focus on my work too much because I like to keep that separate and on the day to day level it's kind of neutral. I don't travel all over and, while I love where I live right now, it's not a "hot spot" by any stretch. So my social life isn't crazy. I'm not saying that the things I bought (or wished to buy) defined me but they were much of what I talked about here. I have my passions but I've felt they were too specific to be interesting.

I think I need to use the time leading up to my NYC trip and during it to think more about my goals and strategies. I'd love to get any thoughts, feedback, ideas or suggestions for what you've liked or even hated.

Can You Keep A Secret?


I'm sorry I've been almost non-existent this past week. For my job and client it is pretty much the busiest time of the year. My main client is a furniture company and we've been getting ready for Furniture Market which happens twice a year here. This is when dealers and retailers come from all over the world to see the new designs created by manufacturers and decide what they are going to carry in their stores for you to buy.

I've spent the last week (including until 10 last night) at the showroom getting the rooms for a new brand ready. Basically getting rooms constructed, huge graphics up, pictures and shelves hung, etc.

Exhausting.

The new brand I'm working on is a celebrity line (hmm... who is a celebrity that does a lot of home related things and has a great love of the above pictured ingredient?) and it's a lot to get ready for. So, that's what's been keeping me away!

By the way, this new line looks gorgeous. I can't wait to share it with you. Soon!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

How to be a good Host

I was reading Gala Darling's great post on how to the best houseguest and it got me to thinking about how to be a great host.

image from qoqillie via Flickr

This is actually something I think about a lot. Both sides of the equation actually, but I put more focus on the hosting aspect. My family has been involved in the high-end hospitality industry for my entire life including cruise lines, hotels, travel destinations, so I've traveled a fair amount. I've stayed in everything from 5 diamond hotels to cute bed & breakfasts and have seen great service and horrible horrible places. There are many places that stand out as perfect stays.

And they all had one thing in common... thoughtfulness.

I'm not talking about being waited on hand and foot, rather considerate touches throughout that made it clear that the person or company acting as the host had thought about my needs and how I would be living in the space while I was there.

These are the things I look for when I'm traveling and the things I try to provide for my guests:

1. Empty closet and drawer space

Hey, I know we all have a lot of stuff. Frankly, I think we have too much stuff. (Seriously, if you need a POD or a storage unit and you aren't in some kind a transition, you have too much crap... get rid of it.) At the very least you should be able to carve out a half a closet worth of space and a drawer so that when someone comes to stay they can at least hang up some of their clothes and put a few things away. This may be hard in extreme situations like studio apartments in New York City but generally try and find a little space somewhere. Even a hook over a door or closet door would help.

The same holds true for a bit of space in the bathroom, especially if you don't have 2 bathrooms - a shelf, an area on the counter - something, anything!

2. Decent sheets and pillows

I know we don't usually buy a brand new mattress when setting up a guest room. Yeah, it's usually the hand-me-down mattress from when we upgraded for ourself. But there are a few things we can do to make it seem nicer and be more comfy and plush. Get some crisp new sheets in the best thread-count you can afford and add a "feather" bed mattress topper. I like this option because it doesn't contain down or feathers so not only is it cruelty free but also hypo-allergenic.

Then have at least 2 pillows per person. I'd go new here. No one wants to sleep on your million year old squashed flat pillow. Bonus points if you have different options so people can choose which one they use. Also, have an extra blanket out or available. Your guest could get chilly in the middle of the night and have no way of knowing where to get a blanket. The poor things will be there suffering all night long because the don't want to wake you.

Another caveat - if your guest room mattress is over 20 years, please consider getting a new one. Heck, it's better to get a decent Aerobed than keeping this torture device! Plus, um... gross!

3. For the Bath

It's always nice to have a basket of new little soaps and bath gels, a shower cap and some of those things that everyone forgets, like toothbrushes, toothpaste and maybe a sewing kit. You can buy a few extras to have on hand or pick them up and save them as you travel.

I also like to have two indulgences for guests. The first are bath sheets. No skimpy towels in our house. We want to be wrapped up and covered. The second are robes. We keep two terry robes in the guest room closet, fresh, clean and ready for guests. Personally, I'd live in my robe if I could. I like to lounge around, get ready and then get dressed in my outfit. A robe is comforting and allows your guest to feel more secure when moving around your house or apartment.

4. Suitcase holder

I keep two suitcase holders tucked away until guests come. This is as much for me as it is for them. Not only can your guests get to their luggage easier but this makes sure they don't put their case, bound to be dirty from traveling, on my sheets, furniture, etc. These are easy to find in all kinds of colors, materials and price points, and they can be tucked away easily when not in use.

5. In the Bedroom

It's not just important to have a place for your guests to sleep. It's also nice to make sure the room is comfortable too. Don't have a lot of knicknacks or breakables around. It can be nerve wracking to have furniture covered with things that as a guest you are afraid to move, knock over or break. In this case, simpler and less decorated is better.

Have a table to use as a nightstand and add a small light for reading, an alarm clock and a water carafe with a glass. I also like to add in a small flashlight, a list of the cable channels (if there is a tv in the room), a pen and an alarm clock. Not everyone will use them but it's nice to know they are there.

If you have room for small table or writing desk and a chair, I'm sure your guests would appreciate it when they are putting on make-up, getting dressed and putting on their shoes. I also like to add in a mirror, either hanging on the wall near the door or above the desk. Or you can get one of those inexpensive mirrors that go on the back of the door so people can check themselves before they leave the room.

6. Extra touches

Last but not least, go the extra mile by adding some in-room snacks just in case they are starving. People can feel bad about bugging you between meals, so adding a few savory and sweet snacks can be a quick pick me up. I also like to add a travel candle and a lighter, some magazines and books as well. I also like to give the sheets a quick spritz with lavender linen spray before my guests arrive.

If you know your guests like flowers and don't have any allergies, go for a small vase or cup in an out of the way place. They don't need to be a big deal, even a single bloom is nice.

My best advice, however is the simplest... take the time to sleep where and how your guests will. Nothing makes it more apparent what works and what doesn't when you experience it for yourself. Does the sun hit your eyes at the crack of dawn? Is there weird lump right under your back? Is the light switch 2 inches out of reach? Live it and then fix it.

You don't need to have a fancy overly decorated room or spend a lot of money to outfit it. Simple but thoughtful goes a lot farther in creating a temporary haven for the people you care enough about to welcome into your home.



Extra reading:
Domino Magazine - Guest and Host Etiquette Guide


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Just Rip My Soul Out, Why Don't You



So I got them.

I tried them on. They fit great. Love. Adoration. Etc. Etc.

Looked at them in the mirror.

Agast!

What do you mean these look best on someone a good 4 -5 inches taller than me and on me they cut me off horribly?

Sob!


P.S. I quickly returned them so I wouldn't not get more attached than I already was to them. Do I regret it already... yes.

: (

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

Picture Perfect... and Pink!

As I've done more with the sites here I've been wanting to upgrade my technology. I swear, it's not just that I like new gadgets... it's for valuable work reasons! And since I don't work on a MAC and have been wanting to do more video, I decided I needed a recorder of some kind. I've had my eye on a Flip for a while now and thought, with the upcoming trip to NYC, that now would be a good time to get it.

There are 4 levels of camera you can get but I ended up getting the Flip Mino. It has great quality, plenty of storage, and just as important... you can customize it!


Not only do they have cute colors and a huge amount of designs, a pattern generator or you can use any image and have it added to create a true one-of-a-kind look.

Guess which route I took?

First I was looking at the pink and Hello Kitty designs but then I saw you could upload a unique picture for no additional cost! I decided on adorably delicious, pink macarons for mine.



How adorable is this? Well, in person it's even more adorable because it is teeny tiny! I need to take picture of it for scale. But it's smaller than my iPhone or iPod and lighter too. Which is great because I now will be carrying around 5 or 6 different electronic devices in my bag!



It's also amazingly simple to use - just turn it on and record. Using the simple touch screen, you can zoom in and out, delete videos right on the spot. And then when you plug it into the usb, you can edit, create stills and save to YouTube, AOL, for emailing, etc.



It took less than a week to arrive and I also added on the extended warranty (since I'm going to carry this around in my purse everyday) and bought the pack of usb cables so I can have one in my cord case, one at work and one at home. If you want to get really fancy, you can get a flexible tripod or even an action mount.



So, it's simple, pretty inexpensive and adorable. But does it take good video? I say yes! I res'd this down to the emailable level and it still looks great. When you look at it at the standard level it is even better.

By the way, this is my pup and he was with me at the office together having, obviously, too much fun!



Now, I can't wait to get to NYC so I can shoot a ton more footage.

Beware!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Original Women

I know we think stuff coming down the runway is avant garde but watch this clip from 1939s The Women... Galliano, Lacroix and Margiela have nothing on these designs.

I'm particularly fond of the picnic dresses... and all the accessories! Clear acrylic hats, graphic feather hats, and the white swimming costume at 1:28! Unbelievable.

Look at the wrap at 00:58, reminds me of this Comme des Garcons shirt. Nothing's really new. I should be watching more of the past to see the future.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Making Waves

Back when Victoria's Secret used to have somewhat decent clothes and cool sexy but not totally trampy shoes, I got these Colin Stuart boots. What's funny is that I think they are totally tame just with a really interesting detail...



But back when I worked for a certain corporation that had a "Look Book" these were considered "crazy!"

Why?

Because while the front half of the boot is a simple black knee-high boot, the back half is a pale suede with criss-crossing black straps.



I think from farther away it looks like the boot is completely open in the back and that the straps might be lacing up my legs (Yes, I am totally pale enough that this could be considered a feasible scenario. And yes, I might be crazy enough to wear boots like that to work... maybe...).

Inevitably when I wear these, and they are not my "everyday" black boots, I will get a startled question about if they are tied up the back. At this certain corporation I even was asked if they followed the dress code guidelines.

They did. And I would know because I pushed those boundaries almost everyday and carried around a copy of the code about shoes. Funny aside: when I started there you HAD to wear pantyhose (and this is in FL, people!) and you couldn't wear shoes like mules or open-toe shoes, but you could wear slingbacks. Then they loosened up the restrictions a bit. You could wear mules and open toe shoes and sandals but you still had to wear hose. We're not talking cute funky tights and heels, we're talking "flesh-tone" pantyhose with sandals.

Um... ew...no.



Anyhow, these definitely make people take a second look, if only to try and figure them out. I love the color of the suede and luckily haven't marked the heels up or anything. Knock on wood.




I think I've had these about 5 or 6 years now. I <3>



Since they are a bit flashy I tend to wear simple outfits with them. We're not talking hot pants and spandex or anything. Usually a streamlined skirt and top.
Oh, the rule that I had to be sure I was complying with: the tops of your boots had to be covered by the bottom hem of your skirt. No, I'm not kidding.
I think I may have been off of that an inch or so.... ; )

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Playing at Packing

So rather than being actually productive doing work... or even catching up on my reading (or sleeping which is what I really need to do), I rather plan my outfits for my trip to New York. The fact that said trip is over 2 months away and I have no idea what I will be doing yet is neither here nor there.

When I pack I usually make a list and build outfits around it to narrow it down. Maybe I'll just start doing that through Polyvore rather than standing in front of my closets and armoire with a notepad.

Outfit 1 - Cupcake in the Park Party

NYC Outfit Option 1
NYC Outfit Option 1 - by Princess Poochie on Polyvore.com

I want to be able to walk around but be cute and colorful too. Sassy skirt with Victorian-inspired ruffles combined with Steampunky Ann D. boots and a cute Stella Neptune tee.

Outfit 2 - Trolling the Shops and Museum


NYC Outfit Option 2
NYC Outfit Option 2 - by Princess Poochie on Polyvore.com

Will mid-May be warm? I'm not sure but I want to have some thing that is at least comfortable for hitting some of the nice shops and maybe a museum. I love my denim skirt and JCrew tee with the sequin placket. I have these in like 5 colors. Yes, the boots are totally impractical... what of it?

Outfit 3 - Time for Tea

NYC Outfit Option 3
NYC Outfit Option 3 - by Princess Poochie on Polyvore.com

I've gone to an afternoon tea in almost every place I've travelled. Why haven't I had the opportunity to go in New York. I'm hoping to meet up with some of my fellow bloggers too! Anyone up for tea???

Outfit 4 - St. Germains at the Boathouse

NYC Outfit Option 4
NYC Outfit Option 4 - by Princess Poochie on Polyvore.com

You can tell I'm starting to get into trouble now... I'm obviously going to have to narrow down my accessory options before I pack! Since I've been wearing nothing but grey for days, I'm really craving color. Pink! Green! Lavender! Fresh whites with Chinese paper fans and vintage wicker basket purses. Sipping Kirs and St. Germains at the boathouse on a cool spring afternoon.

Outfit 5 - Dinner and Drinks

NYC Outfit Option 5
NYC Outfit Option 5 - by Princess Poochie on Polyvore.com

Still lingering elements of my purple craving... but with a bit of shine and silver. I don't think I'd be totally this matchy-matchy, but I'd love to bring my feather cape and wear it with the silver mini skirt and dark purple accents. Dreamy!

Outfit 6 - Brunch


NYC Outfit Option 6
NYC Outfit Option 6 - by Princess Poochie on Polyvore.com

Yes, I may be craving warm weather... a Swiss dotted dress, fantastic heels, a feathery cape and headband along with a "P" for Poochie. A monochromatic dream to wear with a backdrop of saturated colors. I promise to pick only one of these pairs of shoes to wear with it. No shoe wardrobe changes!

Outfit 7 - Take Me Dancing

NYC Outfit Option 7
NYC Outfit Option 7 - by Princess Poochie on Polyvore.com

If I get to meet up with some of my fabulous fellow bloggers, I'm going to need to get a little shiny and sparkly. Sequins or shiny leggings? Tall platform peep-toes or strappy sandals? Not sure yet but I know I want a pile of bracelets to catch the light!

Outfit 8 - All over Town

NYC Outfit Option 8
NYC Outfit Option 8 - by Princess Poochie on Polyvore.com

Okay, I guess I'm not done with grey quite yet. And really I just want it as a sort of neutral backdrop so I can wear the white and green driving gloves I got last year in New York. Something comfy and denim on the bottom, flat shoes for walking (finally something practical looking! But more likely driving mocs than the topsiders) and my grey Kapow Wow neck ruffle for a fun element.

Sadly, this is just a start. I still want to plan more, more, MORE! OMG!

I know there an element of fantasy life here. The fantasy being that I can fit anywhere near all of this into a pilot case.

Dear lord, save me from myself.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Under the Skin

I know they are not the same style (although very reminiscent, don't you think?) and the quality has to be different in person, but don't you think these two shoes look earily similar???

Gucci Lucy Platorm - at Neiman Marcus



Pat Fields Saki Pump for Payless





I think it's that they both just look too shiny. I'm not a fan in either case.