Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wardrobe Review :: The Rules

Welcome to my closet. These 13 items of clothing* are the pieces that I find myself reaching for time and time again and always know I will feel fabulous in. They are as follows:

1. Nanette Lepore 'Jungle Cheetah Print' dress 2. Lida Baday tafetta skirt & Gap cardigan 3. Old Navy dress 4. Byron Lars Beauty Mark dress 5. Paul & Joe 'Despira' coat 6. Gap Trouser jean 7. Kate Spade 'Coralee' wedge 8. JCrew / Joe Fresh cardigan 9. Moth/Anthropologie 'Wisteria' cardigan 10. Burberry 'Crinkled Tafetta Dress' 11. Lida Baday 'Tartan Flare-back' dress 12. Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Wonderland Blocks' top 13. Teenflo 'Kennedy' dress.

I routinely pair my favorite pieces with jackets, skirts, blouses, vests, trousers and cardigans that I have bought over time. These pieces are not shown above because they make up a standard capsule wardrobe {the less exciting but essential pieces we all need to own}. Add in my collection of vintage accessories and outerwear and I’m ready to go!

It is a rule in our house that we only buy what we truly love. While this means I’ve had to give up my trendy H&M skirt obsession, I now have a wardrobe that I continually reach for and always feel like a million dollars in. How do I determine what I love v. what I like? No matter the price of the item, I always think before I buy {it helps if you e-browse before you step into a shop.} If I am smitten with something, I will make a mental note of it and wait. If I am still thinking about it a week or two later, I will go back and try it on. If it is still in stock in my size and as good as I remember, I buy. The final test is whether or not I wear it within a couple days of bringing it home. If I haven’t worn it within a week of purchase I re-evaluate and will return the item if necessary.

I’ll discuss accessorizing in my next wardrobe review. In the mean time, I’d love to hear about the rules you follow when stocking your own closet and how you make clothing work for you on a daily basis.

*It was a list of 12 items but then I bought the Burberry dress. I just know based on the shape, the cut, and how I feel when I wear it that it's going to be a piece that fits on this list.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I do :: SATC style

Avid SATC fans will instantly recognize this dress as the gown that Carrie wore in the movie {first in the Vogue spread and then to the wedding that didn’t happen}. It seems only fitting that with the second movie in the works that Vivienne Westwood release the “Lilly wedding gown” so everyone can embrace their inner SJP.

Maybe it’s just me but for 10,000$ I’d expect to get a little more dress (this baby is tea-length) and a little less sag in the chest. Just saying.
via: Net-A-Porter

Goodbye Back-Comb :: Hello Body Booster

I refuse to buy expensive shampoos and conditioners when let’s face it, a clarifier is a clarifier. Where I will happily fork out is on my styling products. Doing your hair is like cooking a gourmet meal – the right tools make all the difference in the world!

I’ve wanted to rave about the TIGI S FACTOR Body Booster Pumping Spray since I first tried it at the salon, but I decided to wait 3 weeks so I could give it an honest appraisal. Well, time’s up and I can honestly report that Body Booster is the cats-meow of volumizers, and it’s versatile! It can be used on wet or dry hair, immediately after showering, or for a second day restyle. It adds huge volume to straight OR curly hair without adding weight, and it doesn’t leave a residue.

Love BIG hair but don’t have time to backcomb? Just spray Body Booster at the roots, and dry your hair in an upwards motion with a large barrel brush. You’ll have lasting volume from morning to night and with a quick spritz on day 2, you’re good to go! It’s a bit pricey {25$ - 33$} but it is by far, THE BEST volumizer I’ve ever tried {and it smells delicious too!}

Friday, March 27, 2009

CNN Revealed: Carine Roitfeld

Last night I watched the three part CNN Revealed documentary on Carine Roitfeld, Editor-in-Chief of Paris Vogue. The documentary follows Roitfeld through a typical day at Paris Vogue during Fashion Week.

I think we can all agree that American Vogue has lost its appeal over the past couple years. The spreads have become repetitive, the magazine lacks vision and if I may say, the covers are absolute crap. It has long been speculated that Roitfeld is poised to replace Anna Wintour as Editor-In-Chief of American Vogue, but would she fit the part? Roitfeld admits in the documentary that she is more than happy at Paris Vogue, but is it just me or does it not seem that CNN is using this documentary to gently introduce her to mainstream America? My smutty sense is tingling...

Watch the series at CNN and Youtube

Fashion Friday

I love the new series Lindsey has introduced on her blog. The basic idea is that each Friday you pick something you would splurge on if you could, post pictures, and explain why.

My first splurge is on this gorgeous crinkled taffeta dress by Burberry. For the record, these pictures do NOT do this dress justice. In real life the magenta is much richer looking and makes this dress appropriate for Fall/Winter, while the heather grey/silver and pink makes this dress work equally as well for Spring/Summer.

If I owned this dress, this is how I would pair it and accessorize it for each season -
  • Spring - Dress + cute flats + jean jacket + alice bow band
  • Summer - Dress + sandals + big sunnies + gold initial necklace / posie ring
  • Fall - Dress + black tights + black long sleeve tee
  • Winter - Dress + grey or black cardigan + black tights + tall boots
  • Holidays - Dress + strappy shoes + jewelled belt + chunky necklace + big gold earrings

{Monday, March 30th - So much for blog but don't spend rule. I bought the dress. I spent the better part of two weeks dreaming about this dress and I tried it on three different times. It went on sale this week and I decided with as many wardrobe options as I could come up with for this dress, it truly is the girls best friend. I couldn't wait to put it on after work and I can't seem to take it off ( I even skipped the gym just to play in my closet) - a true sign that this is a dress that I'll reach for time and time again. I'll try harder to blog splurge without spending next Friday!}

photos via Saks

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

500 Days of Summer

I just watched the sneak peak for 500 days of Summer staring Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and it looks fantastic! It's being called an "anti-love story" with a tagline that reads "Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Girl doesn't." The film received rave reviews at Sundance and it's set to debute at your local theatre on either July 17th or July 24. You can bet that yours truly will be standing in line with her box of kleenex and a pocket full of penny candy.

Just look at how cute these two look together...

On the 'exciting personal news' front, Dr and I went for a drive after work in two very different neighbourhoods {one features a cupcake shop, the other boasts to die for Italian sandwiches and pubs} and saw two great houses. If everything goes as expected, we're looking to purchase our first home together sometime in the next year and we are over the moon excited. We are renting a great place now, but the idea of real permanency has me long-term dreaming...

Design Classics vs. Design Trends

After posting about new design classics, I got to thinking about what I consider to be a design classic vs. a design trend. My first feature in this category starts in the bedroom with the bed frame.

Since spotting Betty's upholstered headboard on Mad Men, upholstered headboards have popped up everywhere from Pottery Barn to Urban Outfitters, and at every price point in between. While undeniably glamourous, the upholstered headboard {as currently marketed} is, in my opinion, a design trend based on the very classic design of the French Provincial & Renaissance style bed frame.

Bed frames such as those pictured are reproduced today by high-end retailers however many originals can still be found in opulent homes and hotels around the world. Paired with neutral linens or fun florals, this is a design classic that works as well in a modern home as it does in a traditional Chateau.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Design Envy

A little more than a year ago I moved into my first real apartment. It was the first place that I lived in and decorated on my own. The first piece of furniture I bought was an absolutely gorgeous {old!} mint green french provincial sofa with a tufted back, dark wood legs and frame.

After bringing the couch home I debated for weeks whether or not to paint the wood. First I wanted to go white, for a bit of an updated country feel. Quickly after I changed my mind and decided it should be painted glossy mint green to match the velvet. Weeks turned into months and in the end indecision got the best of me and couldn't do it.

Recently the Dr and I moved to a fantastic new home where we have incorporated both of our eclectic styles {his: 1960's & wood | mine: country & mid-century modern} into one vision and I couldn't be more glad that I did not paint the couch. That said, whenever I come across a painted sofa like this one, I am a bit envious that someone had the guts to see the project through to completion. Apartment Therapy recently called this update a "new classic." What do you think, should we leave these design classics as is, or update them with paint?

photo source: Apartment Therapy

Get Growing!

We had fantastic weather last weekend and the Dr was able to design and build two 6 ft. benches for the backyard patio set. They are absolutely perfect and I am so proud of him {it was his first attempt at planning and building his own product}. To further coax the Spring fairy, we planted seeds for a small kitchen herb garden. The seeds are currently germinating on top of our refrigerator in a makeshift greenhouse but soon enough, after the last frost of the season, we’ll have an outdoor herb-erie. This is our first attempt at growing a kitchen garden and if all goes well, I’d also like to try growing lettuce, carrots, onions, tomatoes and peppers… Oh my.

There is only one thing holding us back…. It is currently -12° Celsius.

{ current blog crush: The City Sage }

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Friday!

{{I've lost the source of this picture}}
{{If I am a regular at your blog and you posted this picture}}
{{please email me so I can give proper credit}}

It's the first weekend of Spring and we are planning to spend our time in our tiny backyard, building benches and BBQing. I hope that where ever you are this weekend, you take a moment to stop and enjoy the fresh air, the birds in the trees and the warm sun on your face.

{Currently loving Pacing the Panic Room & porch-light pictures}

Travel Bug - Paris Edition

A word of warning - Anyone with even the slightest case of the travel bug should not read Little Brown Pen. Last night I curled up in bed and oOo'd over Nichole's photos of the time she spent in Paris. I was lucky enough to visit two years ago and the city of Paris { the most magical place on earth } stole my ♥. I can't wait for the day when the Dr and I are together, eating breakfast at the Tuileries Garden, walking along the Seine, riding the Carousel at Sacré Couer, and just taking time to stop and smell the roses.

I've got the sightseeing aspect covered from my last trip but for future reference I printed off the Lucky Magazine Paris City Guide. I've read Lucky in the past but the City Guides are brand new to me. The magazine has a guide for every major city or place and I will definitely be using these as a reference next time we are planning a trip to DetroitSan Francisco… or even Paris!

photo credit: gonomad

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Decor-Great :: Outdoor Edition

With spring-like temperatures upon us I've been doing a lot of thinking about outdoor entertaining. Nothing says summer like a backyard full of pretty plants, patio chairs occupied by good friends, a pitcher of sangria, and delicious meat grilling on the bbq. We've got the bbq portion of the equation covered, but we're lacking in furniture and style {currently our backyard is a 10 x 10 square of interlocking stones, a small flower garden, and is bordered on three sides by a wooden fence.}

After several trips to our local box stores we've decided against a large and lifeless patio set. Instead I'm imagining an eclectic mix; a long rectangular table covered in a fantastic 50's style seafoam green wipe-clean cloth, glossy red wood benches {constructed lovingly by the Dr. himself}, fiberglass Eames chairs, lush green plants and a delicious herb garden.

I'd like to create a space for eating, and a small space for sitting. I love the relaxed atmosphere of eating together on benches instead of oversize patio chairs. For times when extra seating is required, we've decided to incorporate two vintage Eames fiberglass chairs from inside. In the sitting area, I'd like to use two patio chairs leftover from a previous patio set and a colourful garden stool such as the yellow lucky coin version {shown above} as a table. Galvanized tubs are perfect for raised herb gardens and will lend an industrial edge to the backyard, as well as complement the steel of the Weber grill. In the garden and in our metal urns I am picturing hostas, irises, sedum for texture and annuals {pansies, marigolds, and impatients} for colour.

As a finishing touch I'd like to hang solar lights and group a collection of brightly painted vintage frames on the fence to add that extra finishing touch.

{photos via: Lowes / ApartmentTherapy / DWR / Garden Life / Home Depot }

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Long-ish Weekend!

Over here at chez kitty we're taking a long-ish and looking forward to some fun & sun, and perhaps the a little antiquing as well. Here's hoping Mother Nature got my request...

photo via: pigeon-toed

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring Inspiration - Tory Burch

Do you believe in signs? Earlier this month I went through quite an ordeal trying to order this yellow dress from Anthropologie. First the website said the dress was unavailable. When the dress became available for the second time, it could not be shipped to Canada, then they wouldn’t take my international order over the phone and finally, the dress was delayed at customs. All signs pointed to the fact that this dress wasn’t for me, yet I persevered. It finally arrived and I’m completely disappointed. The swiss-dot is sheer, the dress has pockets in very strange places, and I am disappointed with the fit in general. So back to Anthropologie it goes.

On the other hand, this dress is perfect. It has the perfect blend between 50's style and modern office wearability, the perfect sizing with no tailoring required, at the exact same price as the Anthro dress after taxes/shipping/exchange AND it was put aside just waiting for me to come and claim it as my own.

Also, one of my favorite names is Amelia.
Can it get any more perfect than that?

Amalia Dress in linen

Psychic Psalad - The art of the Jello Mould

As Easter quickly approaches I remember the turkey dinners we used to have with my grandparents. My grandmother made the most delicious green Jello mould; if memory serves me correctly, the main ingredients were Jello pistachio pudding, cool whip, nuts, marshmallows, and pineapple. After she passed away her recipes were scattered amongst my family. I have since inherited the Tupperware mould, but nobody seems to remember what happened to the recipe that went with it. Since I’m cooking the bird this Easter, I just might surprise everyone with this recipe from Housewives Tarot. It’s not grandma’s, but it’s worth a shot. Does anyone have a family Jello mould recipe they wouldn’t mind sharing?

Recipe via: Housewives Tarot

Domestic Divination

“Is there a more efficient way to keep the house smelling lemon fresh? Will your husband get that “big promotion” at the office? Should you bring potato salad or deviled ham surprise to the potluck supper? Wouldn’t it be great to have a source to consult for help with the troubling issues on all of our minds these days?"

My cards told me I should be happy to have quit while I was ahead, relationships are taking a toll right now / running their course and finally, that soon I'll discover the oOoey goOey goodness out of life... Or I will consume an entire vat of maple syrup. Either is fine with me!

via: Whorange

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dear Easter Bunny

If you happen to be hopping past my house this year, I am hoping you'll have this in your pouch for me.

Keepsake Necklace - GemsByEm

love Kitty xo

Spring Inspiration - Paul & Joe

Two years ago I had the opportunity to jet off to Paris. It was there I had my first experience with Paul & Joe. Specifically, the most beautiful blush pink coloured Paul & Joe swing coat with mod 60's round pockets and gold buttons. It was love at first sight. I bought it. I've never regretted the price, or having to shlep it home on a crowded airplane from halfway across the world. It still remains the item of clothing that I reach for whenever I have a special occasion and I want to feel special.

Now that I'm back in Canada, I have to settle for drooling over beautiful Paul & Joe collections via the internet. This dress is from the Paul & Joe Spring 09 collection and it's fantastic. The colour is retro and reminds me of the 50’s Sunbeam kitchen collection. The cut is
modern and a wearable take on the famous wiggle dress. The sleeves are without a doubt the icing on this seafoam green cupcake. I do believe that this is the equivalent to my blush pink coat, only in the form of a dress. When I showed this picture to the Dr, he said, “Its old school awesome, just like you!” Does it get any better than that?

Can we please go back to Paris?
via: Net-A-Porter

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Elle Moss - Vintage Inspired Photography

Elle Moss is one of my new favourite photographers. My first experience with Elle’s photos happened via flikr when I ran across “Magnify”; Elle’s playful self portrait inspired by one of my all time favourite movies, Amelie. I’d love to say that I have a favourite, but each photo evokes so many different emotions that I could never rest at just having one. If you click one link today, make it this one and check out all Elle’s images here: ellemoss.etsy.com

via Elle Moss: ellemoss.etsy.com Ÿellemoss.blogspot.com Ÿflickr.com/photos/torchlightlms

Monday, March 9, 2009

5 minutes to look your best

Spring is coming and with the change of seasons comes time to replace your makeup. I’ve tried many products at different price points but these five products, while a touch pricey, are my tried and true favorites. For the perfect 5 minute face I start with YSL Top Secrets Flash Radiance which evens out my skin tone and a few swipes of Bobbi Brown bronzer* across my cheeks and forehead. The great thing about Bobbi Brown bronzer in particular is the perfect “sun kissed” look it gives without the addition of sparkle. My eyes are one of my best features and to emphasize them I use Bobbi Brown Longwear gel eyeliner in a mauve-black and YSL #5 Faux Cils for big and bold eyelashes. I finish up with a quick swipe of #5 YSL Touche Brilliance lipgloss in a soft sparkly pink and out the door I go!

*Depending on the day, I may substitute bronzer for Nars “O” blush which gives the perfect rosy glow to tired skin.

The perfect 5 minute face to help to you brave the world looking your best. What do you use to look your best in just 5 minutes?

photos via: Sephora & Bobbi Brown

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy Friday!

Is it just me or did this week just fly by?! Lucky for me, we have no plans and I love not having things to do or places to be. We are bound only by our imagination for the next two days and anything can be an adventure.

The sky is the limit!

via: Banksy

Spring Inspiration - Kate Spade

I am craving this dress from Kate Spade for Spring. It has a certain vintage quality, and the waist detailing makes wearing stripes do-able. The bateau neckline and float-away skirt make this dress professional enough for the office, but the fabric and colour makes it just as easy to wear on a week-end outing to the flower market. I am envisioning this paired with an oversize gold necklace, a fabulous pair of colourful wedges, and a cardigan thrown across the shoulders for those breezy days when you need a little extra something. Voila, picture perfect for Spring!

Kate Spade – you do it to me every time!
Easton Stripe Jillian Dress (345$)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

In Wonderland - Shelby Nycole

There is something so simple and endearing to me about taking pictures of feet; afterall, it's your feet that keep you grounded and ultimately lead you to where you you belong. I try to take pictures looking down every chance I get.

Check out this fantastic photo by Shelby Nycole -

Those shoes are fantastic! There is nothing quite like a D'Orsay pump to bring an outfit to life.

via:Shelby Nycole

Spring Inspiration - Myth & Ritual

Myth & Ritual has one of the best collections of pretty things for Spring. I love the incorporation of chiffon and colourful satins into everyday dresses, as well as the accessories (I need to make a fantastic alice bow band for Spring!) and the use of Polaroids.

Seriously, I'll take one of each please!

Check out the Myth & Ritual website for more inspiration and past collections. This is one company I will definitely be keeping my eye on.

via: Myth & Ritual
posted at: ill seen ill said: Darling Dexter

Photo Inspiration - Steven Klein

Yesterday, while posting about my inner 5o's housewife, I was reminded of my absolute favorite photo spread from W Magazine (July 2005) back called Domestic Bliss. At the time I ripped these pictures of out the actual magazine and I've regretted it ever since.

The following photos were taken from the W Classics Archive

On more than one occasion I've taken these photos to my hair stylist and asked to be made to look just like Angelina - I've learned to backcomb for volume but sadly, I just can't seem recreate that famous pout.

via:W Magazine

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What would you try if you weren't afraid of failing?

Make sure you take a wander over to Blah,Blah,Blahg to check out the fabulous Bright Side Project.
via: Blah,Blah,Blahg: The Bright Side Project

Affirmation - Affirmative

Amen to that!

via: bjornstar

Mid-Century Royal Treatment

Kudos to Peter Shire for having a great imagination.  Although whimsical, I won’t be jumping on this wagon.  I like my Eames shell chairs as is.  What do you think? 

via: Apartment Therapy


Inner 50's Housewife Seeks Inspiration

I’m 95% sure I was born in the wrong era. Hiding inside my average Gen-Y body is a 50’s housewife and she’s just dying to get out. This top is the perfect transitional piece – modern enough for the daily grind yet vintage enough to help calm my inner-beast. I have a few meters of 50’s barkcloth at home in a very similar print (substitute green and turquoise for brown and orange). This top has given me the inspiration to put my sewing skills and my tiny Janome to the test and try to recreate this piece… Updates to follow.

See By Chloe - Roses Top (295$)

Via: Neiman Marcus

Yabba-Dabba Do - Christopher Kane

Christopher Kane describes his Spring 2009 collection as, "a prehistoric concoction of tunics, dresses and killer heels inspired by everything from the Flintstones to busty cave-girl-on-the-run, Raquel Welch,"

Spring 2009 is all about the florals & corals, Kane has hit it right on the mark! There is something so ethereal about the silk scallops and the way these dresses move. They are young and fun while maintaining a sophisticated and timeless appeal. It’s clear why Kane was named Young Designer of the Year at the 2006 Scottish Fashion Awards.

Via: Net-A-Porter

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Instant Classic - Sartorialiste of the year, 2007

Year after year, this photo by the ever famous Sartorialist remains my favorite example of true & effortless style.

When I look at this picture I try to imagine the type of clothing this woman owns, and what her overall wardrobe looks like. Is it a manageable capsule type? Is it vast and catalogued? Or does it look like mine - a collection of many fabulous pieces, but lacking in cohesiveness and clarity?

I think it might be time to do an honest appraisal of my wardrobe.
Stay tuned...

Maxim - Purveyor of Bacon Porn

Knowing how much I love bacon, the Dr just presented me with this page, carefully removed from his December 2008 edition of Maxim Magazine. Have I mentioned how much I love this man?!

I absolutely, without a doubt, must immediately consume the January, June, July, August, October and November Bacon Porn offerings. As soon as Mother Nature grants my wish for warmth and sunlight, we will be gathering our friends around a table and christening our brand new BBQ with bacon-wrapped weiners and homemade mac & cheese.

Oh heavens, I ♥ bacon
Photo source: Maxim

Mellow Yellow - Inspiration on a sad day

Growing up my father used to sing me this song when I was sad.

I’m hoping that life will look a little brighter tomorrow.


via: The Scoop: Nella Designs @ Etsy

Spring Inspiration from Mui Mui

It's official - I am completely obsessed with the wedge heel for Spring 09. Imagine how brilliant these would look when paired with a full skirt for day and a short cuffed short or sleek denim skirt for the weekend.

Mui Mui - Patent Leather Wedges (570$)
Photo Source - Net-A-Porter