Cinderella Inspired


{Cinderella for Grown-ups by gourmetstylegirl

 I’ll be the first to admit it: Cinderella never really did it for me. Not only was she way too passive, but I never bought into the idea that one so confined and brutalized could also remain so charming and positive. On my one free night out, instead of hitting up the ball, I’d have hit up the local constabulary – dress and all! – to see just what could be done about my living situation. Down with stepmothers! Up with minimum wage and keys to my own bedroom!

Plus, as all brunette girls of the late ’90s will attest, Belle is where it’s at. The reading? The sassy attitude? The bravery? YES. Plus, Gaston. Ick. Way to be a model for not succumbing to peer pressure, B.

All that said… and I do totally mean what I said…I’m still utterly, completely swept up in the Cinderella madness that’s everywhere right now. Oh to have worked on that marketing and PR campaign! Swoon. From  Lily James’ premiere dress to the many designer interpretations of the glass slipper, I am like a small child on Christmas waiting for this film to come out. Kudos, Disney PR, because heads up: I’M 30. And I’m STILL REALLY EXCITED.

Have courage

{Cindy’s new motto – I love it!}

There are also ways to embed a little Cindy flair into your daily life, whether you’re 3 or 30 – from a floaty tulle skirt that adds whimsy, to a little sparkle on your nails, to those sunglasses that are just the right amount of retro, in a nod to the original animated feature’s 1950 release date. I’m also swooning over that ear cuff. I’d like to think this updated Cindy might just have enough sass to rock an ear cuff…and if she won’t, then we know Belle definitely would!

Are you going to see the movie?

PS – more Cinderella-inspired looks – and other fun! – on Pinterest!

Chocolate + Cheese

Bruges Cafe

Fellow travelers, foodies and culture lovers!

My lovely company is sending me to Belgium and France next month, and in a very fun turn of events, my mom will be joining me! A full week of hopping from Brussels to Bruges, then Paris to Versailles, and possibly some fun day trips in between. We can’t wait to eat cheese, drink beer, and bring loads of chocolate home.

What are your favorite places to eat, stay, shop and see in any of those cities? We’ve never been to Belgium at all, it’s been five years since I’ve visited Paris and it’s ll maman’s first trip ever! To say I’m excited to explore Paris with her is quite the understatement.

We’d love your recommendations for anything!

Collegiate Chic – Style Roundup

Collegiate Chic

September and October always make me long for college. I mean, a lot of things make me long for college – like when I have to take my stretchy pants off in the morning instead of leave them on all day, for example – but Autumn especially. Remember crunching across campus in a fetching new sweater, holding your books to your chest and glancing sidelong at boys like in 1950? Or wearing plaid because it was adorable and collegiate, and not because you were trying to look like you just got back from Coachella? OR freezing your butt off at cold football games, but not putting on a jacket because it clashed with your giant sorority bow? Guilty as charged and I loved it. You haven’t lived until the size of the bow on your head is comparable to the size of your actual head.

If you’re looking to add a little prep school pep in your step, these six pieces are a guaranteed grown-up way to go back, back, back to school again.

1. A gorgeous stadium-cloth jacket to help you stay true to your school – or at least stand out at pep rallies. ($169)

2. Sassy pencils from Wit + Delight that are both note and doodle-worthy. ($3)

3. Tod’s sophisticated new take on the old-school satchel, for those of us with dream budgets! ($1,595)

4. Who needs saddle shoes when you have Everlane’s modern loafer? ($165)

5. Skip to work or class in an adorably retro peter pan collar. ($44.50)

6. Plaid’s not just a fad my friends – and at this price, you can afford to make it a staple. ($16.99)

Pool Side!

Pool Side!

We are fortunate enough to be going on a little wine country weekend in a few days. It’s the perfect chance to swim, read by the pool, eat a gourmet dinner and have a glorious sleep in without those oh-so-special city sounds waking us up in the middle of the night.

We have a neighbor with a blender that sounds very much like Jason and his chainsaw and a trash man who relishes nothing more than waking us all up at 5 a.m. because he’s awake too. Or so I imagine. Maybe the trash man really is just enjoying the hell out of his morning and banging cans brings him great joy? We’ll never know because I will never ask him. Mostly because that conversation would go like this:

Me: grumblegrumbleGRUMBLE! 5AM! Grumblegrumble



My two most important beach bag categories are sun protection and reading material. Pale nerds, unite! As long as I have SPF 45 (aka, liquid snowsuit), lip balm with sunscreen, a hat, and about seven books loaded on my nook, I’m all good. Cute sandals, trashy magazines, and face wipes that keep me looking like a dainty lady are all bonus. Even the swimming suit is a bonus, really. I’m very content to lay about reading in whatever outfit, this is what a bad style blogger I am.

In real life, I’m going to load up my trusty monogrammed L.L. Bean bag with an assortment of things. But in blog life, I thought it would be fun to design a beautiful dream beach bag.

What do you put in your beach bag? 

Wardrobe Update + The Lean Closet Movement

Classic fashion, Jackie style{Jackie Kennedy, the ultimate curator’s inspiration! From oxfords to cigarette pants to classic dresses. Cat not included?}

One of my biggest New Year’s resolutions this year was around shopping. My goal was to curate instead of collect, something we discussed here. I also vowed to floss more, but nobody needs that update, I’m sure.

Despite the lack of outfit posts and personal photos on my blog, I love to shop. The problem is that my love of shopping directly counteracts my love of saving money. Yep, you read that correctly: saving money. My spirit animal is an old Lutheran lady who’s been wearing the same lumpy cardigan since 1976. She also eats a lot of donuts and occasionally bites.

It often feels like bloggers – and random ladies on the streets of San Francisco – LOVE spending money and shop constantly. I mean, I love the rush of it, the thrill of the chase, the conquest when you find that elusive item. I loooovve that feeling. It’s like modern day lady hunting and no cheetahs are harmed in the process, which is awesome. But then I get home, cram that all-hallowed thing into my already full city closet, make apologetic eyes at the person who has the misfortune of sharing said tiny closet with me, then regret and buyer’s remorse set in.

Where so many of us lack the funds to be purchasing big-ticket designer items, we make up for it by spending a lot over time at lower-end chain stores. Those lower-end items end up fraying, losing their shape, breaking, or otherwise just looking bad after a wear or two, and we’re right back where we started: with a closetful of stuff and nothing to wear, then feeling like we need to rush out and buy something – anything! – to look a little better. My goal for this year was to change this mentality by saying no to this cycle.

Chanel quilted bags

I’ve been somewhat successful with these new goals. I’ve added a pair of Michael Kors cheetah flats to the repertoire, an Arcadia handbag that looks similar to this in shape, the new jeans mentioned here, and a white linen sheath dress that will be perfect for summer vacations for decades. And the biggest purchase of all – my wedding dress – was also purchased with this new ethos in mind. I can’t say anything about it yet, but the goal was to find something that looked timeless; as at home in 1960 as well as today and I feel really good about what I’ll be wearing.

As I’ve been on my mission to curate, so has Cuyana, a beautiful shop that creates quality handmade goods built to last. Their Lean Closet Movement series continues to inspire me to take a careful look at what I’ve brought home these last few months and continue on my mission to shop slow, ask the right questions, and really take care of my purchases. The idea of looking and feeling good every day is worth every penny.


More resources to help you shop quality:

Cuyana (for those in SF, the shop is in Union Square)


Sunhee Moon (for those in SF, the shop is on Fillmore)


Purchase list for the next six months or so:

A simple, beautiful tote that can withstand rigorous globe trotting

A classic trench that will last for decades and can handle San Francisco’s notoriously rainy winters

A pair of these wedges. I have them in black and they are the only shoe I can stand in for a full 12 hour day of coaching

Simple, comfortable plain leather ballet flats

A camel colored pashmina

Is this something you subscribe to? How do you shop? I’m so curious – I’d really love to know what you all do!

 PS – this is not a sponsored post! I just really like Cuyana and what they’re all about!

Stopping to smell the everything

Life lately has felt a little chaotic. Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been traveling in what feels like a nonstop fashion, and with both wedding planning and novel writing clipping right along, this week seems like a great time to keep working on cultivating zen. To eat dinner slowly, to breathe deeply, and to yoga often. To leave the phone at home. To stop and savor the little pleasures of life.

Here are some of life’s little pleasures lately. I hope you’re having a wonderful week!

photo 1

{Making a batch of pickled carrots, in anticipation of beloved weekend visitors and Bloody Mary brunches!}

photo 2

{Doing a little Roy G. Biv action on our newly DIY’ed bookcase. My devotion to Roy may or may not be in contrast with my love for Library of Congress-style organizing. We’ll see who wins…}

photo 3

{Baking strawberry muffins with my sweet little sister, the genius behind Joy Rising Bakery}

photo 4

{Remembering my favorite orchid from Singapore’s National Orchid Garden}

GSD and Finding the Balance

Quit slackin

For the classiest among us, GSD might be a delightful trigger acronym that reminds us to be productive or check things off the list.

For the less classy – and I don’t think I have to say which camp I’m in – it’s a bit more direct. G.S.D. Get. Shit. Done.

Lately, I’ve been struggling to be as productive as I need to be, in the ways that I want to be. Trying to balance my real job with my writing job (which is no less real, except that it doesn’t yet pay the bills!) and also keep our house clean, laundry done, and find time to cook and blog, thereby taking care of my creative passions and also feeding le fiancé and myself, can be a tricky balance at best. At worst I sometimes feel like a gymnast on the olympic high beam, but drunk and with an anxiety problem.

See? Bad real bad, Michael Jackson. And did I mention I’m also planning a wedding?

In an effort to be more productive, I’ve been implementing a few new tools since the start of the new year and I’m excited to say they work! Why since last week I have written five blog posts, cooked five dishes, worked out every day, made serious headway on novel planning and crossed a big work project off the list.

Below, some resources that worked well for me. If you are also looking for balance in the new year, I hope this works for you, too!

1. Get dressed or work out immediately when you get up. None of this schlumping around in pajamas until 2pm. Nobody feels empowered to start the laundry or make  business calls without a bra on. Nobody. Brush your teeth and put some damn pants on! Preferably these sexy numbers.

2. Waffle up that work. In other words, compartmentalize. If I have a chunk of writing to do and a work project to do, I now separate them into different days. And then I draw hard deadlines for myself. Yesterday was a work day, so all writing was shoved to the side. Today is a writing day, and I’m not checking that work email so help me! Thinking I had to do a bit of each every day was not only stress-inducing but impossible in the end anyway.

3. Pomodoro Technique! If I’m having trouble focusing and staying away from the Internet, I set my little kitchen timer and hard focus for 25 minutes. Then, I get to take a five minute break. The ultimate goal is to increase your hard-focus time, but I’m finding that 25 minutes quickly turns into an hour or more once you get past the first few 25-minute sets.

4. Music, maestro! And instead of relying on playlists that I know and love, I’ve been listening to instrumental, classical, film scores – anything to keep my mind engaged but not distracted. I’ve made a Spotify playlist of my favorites. If you’re interested, you can find it here, via my tumblr.

Image attributed to Keano Ross, via Pinterest.

Street Style: Singapore

I returned home from Singapore last week, and I’m still dreaming about the warmth, the amazing food, and the retro-fabulous fashion.

When I was little (and, ahem, still now to this day) I had an obsession with the 1954 romantic film Three Coins in the Fountain. I watched it constantly, noting the gorgeous fit and flare dresses, the powder blue convertibles, and the fact that Italy seemed so rustic and real. And then I went to Rome in high school and was crushed to learn that modern-day Roma didn’t look like that anymore. I said I was obsessed, not smart.

But then, I traveled to Singapore and my 1950s fashion loving heart skipped a beat, because unlike Rome, Singapore seems very much in line with midcentury fashion, and it was a kick in the pants to see.

While I didn’t get to see much during my short stay, a few steal-worthy street trends were clear to me in the first ten minutes:

The Fit and Flare Dress


The Singapore Look: Ladies in Sing are all about skirts and dresses (you would be too – it’s freaking hot there!) and the 1950s silhouette with full pleated circle skirts and a boatneck top are all the rage. I saw most paired with wedge or three inch heels, belted, with cardigans. For modesty, not for warmth. Because again, JUNGLE HEAT. The fit was straight out of Populaire but the modern fabrics kept things looking fresh and not fussy. Modcloth has fabulous fit and flare dresses that would be perfect for summer bridal showers and teas.

Steal it Stateside: if a big flouncy dress isn’t quite your thing – or the thing to wear at your place of employ – you can certainly make it office appropriate by choosing a less boisterous amount of pleats and adding a blazer instead of a cardi, and leather or suede wedges and tights.

Architectural Handbags

Structured bag

The Singapore Look: It may be inspired by Singapore’s incredible architecture, but it may also be part of the whole retro aesthetic. Either way, handbags were streamlined, on the smallish side, and worn daintily over the crook of the arm. No slouchy hobo bags here!

Steal it Stateside: If you’re not quite ready to downsize or switch out bags, looks for transition pieces you might already own. The Longchamp le Pliage bag – a staple that seemingly every SF girl has over her shoulder – is a clean, classic look when not overstuffed (something I’m very guilty of doing) and Charles and Keith has gorgeous architectural bags that are still roomy enough to carry it all.

Coiffed Hair

Kate hair

The Singapore Look: Polished buns, half-back twists, and slicked back pony tails were everywhere. The clean, coiffed aesthetic, combined with the tailored details mentioned above, meant that Singapore women were as chic and stylish as I’ve seen anywhere – including Paris! It especially helps to keep your hair out of your face with all that humidity. Take a page out of Kate’s book from her trip to Singapore and twist it back in a beautiful bun and accent with studded bobby pins.

Steal it Stateside: I’m alllll about the wash ‘n go. My hair is naturally wavy so with a little product and two hours, voila! Beach hair. The only problem is that I don’t live in what I’d call a beachy, laid-back environment, and I need to be able to look polished quickly, whether I’m in DC or SoHo. Find a go-to hairstyle (I like to french braid half my head and pull it all together in a low bun) that can help you look pulled together quickly, or else invest in high quality tools that work quickly and efficiently, like the mini Chi travel straightener.

Would you embrace the full ’50s fashion of Singapore in your hometown?

PS – London Street Style and How to Travel Well

Images Top to Bottom: Social BlissFashion Population, and SocialiteLife.

Recipe for Fall

Even though San Francisco is just now getting into our nice weather – allegedly, though the fog out my window is all, “Summer who? Screw you and the surfboard you rode in on! I am FOG and I don’t believe in seasons, I only believe in mySELF!” (who knew Fog was such a jerk?) (also, who knew I could use so many different pieces of punctuation in one sentence?) – I am dreaming of Fall.

Something about Fall makes me want to snuggle up in a red jacket (always red – why is that?) and roast marshmallows by the campfire with dear friends. All of which I get to do in a few shorts weeks!

Here’s to red jackets, spending time in nature, transition, a new season, cold beer, and the best season of the year.

PS – an awesome campfire playlist to set the tone at cabins from Tahoe to Telluride.

I Love a Charade

One of the perks of working from home is that I get to multi-task. Sometimes this is bad – as cold, neglected mugs of tea and half-watered plants can attest – but sometimes this is great, because that means inspiration is everywhere and can be acted upon at a moment’s notice. Case in point: today. Nothing cheers up a day of expense reports and provides sartorial inspiration like Charade.

What I love about this film, aside from the witty banter and beautiful Parisian scenes, is the color. More specifically, the lack of it. I love the dusty hues and drab walls, which let Carey and Audrey really pop in bright reds and stark whites. Her earrings twinkle and the lights seem to glow against neutral backdrops.

Stanley Donen was a genius, and his beautiful movie still seems fresh and relevant. To wit: Audrey’s big-buttoned jacket, ladylike chignon and, of course, a very classic pink lipstick. All are cropping up in modern iterations on Fall runways and new collections everywhere. Now that’s something to be inspired by.

Blazer, Zara
Lipstick, Chanel
Chignon, JB Reed Weddings, via