Cinderella Inspired

Cinderella

{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

Him: BANGBANGBANGBANG !!!

Me: OHFORGETITGRUMBLEgrumble

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)

Everlane

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.