Thursday, September 27, 2012

Are These Boots Made for Walking?

In Los Angeles, we are still waiting for the fall weather to truly arrive; however, I have all my newest cool weather duds all lined up and ready to go as soon as the mercury drops below 70 degrees.  I just know it is going to have to happen sooner or later.

But -- in the meantime -- I realized that there is one more thing missing from my closet: the neutral boot. 

I have black moto boots, brown suede boots, black leather boots, Frye tall boots in banana (my favorite), Louboutin booties, brown color block-booties accented with turquoise and yellow and grey slouchy boots which, I am sad to report, are on their way out so I have to find the perfect replacement.

Besides the neutral color palette, I have only one other stipulation: this boot has to be comfortable. 

While doing my research, I have come up with two options thus far but I'm just not sure if they can fill my shoes.

Why don't you let me know which boots you think are made for walking.

Description: Pour la Victoire : hazelnut suede 'Gwenda' wedge boots : style # 320376801
Pour La Victiore Gwenda Wedge, $270

Franco Sarto Maven Wedge Boot - Taupe
Franco Sarta Maven Wedge, $130


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Cat's Meow: Smoking Loafers

Black Velvet Cat Shoe by Jon Josef
Jon Josef, Gatsby Cat, $135

I am loving the look of loafers this fall; mix them with my kitty obsession and all is well with my world.

It seems that Spanish footwear designer, Jon Josef, has created the "Gatsby Cat" loafer just for me.  These velvet and leather flats -- with the playful kitty cat face embroidered in gold -- are the practical smoking loafer for day or night. 

The playful twist takes a traditional shoe and makes it interesting.


Friday, September 21, 2012

British Invasion: Topshop has Landed at Nordstrom in the U.S.


The British are coming! The British are coming!  Well not really, but British style setter – Topshop – is now selling a hand-picked selection of its much loved range in 14 Nordstrom stores across the U.S.

According to Topshop’s site, they will be offering a warm British welcome to the Nordstrom brand with each store-within-a-store concept encompassing around 4,000 square feet of fun; featuring their newest campaign and trend-led racks.

In 1964, Topshop set up shop in the basement of a department store and, over the past 40 years, they have grown their brand to 300 stores in the U.K. and they are known for its eclectic British style all over the world.

Sort of like a high-end H&M who actually gets respect from London’s fashion elite, Topshop has built strong bonds with industry insiders.  In 2002, they joined forces with NEWGEN, an organization which nurtures new design talent and provides a global platform for the fashion scene’s brightest new stars. 

Recently, Topshop was the only high street brand to show on schedule at London Fashion Week.

Other collaborations in addition to Nordstrom include Christopher Kane and Kate Moss.  Topshop says on its site, “ to our fresh take on making new season pieces work for you, we’re on a mssion to bring style to you, wherever you are.”

 Shop Topshop online or at the following locations – including Nordstroms – throughout the U.S.   





Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rolling into the New School Year One Food Truck at a Time

The Grilled Cheese Truck
Last Friday was my son’s back to school picnic.  The hubby Jason was out of town so it was date night for Shane and me.  Due to battling rush hour traffic to get home from work and picking the kiddo up from extended care by 6pm, we were about an hour and a half late.

When we arrived, I was surprised to see that the picnic itself was set up a bit different than the year previous.  This year, the school had arranged to have four Los Angeles area based food trucks on-hand for the festivities.  As we made our way across the blacktop over to the soccer fields to place our blanket and chair, I eyed the long lines that snaked out from all the food trucks like ants moving at a snail’s pace.

They had The Grilled Cheese Truck (Twitter handle: @grlldcheesetruk); The Flat Iron Truck (; The Roll’n Lobster Truck (Twitter handle: @RollnLobster); and our personal favorite King Kone (Twitter handle: @kingkonela).

I asked Shane which one he wanted for dinner and his reply…wait for it…ice cream.

As much as I would have been interested in the Roll’n Lobster, I knew Shane would not go for it at all.  Not being huge meat eaters, the Flat Iron Truck would not have been a good choice for the two of us (although, my disclaimer is that, if Jason had been with us, he certainly would have been on that long ass line).

In a panic, I looked up and made a quick assessment and arduous decision, it would have to be the Grilled Cheese Truck.

I said to Shane, “You must eat dinner honey; so let’s both get grilled cheese.”  He said OK and ran off to play with his friends as I yelled at his back to check in with me soon.

I looked at my phone and it was 6:38pm.  I scanned the long, long line I was on and settled down for the wait.

First, I got myself all caught up with Words with Friends, then I checked out Facebook and then onto Twitter where I started following the aforementioned food trucks. 

By then, it was 6:55pm and it was almost my turn.  I scanned the crowd of children running amok searching vainly for Shane who was nowhere to be seen.  I decided that he would get a traditional grilled cheese on wheat bread and then there was me.

Who was I kidding; the 8-year-old in me wanted a yummy grilled cheese sandwich even more than my own son.

So, with only 3 minutes left, the pressure was on…which grilled cheese sandwich would I order? I grilled myself down to two choices: Havarti Melt and Caprese Melt.  The Havarti Melt is made with white wine braised chicken with artichoke pesto on French bread while the Caprese Melt comes with fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and balsamic syrup on roasted garlic bread.

Yum and double yum: I was torn as they both sounded so delish and, at the last minute, I went with the Caprese Melt.

I paid for our dinner and then walked toward the lynch mob waiting to pick up their food.  I saw a guy, whom I knew, who had ordered his food about 20 minutes before me and realized I was in for an even longer wait.

I headed over to our blanket and chair; looking for Shane.  His Sprite radar was on and, as if he knew I had his treat for him, he materialized out of thin air.  I had about a 30 second conversation with him before he was off again.

I chatted with a few moms that I knew from school and then moved our blanket, the chair and said Sprite over to where our neighbors were sitting, but the inevitable lay ahead of me.  I was going to have to make my way over to The Grilled Cheese Truck to actually pick up my sandwiches sooner or later. 

It was chaos, but I stood my ground.  I found the woman who had been directly in front of me in line and decided to shadow her.  I was tired of being plugged in so I just sort of people watched when another mom struck up a conversation with me.  We discussed what we had ordered, our children, the food trucks, fashion and then suddenly her name was called and she was gone.  Then I struck up a conversation with another woman. 

By this time, it was 7:30pm and I had been waiting almost an hour for my sandwiches.  I hoped it would be a good as the wait was long.  Other people in the mob were getting pretty impatient and asking each other what time they ordered based off their receipts.  Then, there it was, the call of pure decadent delight, “Tracy, order up.”

I quickly said my goodbyes and made my way up to the window and, in my haste, almost dropped both sandwiches.  Miraculously, the foodie gods were looking down on me and I saved both.

Once again, as if he had a honing device, Shane showed up by my side.  We sat down at our little campsite and both unceremoniously scarfed down our sandwiches. 

Shane said his traditional grilled cheese was one of the best that he had ever had and the Caprese was literally melting in my mouth. 

The burst of fresh basil mixed with the sour taste of the balsamic reduction married in such an orgasmic fusion that I was speechless.

Hidden in our own little corner, without the threat of being detected by Miss Manners, I ate that Caprese Melt like it was my last meal.  When it was all gone, I found myself licking my fingers and perfectly sated.

These grilled cheese sandwiches were not just good, but really good. Yet, before I had even had a chance to digest, Shane warned me that there were only 15 minutes left until the end of the picnic.  He said he hadn’t even had his ice cream from King Kone yet.

I immediately jumped up and found myself – once again – on a long line.  Two things happened:  one, the first woman that I met while on line for the grilled cheese walked by and said I was a glutton for punishment (yes that was true) and two, my neighbor waved me up to the front of the line and let me cut.

I could feel 20 pairs of eyes boring into me, but I could not turn down such an invitation.  After waiting an hour to secure our grilled cheeses, I was ready to take my chances with karma and a little retribution.

As we left the picnic, I couldn’t help but feel a little regretful.  As much as I enjoyed my grilled cheese sandwich, I only needed to take one look at Shane and the explosion of vanilla ice cream and rainbow jimmies smeared around his big smile to know which had been his favorite truck and how fun it would have been to have ice cream for dinner.

Keep on truckin’.



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sad to Say Good-bye to Summer

With only three official days of summer left, I am desperately trying to cling to them. 

This summer has been extremely warm across the world (pray tell Global Warming) and Southern California has been no exception.  Over the past few months, Los Angeles has been having a consistent heat wave.  It has been one of the warmest summers that I have experienced in almost two decades of living at the beach and I LOVE IT.

The hot and balmy days bring me back to my youth.  I would choose to be hot and sweaty then bundled up and freezing any day of the year.  I don't mind sleeping tangled up with cool sheets -- one leg in and one leg out -- with the fan blowing on me full blast.  What? No A/C?  Nope, no such thing down here at the beach.  Why would you because 99% of the time there is no need for it.

Don't get me wrong; Southern California is always warm and we really won't even experience fall until close to Christmas.  However, most summers, once the sun starts to set the winds pick up and almost always -- at least close to the beach -- a sweater or light jacket is mandatory.

When I first moved out here in 1994, I arrived in early July.  I was shocked at how cool it got at night and the recurring marine layer which made it gray and dreary until it burned off about noontime.  

On one of my first dates with Jason, I got bundled up as though we were going to the North Pole.  At the time, Jason drove a Jeep and, since it was summer time, he had the soft top off.  He pulled up to my apartment and helped me to clamber into the front seat.  (Luckily, dressy shorts were in style then as well so I didn't have to worry about my dress creeping up.) 

But you could have knocked me over with a feather when he handed me a giant winter parka to don.  I looked at him like he was crazy and he just said in his surfer boy accent, "You're gonna be cold."

Well that was an understatement and by the time we arrived in Santa Monica for movie and a dinner, I looked like I just stepped out of a hurricane simulator.  Although I was grateful for the warmth of his coat.

Lucky for me, the Jeep was soon replaced by a 1968 Porsche which came with a whole other set of driving dilemmas but that, my friends, is another story for a different day.

But yesterday, the change of seasons was suddenly evident and, when I woke up, there was an unaccustomed chill to the air. Sadly, I realized that this wonderfully warm summer was drawing to an end and, when I looked to the calendar, I realized that the first day of Autumn is this coming Saturday. 

I suppose it is true what they say that all good things must come to an end but I am trying to make myself feel better by telling myself that there is always next year.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Getting Hot and Bothered at MB Fashion Week: SS13

Michael Kors Collection (Image: MB Fashion Week)
With the temperatures sizzling across the United States, it is not hard to envision oneself wearing all the hot new Spring 2013 designs which debut last week at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.

Nearly 200 designers made statements by previewing spring collections which included a lot of leather, skirt suits, black-and-white, below-the-knee coats, cutouts, corsets and color, color and more color.

The collections in the tents at Lincoln Center were bold and beautiful, but three designers stood out.

I have always been a fan of Michael Kors; however, the contemporary construction and clean lines of his newest collection have really hit home with me.  I can see myself wearing almost every piece (in my real fashion life…not the fantasy one) that went down the runway.

His look was a very glamorous Sixties mod which embodied every vibrant hue of the rainbow.  Sheath dresses in leather or crepe were adorned with interesting closures and pocket details.  Skirts and sweaters with opposing horizontal and vertical stripes take the eye to a new plain; while interesting prints such as digital clouds and swimming pool prints on satin pants, shorts and dresses painted a very edgy backdrop.
Michael Kors Collection (Image: MB Fashion Week)

To me, one of the highlights of Kors collection was the black crepe halter gowns with keyhole cutouts or harness bodices.

Another completely wearable collection was created by Nanette Lepore who is known for her easy modish sportswear and dresses which retail at a realistic price point.
Nanette Lepore Collection (Image: MB Fashion Week)

Lepore’s wears incorporated a lot of toile-like fabrics which were combined with floral prints and gingham to create many mix-and-match textures and layers.  The collection’s color palette was varied with hues such as pumpkin, coral, peach, lime, jade, sea foam, and the omnipresent Kelly green.

Overall, her line was refreshing and pretty.

With a real runway in the tents this year, stylist-turned-designer Rachel Zoe came into her fashion own and made her mark at Lincoln Center.

Transitioning her traditional boho chic into a more sophisticated line of style, Zoe creates a collection that incorporates many effortless and wearable designs.
Rachel Zoe Collection (Image: MB Fashion Week)
Rachel Zoe Collection (Image: MB Fashion Week)

The color-block shift dresses, leather blazers, tunics, trousers, sweaters and classy silk shorts were uncomplicated but exuded a “cool and chic” look.  There was still a fair share of maxi dresses and silk caftans to represent Zoe’s infamous style, but the new mom has created a collection that was easy, breezy for real life.
This season, I felt that designers brought some very wearable designs and, I couldn't help but notice that sky high stilettos were glaringly absent, to the runways.  There is something to be said about styles which allow women to be feminine, bold, glamorous and comfortable.
Now, that's hot.





Sunday, September 16, 2012

Football Widows: If You Can't Beat Them; Join Them

Well, we are about to begin the second weekend of the 2012/2013 pro football season and, suddenly, I find myself missing my husband.  Football season is a big deal for Jason and I have learned to accept that, from September until February, I am a Fantasy Football widow.  It used to be just Sundays and Monday evenings but now, with the addition of Thursday night football, know.

I believe there are a lot of us football widows out there because over the past few weeks my previous post, "We Interrupt This Marriage to Bring you Football Season," has gotten a ton of hits.

As I posted before, Jason is a great husband and amazing father but, when football is on, he is tuned out to the day-to-day more than he is tuned into the boob tube.  Honestly, I could have three and, this would be the only time of the year, he wouldn't even notice.

After all this time, I have come to terms with football and -- as I have posted before in more detail -- I try to make the most of this time of year.  Or you can be like my friend Lynn and obtain the "if you can't beat them, then join them mentality."  She rolled up her sleeves to learn all the technical aspects of the game and now sits side-by-side with her man during all the games.  The only difference is that when he cracks a beer, she takes a sip of her martini.

With my son Shane starting his second season of flag football, I just may follow in her footsteps so I can be a part of this family past-time as well... or not; I still have one more book in the Fifty Shades series to go and -- please don't tell anyone -- I honestly enjoy my temporary widowhood.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Trying Hard to Forget to Remember 9-11 Attacks

This is how I remember...

This morning, while running with my friend Rachel, we discussed the fact that it was the 11 year anniversary of 9-11 – the worst terrorist attacks waged on the United States ever!

Unless you have been under a rock, everyone knows that on September 11, 2001, 19 al-Qaeda terrorist simultaneously orchestrated suicide attacks on the World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon, and another plane that was headed to Washington D.C. as well which was overthrown by passengers and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.

Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks including 227 civilians and 19 hijackers.

Rachel said that it was one of those events that you would always remember where you were when it happened just like other momentous tragedies – such as John F. Kennedy’s assassination (in which we weren’t alive), the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion and, most recently, I saw the Japanese tsunami cause massive destruction live on television – among many others catastrophic events.

I actually wasn’t going to post about this today because I do recall where I was on that fateful day and I don’t want to remember what happened.  However, I keep seeing the quote, “Gone But Not Forgotten,” and I realized that this is so much larger than me. 

There are so many members of my family; people across the country who don’t have that luxury to just “forget” because they are missing someone they loved or their lives have changed forever due to that momentous day.  So I decided that it was important for me to pay homage to those victims of the 9-11 terrorist attacks and their loved ones whom were left behind to try and pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.

On the morning of Sept. 11, I know exactly where I was when the first plane hit. I was safe at home in Hermosa Beach, Calif. and getting ready for work.  I had just turned on the news after getting out of the shower around 6 a.m. PST.  I yelled for my husband Jason and we just sat there and stared at the drama unfolding on television – in shock – for what seemed like hours. 

In 2001, I worked in downtown Los Angeles.  Around the time I was supposed to head into work, United Airlines Flight# 93 was still unaccounted for and I had decided to stay at home from my job as an editor at a news wire.  However, I got a call from our bureau chief that we were still expected to come into the office to disseminate the news as well as cover for our New York bureau.

I carpooled into the office with a co-worker and Los Angeles was eerily silent and there was barely a car on the road.  The National Guard had our building – one of the tallest skyscrapers in downtown LA – evacuated and closed due to the threat; however, we took the elevator up to the 50th floor.  I would be lying if images of those planes crashing into the towers were not prominent in my head.

Although, little did I know that the fear of my own imagination would be a minor concern compared to what I was about to face.

The news wire that I worked for at the time was headquartered in New Jersey and our biggest bureau was in New York City.  No surprise there.

Our LA office had taken over its phone lines and it was with dismay that I started taking crises calls.  Person after person phoned our news wire: some were family members of colleagues asking if their loved ones, who commuted on the Path trains through World Trade Center station, had made it to work; others were just complete strangers concerned about missing loved ones whom they were unable to reach via cell phone; and most were individuals calling to see if we could tell them what was happening in the city and world.

My co-workers and I sat ensconced in our “safe” ivory tower – the unfortunate fate of those passengers on Flight # 93 had been discovered by then – and with the sun shining on a beautiful fall day in LA, every single one of us had tears running down our faces as we listened to the cries, pleas and anger of those New Yorkers on the phones. 

In those early hours – even days – when the information about the attacks was just beginning to trickle in and the reality of the situation slowly seeped into my logical brain; I just could not get the voices of those poor souls out of my mind. Also, the images that were showing up on television will be forever etched into all of our memories as well.

For me, I could not make sense of it all.

Being from New Jersey, I had worked and lived in New York City.  News started to come in from my family too:  My Aunt Barb’s best friend Roseanne, a mom who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, had been a victim of the attacks; My best friend from childhood lost her father-in-law’s best friend; almost everyone I talked to from back home had been affected in one way or another.

My grandmother could see the smoke rising from the devastation in NYC from her apartment on the Jersey shore.

It hit me so close to home.

Not unlike many other Americans, I felt that I carried a part of the devastation from the attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington within me for weeks afterward.  But I know that I was not alone.  My fellow Americans and the world were traumatized by the absolute mindless chaos that prevailed and we all suffered from losing our sense of safety -- not only those who had lost loved ones. 

Yet, we also stood up against those terrorist together. My former co-workers from the New York bureau walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to buy or get supplies in the other boroughs of New York, only to return right back into the City with food, water, blankets...anything they could do to offer help out at Ground Zero.  They would not be deterred.
As hard as it was, we all carried on and life continued to move forward.  I know it wasn’t easy – especially for those who had been affected so profoundly – but, if we didn’t, we would have stood still, frozen with terror, which is exactly what the terrorists want.  Today, I realize the importance of remembering.

"Memories is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose."  The Wonder Years




Monday, September 10, 2012

Vintage Inspired Compact is Dior-licious

Dior Taileur Bar compact, $75;

With New York fashion week in full swing, I couldn't help but find nostalgia in Dior's limited-edition, vintage-inspired Taileur Bar compact which honors Christian Dior's first Haute Couture Collection revealed in 1947.

The image on the hand-pressed compact features Dior's iconic Bar Suit and showcases a pulled-together fashionista who dons the Taileur Bar (suit), period-appropriate hat and the forever ladylike gloves. 

Not unlike the new look of today, the iconic image is made of velvety shadows in black, soft gray and pink -- shades Dior showcased in his premier collection.

So glamorous for the runway of our lives.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Repost of LA Racked FNO Events

FNO 2012

Balenciaga, Dash, Satine: 10 FNO Events for Celebrity Sightings


Tory Burch

142 S Robertson BlvdLos Angeles, CA 90048
Revenge actress Ashley Madekwe will be hosting the festivities here. The party will feature an Instagram printer, which allows people to print out their Instagram photos using the #TBFNO hashtag in real time. Keeping with the night's tech-savvy theme, the boutique will also offer a limited-edition e-tablet skin gift with purchase.

Rebecca Taylor

107 S Robertson BlvdLos Angeles, CA 90048
Celebrity superstylist Nicole Chavez will be in the house to provide partygoers with a complimentary styling session and a chance to win the full styled look via a Facebook contest. Chavez's notable clients include Kristen Bell and Victoria Justice. Maybe they'll stop by.

Paige Denim

116 N Robertson BlvdLos Angeles, CA 90048
To kick off their #UniquelyPaige campaign, Paige Denim will unveil a new storefront window display customized by local blogging superstar Julie Sarinara of Sincerely, Jules. The display will feature three new styles from the line. After the reveal, Sarinara will hang with fans until 7pm and help them pick out some fall denim. Leandra Medine aka The Man Repeller is doing the same thing at Paige's NYC store, so this is sure to be the blogger FNO event this year.

Sportie LA

1021 S Fairfax AveLos Angeles, CA 90019
Actress and singer Adrienne Bailon is hosting a bash here with Kangaroos sneakers designers Shane and Shawn Ward. Power 106's DJ Reflex will be spinning beats while guests enjoy Tito's Vodka, O.N.E. Coconut Water, Red Bull, Pirate's Booty and sushi. Yes, sushi.

Kyle by Alene Too

9647 Brighton WayBeverly Hills, CA 90210
Although no Real Housewives appearances are confirmed at this event, we predict that Kyle Richards and a few of her famous friends will make a surprise cameo at the RHOBH star's first Beverly Hills boutique.


8420 Melrose AveLos Angeles, CA 90069
Although Scott Disick and Kim Kardashian will be in NYC and Kendall Jenner will be at Beverly Center, a Kardashian Klan member is sure to pop up at their newest boutique. Their party will feature live music, pop-up designer booths, food and fashion trucks, giveaways and a "black carpet" photo booth.

Sunglass Hut

1334 3rd Street PromenadeSanta Monica, CA 90401
In addition to enjoying snacks and getting snapped in the latest fall sunnies, guests will be treated to a special guest appearance by a "local fashion professional." Could it be Sunglass Hut's style director, the one and only Rachel Bilson?


8670 Melrose AveLos Angeles, CA 90048
The French fashion house's festivities will include a champagne toast to celebrate the launch of its new collaboration with legendary Vogue creative director Grace Coddington. The limited-edition accessories line features Coddington's drawings of her cat, Pumpkin, modeling iconic Balenciaga looks from the past 10 years—really. Although the brand's Florabotanica fragrance campaign star Kristen Stewart will reportedly be in Toronto, we're hoping for surprise appearances by some of the brand's other famous fans.

The Standard

8300 Sunset BlvdLos Angeles, CA 90069
The finale of FNO WeHo will feature a huge afterparty at The Standard, Hollywood hotel. The event is open to the public and includes complimentary cocktails from 10 to 11pm. Expect MTV Video Music Awards attendees to trickle in after the show.


8134 W 3rd StLos Angeles, CA 90048
LA-based It girlAtlanta De Cadenet is hosting Wren's pop-up shop inside Satine, curated by Wren founder Melissa Coker. The night will include specially crafted refreshments by Prevu, tunes by DJ Luke Harris, a Snap Yourself! photo booth and 10% off Satine's covetable merch.