Friday, July 16, 2010

Fashion Fridays: Things I'm Loving - Pattern Pairing

Recently, I came across a very inspirational designer, who puts together colorful prints with whimsy and flare. Her name is Maya Lake and her line, Boxing Kitten can be found at She is on a whole other level with her prints, so prepare your eyes! She is widely popular—especially now that bolder, African inspired prints are trending. Her celebrity clientele includes Solange Knowles, Erykah Badu, Beyonce, Fergie and Rihanna ("Rude Boy" video)

Ok. All that aside. Reading about Maya (and getting a request from a friend) has inspired me to write about something I love to see and do--mixing prints (or pattern pairing)!

This is one of those things that people are intrigued by but never want to try themselves. I can understand because it seems so effortless when done right, and yet it doesn’t happen so easily when you are a beginner and deciding on what to wear.

Print pairing is fun, and it is common these days to see people pairing bold stripes or polka dots with florals or plaids. So I challenge you to get those creative juices flowing! Here are some guidelines on mixing and matching prints--so be not afraid:

1. Pair the same type of print. This could be 2 different stripes together, 2 different polka dots, or 2 different florals etc. as seen here -->

2. Pair prints with similar colors. This could be black and white stripes with black and white polka dots with black and white plaid (although it will depend on you how far you want to go). You don’t have to stick to 2 colors, but I would make sure that at least 2 of the colors in your prints match. For example, I have paired a green and white striped shirt with a red, yellow, green and white floral skirt as seen below (excuse the wrinkles!)

3. Be fearless when mixing and matching—don’t limit yourself.

4. Pattern mixing isn’t limited to just clothes. You can pair a striped tote with floral ballet flats...or you could add subtle striped tights with a polka dot skirt.

5. Kelly Framel* advises “don’t just throw things together and hope for the best." She went on to say that, "there’s an art to mixing prints…see things in absolutes, [and don’t] be distracted by the details…looking at broad tones over trivialities allows you to mix tenaciously.” (excerpt from an interview on

Here is one last pairing that I put together for you to use as an example--enjoy!

*The ever fashionable Kelly Framel has by far one of the best fashion blogs I have ever seen. She is truly an inspiration and you can check out her blog here -->

She also inspired the newest Twelve by Twelve line at Forever 21 and has a fashion spread on their website. To see it click here.

That's all for today! Have a wonderful and fashionable Friday!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Food 101: Dish of the month - Tilapia Fish Tacos with Arugula

Going along with the summer theme--here is the recipe I am attempting to make tomorrow evening. Its great for summer because it is light and refreshing, yet decadent (according to Giada).

I am going to spice mine up a little more by adding salmon instead of tilapia. Aren't they pretty!?

Tilapia Fish Tacos with Arugula

Wonton cups:

* 12 (3 1/4 by 3 1/4-inch square) wonton wrappers*
* 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil


* 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
* 3 tilapia fillets (about 8 ounces total), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 avocado, halved, pitted and flesh cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 1 mango, peeled and flesh cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 3 green onions, finely chopped
* 3 cups coarsely chopped baby arugula


* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
* Kosher salt

Creme fraiche:

* 1/2 cup creme fraiche
* 1 tablespoon wasabi powder*
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


*Can be found in Asian markets

Special equipment: a 12-count nonstick muffin pan

For the wonton cups: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using a pastry brush, brush each side of the wonton wrappers with canola oil. Gently press the wonton wrappers into the bottom and sides of a 12-count muffin pan. Bake until lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Gently lift the wonton cups out of the pan and cool completely, about 10 minutes.

For the filling: In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Drizzle the tilapia fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the fish in a single layer in the pan and cook until the flesh is flaky and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool slightly.

For the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the lime juice. Season with salt, to taste. Add the avocado, mango, green onions, and arugula. Toss until all the ingredients are coated.

For the creme fraiche: In a small bowl, mix together the creme fraiche, wasabi powder and salt until smooth.

To assemble the tacos: Put the wonton cups on a platter and divide the avocado mixture into the cups. Top each with 3 to 4 pieces of fish. Spoon about 1 to 2 teaspoons of the creme fraiche mixture on top of the fish and serve.

Cook's Note: The wonton wrappers can burn very quickly in the oven so check them after 5 minutes.

Travel: Weekend Getaway? Ladies, Pack Your Bags!

Summer is the time of festivals, concerts, road trips and beaches. Warm summer nights, frozen fruity drinks and great music all pull you closer to that goal of using some of your hard earned saved up “vacation time”. Don’t feel guilty thinking about your Christmas ticket home, or the 4 weddings you were invited to this year…just pack your bags and go! After all, you deserve it!

Of course when you travel you will connect with old friends--so you want to look your best. But that dreaded feeling hits you when it is time to pack, right?

Have you ever gotten somewhere and either under or over packed? I know I have! It is funny that for a 2 day trip some need a suitcase that rolls! I'm guilty--but now I can pack for up to 3 weeks in that same bag (and I have, trust me)

With that being said, here are some tips that have simplified my packing and kept me looking effortlessly chic:

1. M&M: When packing for a weekend getaway you always have to be organized and make sure that what you pack can be paired with multiple pieces—this way you can mix and match and create combinations that suit you. Try not to get stuck in “this comes as an outfit” mode— break it up!

2. Layers—seriously! Whether you are going to Costa Rica, or North Carolina you will need to pack a few layers just in case! A light cardigan, wrap, or blazer will keep you like the girl scouts—prepared (and stylish).

3. Versatility—bring pieces you can dress up or dress down depending on the occasion—if you choose right, the same dress could be used for the beach, dinner or for a night of dancing! You never know what could pop up when on vacation, so arm yourself with the right tools—a funky sandal, cute heels and of course some jewelry of choice!

4. A nice book (see blog) be it a travel book, a self help book or a novel—bring something just in case—and besides, you will gain a little culture while tanning your toesies ;)

5. Keep the foundation of your ‘fits (skirts, dresses, tops) basic, so you can spruce things up with accessories—remember that a colorful scarf can change a whole outfit!

6. Use lightweight and easy to pack fabrics--they will take up less space, and won't require ironing or any fuss-- try jersey, linen, or even seersucker

Okay, that is all for today. Have some fun in the sun (and get ready for fashion Fridays)!


Friday, July 9, 2010

Fashion Fridays: Things I'm Loving - Transparent Accessories

I know I am the queen of statement necklaces and I love to mix and layer them for a bit of flare. Recently I am loving these transparent, lucite statement necklaces and other accessories--like the one Queen Latifah wore on the BET awards. I have seen them before, (awhile ago with the Estee Lauder campaign featuring Liya Kebede--love her!) but I am starting to see them everywhere, and I think they are so fun for summer!

The best part about them--is that they are transparent--so they can be paired with virtually anything. I personally think they look best with whites, champagnes, silvers, soft pinks, and pastels--but you could pair them with any other fun solid color. I also wouldn't be afraid to pair them with a simple pattern--but also consider that the beauty of the necklace may get lost in the print (depending on the necklace and depending on the pattern).

The best canvas for a statement necklace is your bare shoulders (if those are one of your best features) so strapless numbers pair well with these as well.

I personally think they look best with boat necklines. The more dramatic you go with the necklace, the more simpler the item you pair them with. Try them out this week!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Reading Rainbow, Summertime reads

Remember that show? Well, summer is the perfect time of year for picking up a new book (I promise it has nothing to do with my mother being a retired librarian...okay maybe a little)! Many times we travel during these months and can read on the plane, train, or in the car. You can read at the beach while soaking up some rays, or a little each night right before you go to bed (like I do). If reading really isn’t your thing, try reference type books such as how to guides to get you started. There are thousands of these types of books on covering everything from manners to relationships to friendship. Most books start at $0.01! But be sure to read the reviews, because that will tell you a lot about what is really inside.

If you want some light reading I suggest something like Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

or The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus.

A book that I have been hearing about for ages and finally read with my BFF is The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom. I started out being over it fast, but continued and fell in love with it--now it is one of my favorites!

And one of my all time favories is Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Its about how a little boy ends up on a life raft with an adult Bengal tiger--and so much more...see where his story begins and ends...'cause I'm not tellin'!

Any of the Harry Potter books are amazing-- if you have a vivid imagination (start with the one that you have not seen on a movie screen yet)

Lastly, A few books that I have picked up for summer are:

Better than Beauty: A Guide to Charm by H Valentine


Bringing Out the Best in People: How to Enjoy Helping Others Excel
By Alan Loy McGinnis

I am also finishing up the last 2 Twilight books (gag!) which are way better than the movies, but still a little too sappy for me.

Happy reading!


Fashion Fridays: Inspiration, Abstract or Concrete?

A huge part of fashion is inspiration. Inspiration can come from anywhere—and for the most fashionable/fashion forward people, it rarely comes from what you see in a magazine--so don't limit yourself. Scenery, city life, photographs, people, colors, sunsets—you name it. Hell my best ideas come while I’m asleep—essentially what my subconscious held onto from the most inspirational part of that day!

There is so much beauty in the world to take in that sometimes you just have to find what makes you smile—and use that for inspiration. I know people that are inspired by the color yellow—and others that are inspired by a picture of Janet Jackson. I personally am inspired most by the beach—and for summer I usually start there. I love the colors, the people, the relaxed nature of the beach and the free flowing energy (probably why I got engaged on the beach).

I’m also inspired by the 60s…and that movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s—I’m in such awe of how formal yet casual people seemed to be back then, darling! I’m still trying to master Holly Golightly’s charm…

What YOU have to do is figure out what inspires you? What do you absolutely love? What makes you happy? Infuse that into what you put on everyday and you will love yourself that much more (and get compliments!)



Okay that’s the first half of the Fashion Fridays blog (2 for 1 since I didn't post one last Friday)…the next half is for those who absolutely need to have a visual, or a magazine reference as abstract thought may not be your forté…

Something that I have found to tie in with my beach-y inspiration is something called resort wear. Resort collections have gotten widely popular only very recently. I know when you hear “resort” you think affluent or snobby—and that is exactly where these collections got their start. This is also why some designers call their collections “cruise-wear” or the “summer” collection instead, to avoid the connotation and to appeal to the masses.

Resort is like a pseudo season that is in between the traditional fall and spring. I found 2 very informative articles and will share both for you to contrast. One is from a year ago and talks about the history of and how Resort collections came to be. The other, from New York Magazine, (dated last week) talks about how the market has been flooded with Resort collections this year, and how designers are trying to stay afloat to keep up with the Jones’s…

Cynthia Rowley Resort 2010

Here is the first article from dated July 28, 2009:

Fashion Resort

Okay, that was a YEAR ago, now check out this one, just published last week: by New York Magazine

Resort Report 2011: Fashion Experts Answer Ten Big Questions, Like ‘Why Does This Season Exist?’

One last tip for this week. Don't feel compelled to buy designer clothes, or to spend your hard earned money on garments that are outside of your budget. Designer items will go out of style/season just as fast as Forever 21 and H&M will, so use these designer looks as "inspiration" and be sure to stay within your clothing allowance (splurge on quality [and timeless] staple items though)! Case and point, I bought this --> vintage lace shirt (never worn) from the thrift store for $7 last summer, and it looks almost IDENTICAL to the one shown in the 1st look on Philip Lim's...

Food for thought...

happy spending (or saving!),


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