27 January 2015

Style Inspiration: Light in the Dead of (Romantic) Winter

I've said it before, I'll say it again: I'm a Winter Girl. I'm the one disappointed at the measly dusting DC got from Juno. I'm the one happily digging out her hand-me-down fur hat on a bitter cold day. I'm the one looking forward to a cup of hot chocolate - while sitting outside at a café on that brilliantly sunny January afternoon.

But it hasn't been sunny, really, and January brings an onslaught for me at the DayJob. It's all I can do, some days, to keep my head above water (never mind wash my hair). Our annual weekend down tha shore over the Presidents' Day holiday couldn't feel farther away.

In between deadlines and dance class (the Bean's, not mine), though, I sneak a hungry peak at facebook and Instagram, following along with others' adventures - and their daily lives. I love seeing the normal, the regular, through others' lenses. I also love seeing the beautiful and striking. I've discovered a few new folks to follow recently, though, and thought I'd share. Maybe you'll find a little inspiration - style or otherwise - in their snaps of their worlds.

Kirsty Larmour's images of her family's travels are stunning. Breathtaking, even. For me, the aesthetic (how does she capture that light?) heightens the connection. I can only dream of taking my two Beans on the travels she and hers are experiencing. Of course, being based in Abu Dabi doesn't hurt. I discovered her just as they were traipsing through Armenia, H's - and therefore my Beans' - ancient homeland. And in case her Instagram account (@kirstylarmour) isn't enough for you, you can follow along on her blog, too. Image via her Instagram account.

I met Simon Alcantara before I knew his work. In the whirlwind of my first trip to New York Fashion Week, Jessica Quillin introduced us over lunch at Henri Bendel. But really, that isn't the important part. His Instagram account (@simonalcantara) is as delightful as he is - and as his work is elevating. Like Kirsty's travel's Simon's jewelry designs are aspirational for me. This silver and cotton (yes, cotton) creation from his Odyssey Collection was the first thing I saw online one dreary morning. It's stuck with me. Image via his Instagram account.

Ulyana Sergeenko's Instagram account (@ulyana_sergeenko_moscow), my newest guilty pleasure, is splattered with celeb sightings at her Moscow atelier. She is married to a billionaire, afterall, and is a couture client and couturier. But it's these deliberate shots (sometimes part of a film shoot, sometimes a photo shoot) that have me longing for this life gone by (or perhaps that never really existed). The feed captures a rich, velvety sense of the most decadent Russian salon you can imagine. Given I carry a copy of Anna Karenina around on every major move (both my years in Austria and Germany, college, group house, you get the picture), it's no wonder I'm drawn to these pictures. Image via her Instagram account.

I discovered Champagne Tarlant's Instagram account (@tarlant) after a World Champagne Day (yup, that's a day. for realz.). I suppose I have Polly Wiedmaier to thank for that (and her kind invitation to join her at Marcel's for a tasting a few years back). While I can't drink champagne every day (or can I?), I can certainly lose myself in the elegant mists floating over the French countryside and between the vines. I suppose my not-so-secret Romantic is showing. Image via their Instagram account.

What are some of your favorite Instagram accounts? Where do you find online inspiration? I'd love to hear more.

And if you're on Instagram, and not following along with me, join me (@dcceline). It's a pretty real life. I hope there's a little beauty and fun in it.

15 January 2015

Shop in Style: Old Town Alexandria's Kiskadee Shop Renovation Sale This Weekend

You know how when you move, you get excited about cleaning out the stuff so you have less to move? And in that process, you find the gems you forgot you had in your closet?

Well, DC-area ladies, Kiskadee Shop is renovating their space starting next week - a fresh new look is coming - but you get to find the gems in their closet! Let's make the renovation easier on her by lightening her load!

Owner Sarah has let it slip that there's a massive sale starting this Saturday. This is your fair warning. It's going to be cold for a while yet in DC - we haven't even gotten close to Punxatawney Phil making is prediction, let alone having it come to fruition.

Need another cozy sweater - at 58-80% off? Done.

Race ya!

(Then meet you for a cuppa around the corner!)

What: Kiskadee's Renovation Sale - all fall & winter styles (there are some fun things for kids and the guys, too!) 50-80 % off

Where: 2205 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301

When: Saturday, January 17th - Saturday, January 24th

Why: Because if you snag a classic piece at these prices, you're doing right by your wallet and your wardobe

And if you need any more convincing, check out my girl Chelsea's feature on Alexandria Stylebook: Who's That Girl? All clothed in Kiskadee, she is.

12 January 2015

Bringing the Old Into the New

I know it's been approximately 107 years since I "penned" a post. I've been busy, natch, and I was disconnected from a regular ol' computer screen for the holidays, which was absolutely lovely. For the first time in years, both H and I took the holidays off completely. From mid-afternoon on December 23rd through the morning of January 5th, all we did was check email less than a handful of times. It was quiet, it was full. It was peaceful, it was busy. It was joyful, and it was a little bit stressful.

The best parts, which I'm going to hang onto for as long as I can in my head, and return to them when the going gets rough (because it will):

Baking all day with 2 of 3 friends I've had for 20 years (one was sick, and we missed her terribly). Yes, we baked sugary and fatty things. And we shared them, as we always do. The company was the most glorious, as always.

Because blood orange sangria makes baking better

Impromptu Christmas eve day visits from friends who happen to be neighbors. One family came by in the morning, so we had coffee and pastries and the kids (theirs are same ages as our Beans) played while we just lazed and talked. The other family came by mid-afternoon (dad was on his own with the two kids), and while we started a slow burn on cocktails early, we did continuous apps for dinner, and they left way too late, all children and grownups were glowing for the company. The company, really, was the best.

If you're still drinking this January, drink this. Fairytale of New York, as posted by Deb over at Smitten Kitchen.

Christmas decorations. They make me happier than happy. Nutcrackers and bells and pine cones and swags and elves and candleholders crafted in preschools and ornaments and lights and candles and angel chimes. They just came down this weekend, and I'll be sad for the coziness that'll leave our home.

We're never done until 2am Christmas Eve, but it's worth it.

A christmas morning that was at least for a few presents worth, just the 4 of us. Just us and their glee.

Boxing day with nothing to do but play with our new toys and go to the playground, then have more friends over for a homemade dinner. We all stayed up way too late, but laughed and talked and played. The company, really, was the best.

The first time in New Hope, PA, a little artsy town near Jersey, when I could visit the vintage store on the corner w/out complaints from my family. In fact, they loved it, too. And a dress.

If you can make it there, Love Saves the Day is an incredible vintage shop. Originated in the East Village.

No.2's first trip to New York City, with temples and knights at the Met, FAO Schwartz, and lunch at The Plaza. There were lights and Christmas windows and train rides. And we were together, we 4. The company, really, was the best.

Rockefeller Center

A random afternoon at a south Jersey Walmart buying silly things and necessary things, then the rest of the day baking a second batch of the traditional Romanian christmas bread (in the guise of a Greek new year's bread), and making my first batch of traditional Romanian sour soup (a new year's thing). With my husband.

New Year's Day with the Mummers Parade on TV.

If you know what this is, we're best buds.

A final weekend night in Princeton with visits with dear friends and swims in hotel pools.

These are lots of moments. Many of them involved some excess from which I'm admittedly recovering, but I'm cleaning up my act and resetting my head to my #healthyme space and the #DayJob.

What I’m keeping, though, is the focus I was granted - because that’s how it feels - on my family. way. I return, as i often do, to the company, which is the best, because the power of us is such a strong thing, it just can't be manufactured.

So here we go, us. Here we go.

PS - One of the most exciting things in the New Year is that I’ve joined Alison’s team over on Wardrobe Oxygen. Starting this month, three of us will be columnists. I’ll be writing "Fashion, Undressed," attempting to explain some of what Fashion (with a capital “F”) does and why. Chelsea of The Chelsea Chronicles will share her thoughts, as will Phyllis Bourne. You can find Allie’s introductory post over here. Hope you enjoy!

12 December 2014

Bean Style: On Spies, Fashion Museums, and 7 Year Olds

Oonce spy Elsa was eating Brecfist when she hirde her alarme go oof. She got her close and throo them on. Then raste to her spy car. She called her sid-kick. Thay meet at the parck. Spy Elsa sead that thar was trable in the fashin-Mosem in new yorck city. Thay hoped in thar cars and speed away. Elsa was driving with nenae. When thay got thar thay rast in. They saw what was [...]

This is hers. All hers, characters, plot, syntax, grammar, spelling, and all. She likes Quiet Time best, she says, in her 2nd grade day. Behind recess, of course. She writes and writes, her teacher says. Nothing could make me happier to hear.

It's an odd thing, though, to hear your child is gravitating towards the things that make you tick yourself. It's a joy and pride, and it's a worry. I worry that because I'm sharing things with her that I love, she wants to love them, too, just because they're mine. I worry that she won't be her own person, that she just wants to copy me. I worry that she won't find her own joy.

It also makes me worry what I'm going to give her that she doesn't need: my issues, my quirks, and even some of my fears.

But then I read what she wrote, and I listen to her teacher. I watch her scribbling away at a story, a song, a poem, or a sketch. She's been scribbling since her beloved easel arrived for Christmas when she was 2. Now there's an art center, her own development, that encroaches on our dining room from its huge picture window spot. For the light, you know.

But then I listen to her and watch her, and I know she's her own person.

For the record, when she's a spy? Her cover will be fashion designer. So if, in, say, 2034, Women's Wear Daily reports about the newest edgy designer with a penchant for secrecy? Well,...

Also for the record, I asked the 7yo who doesn't always want me to post a picture of her anymore if it's ok to put her writing up on my website. I asked, then I let her think about it for a few days, then asked her again, making sure she knew she could say "no."

05 December 2014

Rocker Chic: Good Friends Mean You Don't Give a Flying...

Video via

I walked into our apartment last night, barefoot from 14 hours in sky high heels (after months of nothing beyond 3"), and H had this video on his laptop screen. He does that. He'll get on the internet and go down a rabbit hole. Last night, The Doors movie started it, and he ended up with Bon Scott as a schoolgirl. I didn't ask.

"The best thing about this," I said, watching it over his shoulder, "is that they don't give a flying [expletive]."

There's an unadulterated joy in this video. Sure, could be it was helped along with, um, substances, and sure, they're bona fide rock stars in the early days of video (when really, they were the best. ever.) in too-long hair and too-tight clothes. But underneath it all, they didn't give a shit and they were having an absolute blast. There was no pretentious strutting, there were no googly eyes at the camera, and there was nary a selfie in sight. The way it should be.

Photo courtesy of the nice man Rosana asked on the street, then Allie edited on her phone. Because I suck at that shit.

Despite having an electronic record of our togetherness (but we did ditch the selfie and actually asked a passerby to snap this pic, which had us in stitches for 100 reasons), that's precisely how I felt about last night. Last night, I met up with two women I met on the internet. We met because of perhaps the most pretentious industry out there. At any rate, fashion is the most vain, concerned always about appearances. It is appearances, defined. We talked about our industry. We lamented our missing compadres. We shared thoughts large and small. We had chipwiches.

The defining moment of our night came maybe the night before, when we were messaging to confirm plans, when one of us wrote how glad she was to be meeting up with us and how awesome it was to not think a lick about what she was wearing or how she looked. With "fashion people." Heck, with anyone, nowadays, it feels an incredible luxury to be one's self, open and unguarded, unconcerned about appearances. It's pure gold when you find it.

Don't you worry, now, we three looked positively respectable. We even peeked into a fashion event. But that wasn't the point of the night. Instead, we connected, we snorted (with laughter), we consoled, we planned, and we fed off of each other in the most delicious way. And it's all because we don't give a flying [expletive].

Bon Scott, you late star you, I think I'll borrow your look next time we're out.