27 August 2011

Style Reboot: Baubles I Need to Wear, Part I

Now that I have a clean accessories cabinet, it's a Whole New World [cue Disney music]. I've got all these baubles I want and need to wear. Granted, I've also got some that I probably could do away with, but there are memories around many, and most I want to incorporate into upcoming ensembles.

Some take me back - I'd even forgotten some of these favorites - to places, and to places in time.

For my 30th birthday, I celebrated in New Orleans. I organized a room block then, sent an email out to all my friends and family. Not everyone could come, of course, but we ended up with this delightful group of people that made the celebration truly special: my mom and stepmom, H and his mom, my brother and his girlfriend-now-wife, a friend from Vancouver, WA, and a friend from DC and his Brand. New. Boyfriend. Our parents are still madly in love with said boyfriend. Oh yeah, and the friend. And we shopped. In between Preservation Hall, dinner at the now defunct 201 Decatur, and beignets, we shopped from the artisan to the funky - and I came home with both in bracelets and rings.

Just after H and I tied the knot, we "celebrated" Labor Day in South Beach with BlueSuitGirl. We shared a room one block back from the beach in a classic Art Deco hotel, dined at Cafeteria, and did Nikki Beach and the Delano in one night. And we shopped. In addition to 2 pair of shoes, I fit in last minute purchase - then and now one of my favorite pieces - of a Alexis Bittar stone pendant. When I wear it, I think of those carefree times. A couple of months later, H had a business trip back in Miami, and went to a little boutique we'd visited, bringing me back a jeweled chain that I've worn both as a looped necklace, a lariat, and a belt.

Then there's Austria. As I've said before, it was a life-changing 9 months. I made friends, I perfected my Austrian - ahem - German, drank coffee and wine, and was lucky enough to have 3 host families I adore. In the first, I had 3 sisters and a mom and dad who were just, well, Austrian. She made me schnitzel and knoedl on my first day, and sat with me every day after school, listening to my developing German and teaching me how to cook her Tirolean fare. When I left the country at the end of the year, they gave me a traditional Austrian pewter, brass, and garnet necklace.

My second family was a husband and wife - and their dachshund. He's first-generation Austrian from Czech parents, raised in Salzburg. She's one of the most elegant women I've ever met. At the time, she worked part-time for a dermatologist as a medical esthetician. She was never without her lipstick or a scarf tied at her neck. Can we say "intimidating" to a just-graduated-from-high-school-and-not-sure-of-her-style-at-all 18 year old American? They, like my first family, truly took me in, taking me all over Europe (Christmas in Salzburg, New Year's in Maastricht), teaching me to ski (after laughing at what I called "skiing"), and treating me like the grown-up I wanted to be - when I behaved like one. They love the States, even considering it as a retirement location for a while. He's often here on business, and on one of his trips, he brought me the ultimate Austrian sparkles: Swarovski. Even though they're clips, I love wearing the brushed gold with crystal "polka dots."

I have a little habit. A few, really, but the one relevant here is picking up something sparkly and pretty where ever I travel. It's easy, it fits in the suitcase, and often won't break the bank (though somehow my eye keeps inching its way up the dollar scale recently. not good. not good at all). There are certainly more travel purchases in my closet, but these are the ones that somehow, in some way, just take me...

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