Yearly Archives: 2011

happy happy, merry merry!

As you might expect, I’m off to spend a wonderful week with my nearest and dearest. But I will have a little New Year’s surprise from of my very favorite guest writers who will be popping in next week, so check back in for that. Something tells me you’ll absolutely love it!

Truly, my friends, I hope you have an unforgettable holiday season. Whether you’re celebrating with roast turkey and pumpkin pie or bad Chinese food and a movie, I hope your week is filled with family, friends, joy, laughter and plenty of hot cocoa.

{My dog, Daisy, who wanted to help with the holiday decorating}

I’ll see you back here in the new year!

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get gifting: festival of the last minute

Santa’s sleigh is revving up, friends…are you ready?

Neither am I.

If all of the gift guides this month weren’t enough to rouse you from your procrastinating ways, chances are you’re in a bit of a pickle right about now. For the most part, overnight shipping is done, and it’s time to get something under the tree or risk the wrath of your loved ones.

Step away from the Starbucks gift cards, friends – I have options! Behold, a few of my favorite last-minute tips to check every name off your holiday list:

  • A certificate for a bespoke Hayden-Harnett scarf, paired with a copy of the photo you’d like to use, would be a wonderful (and incredibly thoughtful) gesture for anyone.
  • If she’s a fashion-forward girl who knows exactly what she wants, gift her the chance to design her own custom jewels at GemKitty. Or you can take it a step further – design the piece for her on their awesome website, print out a picture, and package her gift card with the design you have in mind. She can take your suggestion or change it out, without having to stand in a returns line on the 26th.
  • It’s hard to go wrong with a spa gift card. If you don’t know her favorite spot, pick yours. (Or if you’re local, pick mine – Portland Spa every time.) With price points from a manicure to a full day of bliss, this is a perfect fit for any budget and just about any girl. Plus, many local spas are running holiday package specials right now to help you out. Portland Spa, for example? 50% off any laser hair removal package for the holidays. Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a lifetime without shaving.
  • If you must go with a retail gift card, steer clear of the mega-mart options (Target gift cards are so not festive) and for heaven’s sake, shop local. Head to their favorite boutique (or a store you know they’d love), and ask them to wrap the gift card up in a box, not an envelope – it feels more gift-y that way. A chic clothing boutique, a wine store or local distillery, even a video game arcade are all great ways to gift outside the box. If you’re in another city, enlist a messenger service (they’re everywhere) – the gift will be at their door today, probably for under $20.

Are there any last-minute finds you’ve given with wild success in years past? Or ideas you’re planning to test this year?

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crafty girl: the isabel marant boot hack

This is really crafting by delegation (which, one might argue, is the best kind of crafting), but I had to share my most recent “Well, aren’t you clever?” moment.

A couple of years ago (wow, make that three years ago!), I bought a pair of cheap tall suede boots. They were my first foray into the world of tall boots, actually – I’d never been a fan, being from California, where shoe-related warmth is utterly unnecessary. You can see the process unfold right over here if you’d like a stroll down memory lane.

As you’d expect from cheap boots with absolutely no internal structure, these turned from slouchy chic to saggy swashbuckler over the course of a couple of years. They showed all sorts of unpleasant watermarks and wear on the shaft, the color was fading, and – best of all – the stitching was coming out at the top. Clearly, something had to be done.

Meanwhile, I was wishing for a great pair of knock-around cognac ankle boots to give my beloved Rachel Comeys a break (and stand in for the $800 Isabel Marant boots I’d been coveting). It finally dawned on me, in a fit of genius, that I have an amazing cobbler and a fashion gambler’s heart (Ha! As if.). So, I took them to my beloved cobbler Dorian, who turned these:

…into these:

And I’ve been wearing them almost nonstop since. Brand new shoes for $35 – not bad!

My crafty hack would work best with a cheapie pair of boots (lining and zippers will definitely complicate things. But if you have a far-too-slouchy pair of boots in your closet that you just can’t salvage, this is a pretty fantastic solution. Just remember, a good cobbler is key to this crafty mission. If you don’t have one, you’re missing one of the great joys in life. If you don’t have one in your town, ask the most well-heeled girl you know who she trusts.

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purple is the new red

I couldn’t help noticing a trend in my after-Thanksgiving shopping binge, and I do so love a good theme.

Those after-Thanksgiving sales just slayed me, friends. What’s a girl to do when the Givenchy wallet you’ve been coveting for a year is suddenly 40% off? Buy, that’s what. Though now, it’s actually 60% offsigh. Sometimes sale shopping is a big game of Chicken. And really, I blame Miss Kate for the driving mocs. I was living a blissful, loafer-less existence until she came along and showed me the light.

Anyway. Remember those red pants I just had to have this summer? They were fun, don’t get me wrong, but they’re just absolutely everywhere now, so it’s time for my pair to take a hiatus. My new love is this pretty pair in purple. At 70% off, it was an easy splurge, and they’re right at home in my closet. As it turns out, purple – especially a deep, rich purple like this – is considerably easier than red. It adds color and richness without screaming “Hey, you there!”, or straying too far from my beloved neutral palette. Neutrals are an easy pairing of course (I love this shade with navy, grey and camel), but purple also plays well with all sorts of patterns, which can get a little loud when paired with red.

If I’m honest, I’m still on the fence about those loafers, which usually means a return is imminent…but they’re awfully cute sitting in my closet.

What are you thinking about purple these days? Does it give you flashbacks from 3rd grade, or are you ready to give it another chance? And was anyone else as bad during those Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales as I was? Gluttony loves company!

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the first covet of spring

It hardly seems like it’s time…usually my first springtime covet doesn’t hit until at least mid-January, when everyone’s jamming Resort down my throat, and I remember I have no plans to be somewhere sunny during the depths of winter, and am bitter maybe a tiny bit jealous of all the women in the world buying hideously expensive swimsuits and matching sarongs for their month-long holiday in St. Barts.

Who, me? Digress? Hardly.

In any case, MiH just launched an exclusive resort capsule collection for Shopbop, and it’s awesome. Particularly these embroidered cutoffs. Ordinarily, I scoff at the $175 (okay, $187) cutoff short, but these are fantastic, utterly original, and – unlike more traditional varieties – definitely not something I could DIY with a $5 Goodwill budget and a few quality minutes with a pair of scissors.

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kate spade new york goes to bed…

Did you know? The always-covetable kate spade new york has launched a bedding line! And even more wonderful, the collection is available in Cal King (it’s the price I pay for having a super-tall hubs, but it pays off)! It’s excellent news for my boudoir, but terrible news for my wallet.

The whole collection is chock full of kate spade goodness – preppy, luxe, and inviting – but I have to admit that I think the sheets might be my favorite. And when you factor in that perpetual 20% off coupon (you have to love Bed, Bath and Beyond), the collection is actually really reasonable.

If you love these as much as I do, stay tuned in January…kate and I feel a giveaway coming on!

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trend to try: pattern mixing

Friends, I’m so excited to introduce a new Shopping’s My Cardio columnist to you: the exceedingly fabulous Kimberly Brandt, of Billede Design. Kim is a stylist extraordinaire, responsible for designing everything from magazine shoots to fashion lookbooks from some of my favorite local designers. She just radiates style in her personal life to, and – unlike me – is never afraid to take a fashion risk. So, I’ve asked her to pop in here from time to time, to help us stretch our style boundaries just a smidge. You’ll see her new “Trends to Try” column every two weeks in the new year, but she’s come up with a couple of columns now to pique your interest. I can hardly wait to see what’s next!


I’m so happy to be guest blogging today! So, I’m sure you have all spotted the ‘pattern mixing’ trend that’s absolutely everywhere right now. It’s fun and fashion-forward, but it can be a bit tricky to pull off, so I’m here today to share some of my favorite advice about how to make it work!

Pattern-mixing is a great way to update old pieces that are sitting in the back of your closet right now. Who doesn’t have stripes, plaids, and polka dots in their wardrobe? Give a good mix up, pair them together, and you have a whole new look! But how? How do you pair totally different patterns together, and how do you know what’s hot and what’s heinous? Well, you’re in luck! I have tips and examples to make it easy:

  • Stick with similar, or complementary colors.
  • Pair a soft pattern with a crisp pattern – ie, a floral with a stripe.
  • Match a round pattern with a sharp pattern – ie, dots with plaid.
  • Combine a loose pattern with a tight pattern – ie, a large-scale, graphic print with a micro print.
  • Remember that animal prints are a great first step. They work as a neutral and have endless pairing possibilities.
  • Don’t forget about silhouette and texture, which is often as powerful as pattern (think of chunky knits or bold tweeds)! Pair loose, flowing pieces with more tailored/structured choices for best results.
  • Above all, be bold! Confidence is the key to pulling off this look.

This look from Tucker is a great example of how complementary tones help pull together mixed patterns.

And these combinations from Karen Walker show how easy it is to pair a soft, loose pattern with a smaller, tighter pattern.

Images c/o Karen Walker, from

CARDIGAN New York always has the most beautiful lookbooks. This shot shows a loose, textural sweater paired with the tight, tonal pattern of the sequins to create a look that’s the perfect mix of cozy and sophisticated.

And last but not least, I went to the first of many Holiday Parties this last weekend and spotted both of these great real-life examples of pattern-mixing. The results were festive, fun and unexpected – just perfect!

Good luck applying this in your own wardrobe. Let us know how it goes!! –Kim Brandt

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