Thursday, December 4, 2014

Put Together Gift Picks, Fresh from Portland

'Til the season to shop. For some this is joyful, for others it's exactly the opposite. We can agree on one thing, however, shopping local is a good thing.

We live in a city rich with gift-giving options. There is no need to tap the retail giants for one single holiday purchase this year! I even send my out-of-town family to Portland shops when they ask what to get my kiddos. Powell's gift cards, gift certificates to local theater, and a Portland Art Museum membership are preferred to an Amazon purchase, no?

Here are my favorite gifts and gift purveyors in our fine city. Happy shopping (even if you hate it)!

1) Alma Chocolates

Innovative, beautiful, and delicious, Alma's creations are decadent works of art. I'm especially fond of the caramel sauces for hostess gifts.

2) Grayling Jewelry

Katy Kippen makes the most lovely, wearable things. From simple, everyday-wearable, to major attention-grabbing baubles, Grayling's line of outfit-making jewelry is outstanding.

3) Eliot's Adult Nut Butters

Local peanut butter with a decidedly grown-up spin. Delicious!

4) Betsy & Iya

Betsy & Iya is know for their signature line of jewelry, but it's their brick and mortar presence that excites me. Scads of outstanding gifts and inspired, fashionable goods beautifully curated and showcased in their NW Portland shop.

There is no better gift than fun socks, in my book. I'm especially smitten with the Bad Ass and Lightening Bolt socks. 

This outstanding Portland company makes fabulous, durable bags out of recycled materials from Cambodia. The process is innovative and the bags are really cool. Both my mom and mother-in-law have been happy recipients of Torrain totes! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

In Praise of Consignment Shopping

Fall is my favorite time of year to shop. It's also the most expensive. Boots, coats, well-crafted knits, and all of those layers, layers, layers can really add up.

I strongly believe that one should spend as much as one's budget allows this season - fall/winter clothing is a worthy investment. A good, well-made coat will last for years and will be worn over and over again. Same goes with boots, cashmere, and quality denim. One of my cashmere sweaters is almost 15 years old and is still a fashionable favorite.

Here's why I love consignment.
  • No matter your budget, consignment shopping is, hands down, the most ecological way to shop for high fashion. Period.
  • The hunt is FUN - face it, most of us have plenty of clothes in our closets (and we're not wearing half of it).
  • The obvious reason: paying a fraction of the retail price.
  • Selling clothes via consignment is a great way to cull the herd ... and make room for current styles.
I've had some serious shopping success at consignment stores. Witness:

Rozae Nichols blouse and Theory trousers. (Consigning Women and Here We Go Again.)
Seven jeans, Vince silk T, and Dolce & Gabbana blazer. (Consigning Women.)
Vince blouse, fabulous skirt by unknown designer, and Isola gold heels. (Consigning Women and Consign Design in Sun Valley, Idaho.)
That's right, it's sequined!
TSE sweater, Cabi skirt. (Consigning Women.)
Cashmere, yum.

Consignment shopping tips:
  • Know what you have in your closet and shop with a plan. Budgets are blown by buying things that need other things to make them wearable! 
  • Allow for an alterations budget to make your consignment purchase just perfect.
  • Build a wardrobe that will support the odd "must have" purchase: great fitting black pants, dark wash jeans, cardigans and jackets will leverage interesting finds.
  • Be patient and try to look at everything. Don't shop with time constraints.
  • When you find something great, ask what else that consignor has on the racks ... you likely share an aesthetic! 
Portland boasts a bevy of consignment shops, I like to haunt them all. Some of my favorites: Consigning Women, Modo, Consign Couture, Seams to Fit, and Here We Go Again

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Long-Awaited Skin Update

Long ago and far away - springtime - I started a new skin regime. Starting any kind of a regime is serious business for me. If I'm buying in with time and effort, I want results. (This is the only reason I continue to exercise.)

My friend Debbie Pierce is a Rodan & Fields representative and set me up with the line's Reverse regimen. (I blogged about this back in May.)

So here's the down and dirty, in bullet points, with my Rodan & Fields experience:
  • This is more time than I've ever spent on my face, and it feels good
  • I am a bad client because I only use the regime once a day (it's recommended twice a day after the initial ramp-up)
  • The look, feel and smell of this product is outstanding
  • The sunscreen is the best, hands-down, that I've ever used (and this fair-skinned lass has used the gamut)
  • My dark sun spots have faded, despite being in the sun all summer
  • I thought I wouldn't be able to keep up with this commitment, turns out I can!
  • The product is great under make-up 

Because the product is so lovely, I am not loathe to the regime aspect. Also - and this is big - I'm getting compliments on my skin! People notice! Is it the product or the fact that I'm taking better care of my skin than ever before? Likely both, but who cares, I like a compliment.

I've recently started my second box of the regime (the first set lasted just over 4 months). My bet is that I'll see even more significant results this time 'round. Particularly since I won't be tussling with the sun in our deep, dark NW winter.

I have attempted many "after" pictures to go with my before shots, but alas, the lighting is off somehow and I can't get a parallel image. Just know that I'm super-pleased with the results and enjoy this picture of my skin ... and a portion of my Halloween costume. Head to Debbie's site for before and after pictures that are worth a darn.

My headgear for an epic 80's aerobics instructor costume.

I'm a fan and Debbie gained a client. I'm going in for one more Reverse regime then move on to Refine. Who knows, I might even follow the instructions this time. More pictures to come after the New Year!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fall Wish List

Typical Oregon September, it's 87 degrees out with a post-apocalyptic wind lashing at my dried up plants. No matter - I'm ogling boots and coats!

There are trends-a-plenty featured in the fall mags and blogs ... most of which aren't super trendy. Yay! This will be a good fall to invest, unlike the fall when the hi-low skirt assaulted us.

Here's where I'm looking to plunk down some money:
1) Chunky-knit sweater - I'm from a ski town, so this kind of layer was, and remains, a staple. I'm loving the refined shapes and beautiful patterns that designers are showing.

This Helmut Lang sweater is my idea of perfect. Add a scarf and a slim jean ... don't take it off all winter!

2) Military inspired jacket - much like a denim jacket, this style is effortless and layer-able. It's the perfect topper for jeans and looks fresh with skirts and dresses, just add a chunky boot.

This style has a gorgeous drape and nice details in the rear-view too. (It's not so "grassy" green on the merchant site.) Elizabeth & James coat.

3) Plaid stuff - plaid is a big trend this year (I'd argue that it never went out of style) and it's great for print mixing and pairing with interesting textures. Plaid with polka dots? Yes please! I have a pair of plaid pants that I scored at a clothing exchange ... can't wait to trot them out soon!

Love the subtle color palette and easy drape of this Karaline top, available at Tumbleweed.

4) Just one more pair of boots ... I swear - or maybe two.

The zipper detail from the bottom of the heel to the top of the boot is incredible - find these at Halo.
I'll wear these with cozy tights and shorter skirts ... and that chunky sweater above! Vince.

5) Dresses - a good dress is hard to find. My philosophy is to snap 'em up when you find them - I'm always shopping for dresses! In the colder months, I look for styles that layer well with scarves and cardigans and for fabrics that won't cling to tights.

From one of my favorite dress makers, Isabel de Pedro. Find it at Physical Element.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Regime Change

All was going along fine with my anemic skin care regime. Sort of. My magnifying mirror is illuminating age spots and sun damage along with the errant chin hairs I'm chasing. The retinoid I'm using is a little harsh and leaves me scaly. I'm getting weird pimples. Enough.

A friend of mine from early improv days, Debbie Pierce, is a Rodan & Fields representative. Debbie is funny, smart, and discerning. She shares my skincare woes and found succor with the Rodan & Fields products.

(Full disclosure here (as is my way): Debbie has provided me with the Reverse collection of skincare. I'll be lending a hand in Debbie's closet soon. I'm not advertising for Debbie or the company. I'll give an unvarnished review of this product.)

You should totally go see the befores and afters at the Rodan & Fields site. AMAZING.

My new routine ...

I've never had a skin routine with so many steps. It's a challenge for me and the products: I'd better stick with it and the products had better deliver. (The product will only deliver if I stick with it ... that old song and dance!)

I'll be posting periodic updates on my Facebook page. And when the last drop of product is squeezed from its tube I'll share my very own before and after pictures.