Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding and an outfit tribute


America may be a little swept away with the romance of a princess and a Royal Wedding, but you can’t deny the magnitude of the world getting a new princess, actually a Duchess of Cambridge to be correct, and of history in the making. I donned a British-inspired outfit today, a mini-homage to the event. And I, like everyone else, set out to find every image and detail about the wedding I could. I absolutely loved Kate's McQueen dress with its long-sleeve lace and fitted sweetheart bodice. Westminster Abbey looked amazing and springy with its greenery. I have never seen such a long aisle! What a hike it must have been to walk down! Most importantly The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge looked cool and confident as they rode away in their horse-drawn carriage.

As predictable as it is, I am infatuated with the details of the day and of the historical significance of each choice of ceremony. And if you too are so interested, I have rounded up some of the more interesting facts that I could find—well I guess it depends on what you think is interesting. I am sure more little facts and anecdotes will leak out over time, but here are some I found today:

  • At the lunchtime reception guests were served a variety of canapés. Of the tastier sounding variety were:
Cornish Crab Salad on Lemon Blini
Pressed Duck Terrine with Fruit Chutney
Roulade of Goats Cheese with Caramelised Walnuts
Scottish Smoked Salmon Rose on Beetroot Blini
Poached Asparagus spears with Hollandaise Sauce for Dipping

The stranger varieties included:
Quails Eggs with Celery Salt
Scottish Langoustines with Lemon Mayonnaise Pressed Confit of Pork Belly with Crayfish and Crackling
  • Each of the 17 different flower designs on the official wedding cake has their own individual meaning according to the Language of Flowers. Some include:
White Rose - National symbol of England
Daffodil – National symbol of Wales, new beginnings
Shamrock – National symbol of Ireland
Thistle – National symbol of Scotland
Acorns, Oak Leaf – Strength, endurance
Myrtle – Love
Ivy – Wedded Love, Marriage
Lily-of-the-Valley – Sweetness, Humility
Rose (Bridal) – Happiness, Love.
Sweet William – Grant me one smile

  • Excerpt from the sermon:
““Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today…Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.” – Read the Bishop of London’s full sermon here.  And the prayer written by Kate and William here.
  • The wedding dress, designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, was a combination of French Chantilly lace and English Cluny lace hand-worked in the Irish Carrickmacross needlework tradition. The wedding shoes were hand-made by the team at Alexander McQueen and are made of ivory duchesse satin with lace hand-embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework.
  • The bouquet contains stems from a myrtle planted at Osborne House, Isle of Wight, by Queen Victoria in 1845, and a sprig from a plant grown from the myrtle used in The Queen’s wedding bouquet of 1947.
  • Guests of note:
Mr. Ian Thorpe
Australian Prince William met the Olympic swimmer, Ian Thorpe, on a visit to Australia in 2010. The Prince has since supported Mr. Thorpe's charitable organisation Ian Thorpe's Fountain for Youth, which focuses on improving health and education for children.

Sir Elton John
He performed at the funeral of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

Mr. and Mrs. David Beckham
Prince William, as President of the Football Association, has met footballer David Beckham on a number of occasions. They recently worked together as Ambassadors of England's 2018 World Cup Bid.

Mr. Guy Ritchie
Guy Ritchie is a friend of Prince William and Miss Middleton.

Miss Joss Stone
She performed at the Concert for Diana at Wembley in 2007 and at City Salute in 2008.

Mr. Mario Testino
Photographer Mario Testino took Prince William and Miss Middleton's official portrait photographs to mark their engagement.

  • The ring has been fashioned from a piece of Welsh gold that was given to Prince William by The Queen shortly after the engagement was announced. There was only one ring, in accordance with the Couple's wishes. Wartski, the ring designer, is a family jeweler founded in 1865. Its first establishment was in Bangor and later the business moved to the seaside resort of Llandudno.
  • There were no imported flowers, only English flowers and plant material. (Discovered after this post) As I suspected from watching it on TV, there were eight 20ft-high trees, six English Field Maples, and two Hornbeams in Westminster Abbey.
  • In an apparently unscripted moment of the day, The Duke and Ducchess took a ride in Prince Charle's convertible Aston Martin Volante DB6 MKII in Seychelles blue to wave at the crowds of fans.
More facts discovered after this post:
  • Kate was to follow in Princess Diana's footsteps and leave out "obey" in her wedding vows. Instead, she'll say she will "love, comfort, honor and keep" William.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Scarving techniques



While browsing the Anthropologie sale section online—a guilty and probably too frequent pleasure of mine—I was inspired by the styling of these product shots for this scarve. I am pretty familiar with most "scarving techniques", but quite honestly, these styles just never occurred to me. With the rise in popularity of the 70s, the scarve only seems like a natural accessory to compliment those styles. 

I thought these "How to tie a scarve" sketches were pretty charming. There are many more ways than I imagined to tie a scarve. You would be surprised.


Lastly, American Apparel has started carrying vintage silk scarves ranging from $18 to $75. I would snatch up either the sailboat print for something cute and nautical, the J print for the vibrant blue and red, or this vintage YSL scarve for something a little more sophisticated.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Make sure you vote!

See the poll above? If you would like to participate in Book Club, please vote for a book you would like to read for the month of May.

Thanks!

Sincerely,

The Cosmopolitan Clevelander

P.S. You do not have to reside in Cleveland to participate. All of the discussion will be done in the comments. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Narcisi Winery


When it comes to wine, I would say my knowledge falls somewhere between Miles and Jack from the movie Sideways. I don't know about the different types of grapes used to make different wines or the importance of the soil from which the grapes grow or even how to properly examine a wine based on its look, color and taste. However, I do know that I enjoy dry reds, dry whites, and occasionally a sweet white, such as a Riesling. And my typical response to any wine I like is very Jack-esque: Tastes pretty good to me. So I will keep my review of the Narcisi Winery in Gibsonia, PA very basic.

The winery is located about 30 minutes from Pittsburgh and 2 hours from Cleveland on 10 acres of land in the Deer Creek Valley. Although we were not able to take advantage of it due to rainy weather, the property features a charming patio and live entertainment through the summer months.

Upon entering the rustic Italian building, you are greeted by a warm staff and the tasting room, which features a 30-foot copper top bar made of crotch wood cherry. Beginners are definitely welcome as a complimentary wine tasting allows you to taste up to 5 different wines. Out of the dry reds I tried the: Syrah 2008, Stella 2008, Cabernet Franc 2009, and Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. Out of the dry whites, my favorite was the Traminnette 2008. For dinner, I chose my favorite from the tasting, the Cabernet Sauvignon.

For dinner, I had the pecan crusted shrimp and grits. It seemed like a good pairing. Out of our group, other dishes included Veal Marsala, Lobster Mac n Cheese, and Tuscan flat bread—from what I could remember. Overall I thought both the food and wines were very good, and I can't wait to experience the added ambiance of sitting outside during a balmy summer night. Tours of the winery are also available.

Narcisi Winery 
724-444-474
4578 Gibsonia Road 
Gibsonia, PA 15044

Friday, April 22, 2011

F.C. Gundlach

As soon as I came across the German photographer, F.C. Gundlach I was immediately inspired by his fashion shots. That is probably because a great number of his works were of 50s and 60s fashion and the 60s, especially, is one of my favorite decades for fashion. According to his Foundation website, "F.C. Gundlach is regarded as the most important fashion photographer of West Germany’s early post-war period." He was able to document the transition of fashion from Haute Couture to Prête à Porter aka Ready to Wear. I love the clothing from that era, the black and white images, and the composition of each photo. Doesn't the model in the last image look a little bit like Emma Stone with her blond hair (which I love by the way)?





Thursday, April 21, 2011

70s prep

Preppy is a style that never seems to go out of style. Some people reference its influence in the 80s and 60s, but in today's outfit post I am channeling a 70s preppy look. This look was pretty easy to create using things I already had in my wardrobe. I tucked my blue and white striped button down preppy staple into these high-waist flares to be true to form. After seeing hundreds of Ralph Lauren ads the belt just seemed like a necessary addition as well as these silver lattice earrings. The shape of my purse probably resembles something from the 70s but the color is an updated detail that I think stands out nicely against the rest of the blue and brown palette. The thing I like most about this look is that it looks put together but not too dressy for a relaxed girl's night out consisting of Mexican food, margaritas, and gossip. 
Marshalls blouse; Gap jeans and belt; H&M earrings; Candies via Kohl's nude pumps; Shell bracelet (gift)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Club and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

(Photo via Unabashedly Prep)

For a while now, it has been my goal to read more. However, I have fallen short of that goal for several reasons: a) I am usually wiped out after work and end up zoning out in front of the TV, b) I browse my favorite blogs instead or, c) I work on this blog.

So I thought, why not try to incorporate more of the books I read on the blog. I clearly can’t hold myself accountable so I was hoping you could by joining me in a monthly feature called Book Club. I would like to select a book to read every month, and I would like to invite you along for the challenge. Hopefully we can all hold each other accountable. We can take it easy at first because we all know how hard it is to get started. So don’t worry, you won’t be voted off the island if life takes over and you don’t finish within the span of a month. Let’s take baby steps. I would really just love to start a dialogue on good books.

So please let me know if you would be interested and what kind of books you would like to read. Personally, I have wanted to read Freedom by Jonathan Franzen for a while. What do think?


To start things off with a bang, I thought I’d share with you my most recent obsession: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I started listening to these books on CD for my long commute to work and frequent trips out of town to see the boy. He was the one to recommend this series to me.

This series is nothing new. I was, as usual, late to catch on. If you haven’t read the books, you may be familiar with the controversy surrounding them. The fourth book was left unfinished by the Swedish journalist and author Stieg Larsson who suffered an untimely death. Currently, his girlfriend and established life partner has in her possession the fourth book. However, because they were not married only his family was left with anything from his estate. Right now the girlfriend and his family are battling over the rights.

However incomplete the series may be, it is definitely still worth reading. When I started the first book, I was extremely skeptical because I generally don’t enjoy books that fall under the mystery/thriller genre. Pretty soon into the first book the reader is introduced to the fact that there are going to be some very dark moments and that the villains are of the most ruthless and disgusting variety. Certain scenes almost caused me to stop reading because I was so turned off, but I was encouraged to keep reading. Like any good writer, Larrson keeps you guessing. As I soon found out, the twists and turns despite the dark nature of the content, keep you hooked to the point of obsession. I rarely feel this enthralled by a story line. I found myself sitting in my car long after I had arrived somewhere to keep listening.

What I love most about the series are all of the female heroines you encounter. The main character, Lisbeth Salander, is described as antisocial, pale, anorexic looking, and covered in tattoos and piercings. Part of the ploy of her look is that society as a whole underestimates her. As a reader you will be gratified time after time by her abilities and resourcefulness.

The theme of the series throughout deals with violence against women, hence the Swedish title of the first book: Men Who Hate Women. Larrson addresses and pinpoints the ability of men to get away with mistreating and essentially disregarding women, an occurrence that you quickly realize is very plausible in today's society. The message is expressed very strongly in all three books.

That is perhaps why you end up loving, but also hating the character of Mikael Blomkvist. He is depicted as a womanizing journalist, but at the same time I believe he is meant to represent the polar opposite of the villains as he is described by a number of the female characters as someone who makes them feel safe and protected. He holds the more progressive view of relationships that not everyone is meant to be with one person forever and ever, but that often times comes off as just being noncommittal. I have to say that his relations seem Soap Operaish at times, but they don't do harm to the story line.

I don't want to give away too much plot detail as it would ruin the experience for you, but as nerdy as it sounds, I haven’t been this obsessed with a series since Harry Potter. I would highly highly recommend them. These books would be perfect beach reads this summer. If you have read the books or plan on reading the books please let me know in the comments. I would love to discuss! Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A new colorblocking strategy

After my recent foray into color blocking using two of the brightest items in my closet, I thought I'd give your eyes a break and do some color pairings that were a little more my speed: navy blue, fuchsia, and green. One thing I wanted to do this time around was add something that would break up the colors such as this striped top. Also, the color blocking doesn't have to be limited to just the clothes; you can achieve it just as well with accessories such as this bright green purse. I topped it all off with gold jewelry. These peacock earrings from Forever 21 were chump change but look like they are vintage. And I have to mention that I love how the delicate material of this skirt looks with the structure of this blazer. How do you colorblock?
Thrifted Evan Picone blazer; Gap skirt; Ralph Lauren outlet top; Nine West shoes and purse; Forever 21 earrings; Vintage bracelet (gift)


Monday, April 18, 2011

Styling inspiration: Land's End Canvas

While browsing the increasingly cute Land's End Canvas Collection, I noticed how perfectly the stylists at Land's End executed that laid-back-but-chic French girl look. It's the partially untucked oxford, haphazardly tied scarf, and tousled ponytail that when combined create this darling look. I will certainly be trying to copy this some time soon as well as lusting after this skirt and this sweater. What ads have your creative stylist juices flowing?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Country bumpkin

I call this the Emersonmade look. No other girl could possibly make country touches like gingham and flower pins, photographed on her actual farm no less, look so cool. You can't deny that her style vision has been influential in the blog world. People are completely smitten, for good reason, with the simple, no fuss designs. Sometimes you just need a good skirt with no bells and whistles to wear to work or a bridal shower or whatever.

I imagine, but I can't say for sure, that she started designing clothes because there is an unmet need in the marketplace. That is simple, high-quality, well-designed clothes that still feel stylish and not boring. And a clothing line with enough restraint not to throw ruffles, stripes, and rhinestones all at one piece, but to let a piece stand alone on its good structure. I don't know how many times I have walked into a store and can't find anything I like because the embellishment is just too much, or the color is too weird, or it the material is just too flimsy.

Do you ever have a vision in your head of exactly what you want, but you can't find it in stores? That happens to me a lot. I think I have  made a pretty good case for saving some of the money I tend to spend on "cheap" clothes, and invest in a sewing machine.  Who's with me?
C/O Jack Wills button down; H&M flower pin; Gap skirt (on major clearance); Vintage, thrifted Ann Taylor loafers, Ray Ban Wayfarers

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My librarian sweater vest

This sweater vest has been in my closet since my days as a sales associate at the Loft. That was my part time gig in college for a little while, back when it was called Ann Taylor Loft. You better believe I enjoyed the discount! It has this professor/librarian look that I totally dig. Layered over my knee-length skirt (also a long-time wardrobe staple) and paired with these wine-colored boots, it also reminded me of the longer hemlines and slouchy boots of the 70s.

On another note, I hoped you could give me some blog advice. I have been thinking of switching platforms. I like Blogger, but I wish I could reply to comments similar to how Disqus works on tumblr. Does anyone work on tumblr and have any opinions on it? And does anyone know if replying to comments can be somehow installed in blogger? I would like to have that functionality for some posts I have planned. I would really appreciate your input! Thanks!
Loft sweater; NY&Co blouse; Skirt (gift from grandma); Franco Sarto boots via Nordstrom; J.Crew jewelry; Drug store headband
I feel like I have massive strength in my sweater vest. Enough strength to push over this tree.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ode to Kate Spade

Hopefully this doesn't come off as supercilious, but this look makes me think of a Kate Spade ad. I can't say that I was directly thinking of Kate Spade when I put this outfit together, but the classic black pants and heels with the bright pop of color and stripes are undoubtedly similar to the playful chic balance that Kate Spade strikes. I absolutely adore the ruffle collar of this blouse, and up until this point, I had a hard time pairing it with the cardigans in my closet because they were either cropped or not meant to be worn with a long sleeve shirt. Not to mention the blouse is loose fitting so it was hard to layer something over it. I had originally purchased this blouse on major clearance from Gap and didn't really think of its drawbacks. This peach cardigan with plenty of room for layering was the perfect match! I guess that just means that you can never have too many cardigans.
NY&Co. cardigan; Gap blouse; James Jeans Twiggy Black Cat jeggings; Nine West shoes; J.Crew jewelry; Worthington pearl earrings
P.S. Thanks for all of the love yesterday on my 1,000 post! 


Monday, April 11, 2011

More trouser pants and my 1000th post!

I told you I wasn't done with these pants. These definitely have a more appealing look when worn with a loose sweater that covers the high waist and exaggerated hip area. Not to mention, the rust with navy blue is a new favorite color combination of mine. A big statement necklace and some high heels dress it up for work. Oh, and this is my 1,000th post by the way. So, that's kind of cool.
Pendleton Wool sweater (Via the Ohio Knitting Mills); Sears pants; Candies via Kohl's pumps; BR necklace; J.Crew bracelet

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Black bean burger

I used to love frozen veggie burgers. They were easy, not as fatty as red meat, and inexpensive. The only problem was that I hated how—just like other processed foods—the sodium was so high. So I decided to take a stab at making my own black bean burgers with this recipe. I was slightly intimidated about making my own black bean burgers as I didn't know what it would involve. When I read that the hardest step would be mashing the black beans with a fork, I knew that this was the recipe for me. And in terms of expense, I already had most of the spices and ingredients already. I thought it was just as good if not better than the frozen stuff, and definitely worth making myself. Oh and I made these sweet potato fries too. I can elaborate on those another time.

Ingredients:
* 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
* 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
* 1/2 onion, cut into wedges
* 3 cloves garlic, peeled
* 1 egg
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1 tablespoon cumin
* 1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce
* 1/2 cup bread crumbs

Directions

1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.
6. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's electric

With all of the talk about colors lately, I thought I'd take a stab at mixing and matching. I was completely inspired by Jentine of My edit who made me aware of the powerful color combo sitting in my closet waiting to be worn. I honestly didn't think this combo of colors would be so electrifyingly bright. At work people were blocking their eyes as I walked past them in our bland beige office. What I didn't realize before I tried this trend was how much one color really plays off the other. The colors combined make each other look much brighter. I wish I would have had one more neutral piece to tone down the brightness of this outfit.

I was going to wear this for the Dressed event I talked about earlier in the week. It was a mildly warm day—around 50 degrees—when all of the sudden we got a freak snow storm. This outfit no longer seemed appropriate so I changed into the gray top I was wearing and my Hunter Wellingtons. See what I mean about spring in Cleveland?
Thrifted top; H&M pants; BR necklace; Candies via Kohl's shoes

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Be bold

I love seeing the bold, bright colors that originated from the Spring 2011 runways on blogs and in stores. Prada was one of my favorite examples of this employing color blocking techniques, stripes, and amazing jungle prints. According to Style.com, the designer was channeling Jazz Age Superwoman Josephine Baker. What better role model to guide you as you pair bright pink with green and black stripes? That's another thing I love about stripes this year. They aren't just coming in the form of the typical blue and white striped nautical theme. They are in black and blue and green and bright pink. Like Miucca Prada said, "It's time to be bold." The bright colors feel to me like walking, breathing pop art A la Andy Warhol.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dressed viewing and Mad About Fashion After Party


I don't mean to brag but the Cleveland International Film Festival is kind of a big deal. As the name implies, the festival brings movies from all over the world to local theaters in Cleveland. It's basically 10 days of all mediums of film from documentaries to features. They even showed the ever-popular Bill Cunningham New York, which I unfortunately had to miss. Don't worry. I'm adding it to my Netflix queue as soon as humanly possible. Another documentary of particular interest was "Dressed", the true story of Nary Manivong, a once homeless Columbus native who sets out to present his designs at New York Fashion Week. The peaks and valleys of his experience were documented by Director David Swajeski.

(Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot)

His flirty yet sophisticated style attracted me right away. From his spring 2009 line, I wish I could have bought the ruffle floral print dress, smart shorts and graphic blouse. Moving on to bigger and better things, he is teaming up with Ally Hilfiger to create the line NAHM, which stands for the duo's initials. This line will be available through select retailers in cities including New York and internationally. An online shop will open in September. His newest creations feature a much more edgy and dark style. And of course the Cleveland bloggers were out in style for the screening and after party...

Dina from Dina's Days, Me, Nary, and Kim from Smitten in Cleveland smile for the camera at the Mad About Fashion after party.
(Me, Director David Swajeski, founder of Fashion Week Cleveland Donald Shingler, and Dina)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

An object of beauty


I am currently enjoying one of my Christmas gifts, "An Object of Beauty" by Steve Martin. It's the story of a girl fresh out of college navigating the art world of New York City from inside the walls of Sotheby's. You are given the insiders view you always wanted of the glamorous life of art buyers and sellers. An educational anecdote about every piece is like a bonus as well as images of the actual pieces included in the pages. It's like Art History class without the required memorization of dates. The main character eventually becomes fascinated, almost obsessed, with buying and owning a few extravagantly expensive paintings herself. It's like the game you play after walking the galleries of an art museum, "Which one would you take home?", but for real.

Personally, I like owning recreations of some of my favorite pieces. From trips to art museums in different cities, I have picked up small recreations of Monet and Klimt—two of my favorite artists. However, sometimes these small printed recreations lack something—a hand touch. So when I was recently contacted by CheapOilPainting.com, I was more than excited to talk about their services. Their Oil Painting Reproductions are guaranteed to be painted 100% by hand. Currently, readers of the Cosmopolitan Clevelander can get 15% off a purchase by using the code SAVE15. If you have a room that needs some brightening or an empty wall that needs filling, I hope you can take advantage of this offer. As you browse the selection, please feel free to let me know: "Which one would you take home?" Here are some of my favorites:



Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post.