There's a lot of good stuff in this magazine!

I was psyched when editor Carolyn Worthington of Healthy Aging magazine asked my to write the spring fashion feature for her magazine.  It would feature the Carlisle, Per Se and Per Se White Label collections that I work with every day.  These clothes marry well with my favorite theme, travel + style. It's fashion easy to love. The biggest problem my clients are having this season? Deciding what not to buy.

What I didn't anticipate was how much I was going to enjoy the rest of the magazine once it was published.  First, Sheryl Crow is on the cover.  I'm a fan.  Then there's an article on castles including the one in Downton Abby. I'm a ridiculous fan.  There's an article about a couple who reinvented themselves, horsey style.  Plus lots of food, wine and recipes and, oh, something on tai chi...

Check out Healthy Aging here.

Hands Turned On

I'm sure you can relate to being lost in a foreign country and having trouble deciding if you’re excited, or terrified! There is a perfect T-shirt out there that shows and says just what to do–breath!  Hands Turned On has fitted Ts that say things like “Excitement Without Breath is Fear, “ “Ten Seconds To Center” and “Practice Extreme Gratitude.” These soft cotton tops come in sherbet colors and have handprints on them, which display where to put your own hands to practice self healing (or self calming) techniques. The shirts come with a nifty hangtag that guides you in performing energy healing/breathing practices that are unique to each shirt.
Renowned energy medicine healer Dr. Ann Marie Chiasson wanted to launch a product that would give customers easy access to the use of energy medicine anywhere! The shirts allow the wearer to jump into a healing practice without going to a workshop, class, healer or clinician. Besides that, they look cool, travel well, feel good on and spread a great message. The shirts are available online at the company’s website,

A Fashion Icon in Taos, NM, Really!

My Facebook Wall is a buzz with Liz comments, but tonight I'm inspired to write about another fashion icon. Not as flashy or famous as Liz, she preferred turquoise to diamonds. She was blond, a model, artist and serious collector. Her treasure was Indian blankets and Southwestern jewelry. I discovered her while in Taos, New Mexico. Her name? Millicent Rogers.

Sometimes it's a stretch to "find fashion" while traveling. I mean not every place is, well, fashionable and I've got to say; I was thinking that might be true of Taos. I was wrong. Millicent's brand of Park Avenue meets Pueblo is the original bohemian chic and it was in Taos that she developed this style. What's more an entire museum was founded to appreciate the Native American art she lived with, commissioned and collected.

The Millicent Rogers Museum is an easy "to do" on your list of cool places to check out while in Taos. One look at Rogers' jewelry collection will have you grabbing for arrant turquoise in your own jewelry stash and donning huaraches. Channel Millicent and add pearl earrings. Besides the ode to Millicent gallery, there is plenty of serious Northern New Mexican art, rich in colors and textures, to center your psyche in Taos valley.

And lets face it; the real treat of any museum is often the STORE! In our little group was Richard Kessler of the Kessler hotel group. He honed in on the estate pieces of R.C. Gorman, a notable and recognizable Southwestern artist. I particularly liked a square turquoise ring set in gold Kessler picked out. Gold with turquoise is a new combination to me and I like it!

Kessler's good taste and passion for art and design was also evident (lavishly so) at the El Monte Sagrado where I stayed. The challenge with a "destination" hotel, "experiential," to use one of Kessler's word, is to make it authentic, but not entirely so. El Monte Sagrado's "art direction" hit the right chord, just enough country Taos twang but with the luxuriousness of an orchestra back up. I liked it!

A Coat, Dad and Stockholm

My Dad liked clothes and he liked to travel. He wasn’t a nut about “dressing.” It came as second nature to him and I think most of the time he probably didn’t think too much about it. He had some nice Brioni suits, a cool gardening/fishing hat and some lovely ties.

He once told a story of leaving a cashmere sports coat at a restaurant in Stockholm, a city he was very fond of. Several years later, he returned to the same restaurant and surprisingly, they still had his coat. For him this said everything there was to say about the Swedes and their fastidiousness, their reliability and organization. Being Italian, and traveling to Italy often, where they have made an art of everything including nonchalance, the buttoned-up Swedes made an impact on my Dad.

He really was a wonderful combination of the two extremes. Yes, easygoing with a casual manner, but also very driven and ambitious.

Stockholm seems to be on the travel radar these days. The recent wedding of Crown Princess Victoria to “commoner” Daniel Westling AND the book, soon-to-be movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson, has made Stockholm fodder for several travel writers/reporters/bloggers. Check out Mary Alice Kelloggs piece in Everett Potters’s Travel Report. It makes you want to go there now, even if you haven't left something behind!

Above photo; Dr. Edward Arquilla (Center)
Early '60s, Dad hadn't quite caught on to the thin ties.

Fashion '51

I’ve been working on an interesting project these days; collecting imagery for a potential pilot that takes place in 1951. I’ve been asked to explore fashion in that time period to position the “look” of the show. The first several episodes will take place in both Sicily and Washington DC. So I’ve also had to consider the regional differences between, say, New York and DC and Sicily and Rome.

Researching has brought me to the New York Public Library’s Picture Collection– I know, old school (admittedly, I did some internet hunting too). I wasn’t even sure if the Manhattan branch still had their Picture Collection, but they do and it was a eureka moment for this project. The Picture Collection is a rather large section of the library on 5th and 41st that has cataloged images (known in the industry as “swipe”) into a vast number of subjects. Picture in the Picture Collection would-be or established fashion designers, illustrators, set decorators, photographers and any number of other patrons in search of visuals.

Remarkably, as I’m swimming in this time period, the indomitable Grace Coddington of Vogue did an amazing story on fashion in the 1950s using the fall collections entitled, Magnificent Obsession. Check it out.

I’ve included some of my favorite images for amusement or inspiration. Enjoy.

So that, amongst MANY other things, is what I’ve been up to since I last posted.


Cino De Mayo!!

For fashion, celebrate Cino De Mayo and dress bohemian chic! Here's some inspirational photos! All scanned from Amanda Brooks's great style book, I Love Your Style; How to Define and Refine Your Personal Style. This is a good book from the style genre. Worth having in your STYLE library. Got one of those?

For travel check out Max Hartshorne's (my editor from GoNOMAD) award winning story, Ecotourism in Cancun; Wilder than Expected.

Part Two: Peace Pups Dogsledding

It was time to scooter and Tom was going first...

A word about the dog’s need to run: Ken explained that Siberian Huskies are northern transport dogs originally bread to pull sleds and have adapted to extremely cold temperatures. Their recall in not good. If they take off, they may not come back, “This is probably not the dog you’d want to have for a pet and leave the door open.” said Ken. All well and good, but this made me think that maybe we’d loose Tom and the dog and they’d both be hunting for food in the wilderness of Vermont in their own rendition of “Into the Wild.”

During our test drive of the scooters, we could tell that they were very sturdy and easy to handle (comforting). Ken rigged a dog to Tom’s scooter and to his and they were absolutely raring to go! At the same time, the other dogs went crazy barking and caring on; clearly they wanted to go too! Eager to take off, the dogs obeyed Ken’s command and off they went! As they scooted through a big open field, Tom looked liked he was perfectly at ease, sort of like taking his scooter to the commuter train each morning, but with a dog pulling!

Next it was Isabella’s and then my turn. We agreed that the scariest or most challenging part of dog scootering is the moment before the dog takes off. Managing the dog’s need for speed, its direction and actual pulling was easy enough and if you could relax into it, it was great fun. It was the getting ready to go that psyched us out a bit.

The carting is really cool too. Mainly because you can sit back and let Ken handle the dogs, no performance pressure! I was amazed at how far in front of the cart the dogs extend. The kids had only five dogs pulling and yet they seemed to be on a line extending at least eight yards ahead. Imagine those big time mushers with 16 dogs pulling the sled! The whole affair would be about a city block long!

This was indeed a once in a lifetime experience. Being around that many Huskies, learning about their habits and nature, seeing Ken’s expertise in handling the dogs and the gear, and finally having the dogs actually “transport” you, was really something special. Another great thing to do in Stowe, “on the shoulder.”

Stratton Mountain Just Got Cooler

It’s always fun to see a celebrity when you’re out and about. Suddenly your grocery store gets way cooler, the restaurant you’re at becomes “the place to be” or that boutique you popped into is now tres fab. This past weekend we were skiing at Stratton Mountain and we saw Nina Garcia. She’s the savvy judge on Project Runway, formerly on Bravo, now it’s on Lifetime. Credit for spotting her in the base lodge amongst the throngs, goes to Jan Liverance, a Project Runway devotee, my friend, and Creative Director of At Peace Media. Jan and I managed to rubber neck in Nina’s direction in an effort to fully check her out unobtrusively, well sort of… My daughter kept staring trying to figure out whom I was whispering/mouthing about almost ruining our cover.

Nina was sporting (and I know you care) a mat silver Bogner jacket with black stretch pants that, we think, tucked into her boots. It’s silly but of course Stratton Mountain and skiing Vermont became that much cooler after seeing Nina! Jan has been skiiing at Stratton since the early 80s when the Stratton Mountain Boys, aka, the Austrian ski instructors, provided live musical entertainment on weekends in the bar of the base lounge! Jan and her partner were great guides to this rather large size (by east coast standards) mountain. Having a guide to “introduce” you to the mountain alleviates the stress you feel in trying to navigate your way through what could potentially be very scary terrain, terrifying yourself and your family!

I’m told that Martin Luther King weekend is the busiest ski weekend of the winter. Stratton was packed but its high speed, multi seat lifts did the job of moving the crowd up the mountain fairly quickly. While there were a few bottlenecks as runs converged, several times during the weekend we found ourselves alone on a run. If they remake the song, “These are a few of my favorite things,” to “These are a few of my favorite things–skiing,” being alone (with your group) on a run should be in the chorus. The rest of the song should about the romance of winter recreating at its best; the great outdoors, plenty of snow, comfortable temperature, beautiful views, sounds of swishing and laughter and sipping hot cocoa.

Vicenza: the city of Palladio

MyStylist-Travel Advisory

Where to go:

Located in the center of the Veneto Region, Vicenza is an architectural dream-scape. Connect with a narrative history of architecture at its finest. Take in that which is Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-classic and more. This "theater-city" is a must on anyones itinerary exploring the region.

What to do:

Get a guide. Ours was Monica Facchini. Monica and her colleagues will customize a tour for a group from one to 50 people. The tour may encompass Vincenz's "Pallidio" city center, as well as several of the 16 Palladian Villas in the Vicenza provence.

The breathtaking Teatro Olimpico is a must see. This is the first modern public theatre built and used during the Renaissance. It screams, Shakespeare. Palladio's design direction was to build a theater in the "Roman Style." Mission accomplished, and how! Commissioned by the Accademia Olimpica in 1555, an organization which still meets in the theater, Oedipus Rex is one of many plays you can see at Teatro Olimpico today (from Spring to Autumn, plan ahead).

Palladio did not live to see his full design executed, the architect, Vincenzo Scamozzi realized the Olimpico dream. Scamozzi's use of architectural perspective, creating the illusion of seemingly endless streets on the stage is extraordinary. As is his use of trompe l'oeil throughout the building.

Ever conscious of budgetary constraints, Palladio requested that all statuary to be made from stucco. Napoleon had a mind to rip them off, but was dissuaded when he found out they were not real marble. Sometimes it pays to watch your lira.

What to wear:

As I mentioned in older posts. Italian women are fashionable and sexy. Live your Sophia Loren fantasy, put on a Ferragamo scarf, grab a Furla bag, drape on some gold*, wear a push up bra and let Vicenza celebrate your architecture. (But wear comfortable shoes!)

*Note: Vicenza is a leading European gold industrial area with over 1,200 firms crafting traditional to modern designs...all in gold...hum...

Looking Right from Morning to Night

Okay, there has been tons of stuff written about how to go from a morning to evening look without actually changing clothes. Weirdly, it's a subject that fascinates me. I'm going to Italy for GoNOMAD next week. It's a press trip hosted by the Italian Tourist Board. The itinerary looks delicious, both from a culinary and cultural prospective. It says "no jeans." Anyone who knows me will understand just how psyched I am about this mandate. Meanwhile, I imagine most of my fellow journalist traveling, groaning.

We'll be moving around a lot–Venice, Verona and Padova and we mostly will not be able to go back to the hotel to change into "evening attire." So here's my strategy: I clipped the article, Surviving a Grueling Work Day With Style, and I'm following it like the holy grail. The article, by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, is an interview with Nina Garcia who is both Marie Claire's Fashion Director and a judge on "Project Runway." The gist is to start with a layered outfit and "unpeel" as the day and evening wears on. Do the exact opposite with makeup–add more for night. The article is bursting with other tips and tricks and is worth archiving! Check it out.

If any of you have ideas about day to evening, or can share some how tos, post a comment. We all want to know!

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

Every pedicure should come with wine.

At the GrapeSeed Spa, The Gals and I were treated to the soak, scrub and message of a traditional pedicure, but with wine and the surrounding deluxe spa and resort that is part of South Coast's Winery, we were transported, giddy really, with t
hat you're here now, pinch yourself feeling.

Post pedi, we hustled over via complimentary golf cart to dive into a wine tour that made me feel like I should go to the back of the class. If we had
been given a test
on wine making after the tour, I would have failed, sadly I think Brigitte would have too, but we would have copied off Jody who spent several years working in the spirits industry. What are friends for?

Our guide was in a hurry, she spoke too fast and much of the information was lost on me. However, she redeemed herself with the tasting that followed the actual tour. We sat down, alfresco, to a lovely table set with cheese plate and several wine glasses. Overlooking the vineyards, the scene fulfilled our romantic fantasies of a Southern California wine dynasty. Fantasy example: Hopping on the back of a Steve McQueen dude's dirt bike for a quick "tour" of the "grapes," hair blowing, the smell of fertile soil... I'm getting away from
myself. In reality, we were sitting with a very sweet gay couple.

The take-away from the tasting was twofold. 1) South Coast Winery is on the map as a premier winemaker in California. They have won, for the last two years, Southern California's Winery Of The Year. 2) The wines, to our taste buds, were outstanding! And we learned just how to taste them, what they would be good paired with, and why we should come back to this winery again and again.

• To taste: See, swirl, smell and savior
- Once it's poured, tilt the glass, hold it up and look at the color
- Swirl the glass. This allows air to "open up" the taste
- Smell, "Go ahead stick your nose right down in the glass."
- Savior, "Suck it in, swish it in your mouth and swallow."

• Why come back: Too many reasons to name here, but below are a few...
- The Villas amongst the grapes is just dreamy.
- "The Club" has activities and deals to take advantage of in person or
from a distance.
- In September and October, you can tap into your inner earth mama and actually pick grapes.
- The GrapeSeed Spa (mentioned above)–luxuriate.
- The Vineyard Rose restaurant. Savior wine and food at this mediterranean restaurant.
You'll appreciate the Tuscan ambiance. Have the antipasti, for sure!
- Romance, with The Gals, well and good, but this place screams for a romantic getaway.

Top Left; GrapeSeed Spa outdoor lounge
Middle Left; Us, tasting
Lower Right; Antipasti Plate, The Vineyard Rose

Above Photos, Brigitte Lehnert of Flow Modern Design

Photo Below, Courtesy of Temecula CVB,

Vegas, Again, Encore

Steve Wynn's Encore opened in January coinciding with his 67th birthday. In June my husband was on assignment photographing the resort. While I was piloting the kids, Tom was rubbing elbows and working his elbows shooting the resort and the NetJets poker tournament event taking place there. Anyway, Tom was "living the dream," as they say in Vegas–pretty girls, fancy parties, swank bars, stylish pools, luxurious rooms–all that glitters...

Guys, when in Vegas (especially the Encore), wear a collared shirt, always and everywhere. Teri Agins of the Wall Street Journal gives sage advice about What to Wear for a Trip to Vegas and resort areas like it.

Maid of the Mist

Isn't she fetching? Like the falls, a force of nature. I was hoping for a little Maralyn fix, visiting Niagara Falls. However, certain places don't live up to stylish dreams and when that happens, embrace the right now and enjoy the venue for exactly what it has to offer.

The falls are over-the-top, big, bold and ferocious, the King Kong of water falls. Its avenue backdrop is cheesy, touristy, outlandish and garish, to the point of laughable. My son loved it! His chosen souvenir, a jester hat, set the tone and the style.

When you go, and everyone should at least once, don't miss the Maid of the Mist. Dawn a full length blue rain poncho, included in your admission, step aboard, choose the top deck, and be prepared to enter Horse Shoefalls on the Canadian side screaming. It's a blast, literally. The Maid's been blowing visitors away since 1846! Imagine what people wore to Niagara then.

Hamptons Bound, Off Season

Armed with a list of activities, pit stops, and restaurant to try, we have ventured fourth Out East to Eastern Long Island, NY– East Hampton, if we want to sound tony, Wainscott, if we want to be very specific about which Hampton and sound local, which we do. For the next couple days I'll be postings some photos primarily by my photographer/designer husband, Thomas Bricker, that will give you some ideas about interesting things to do in The Hamptons when you can actually get accommodations and pay an off season rate.

Before I get started, I've got to give credit where credit is do. This insider's list comes from Susan Slover and Rosemary Kuropat of the design firm, Slover and Company. Not only does Slover and Co. sign my husband's paychecks, it is also a funnel for his exceptional creative talent and watering hole to gifted designers and savvy clients alike. Our friends Susan and Rosemary have offered us the comfort of their Wainscott home, a swank shelter artfully decorated and personally adorned with still lifes in every direction. And it is their LIST!

Southampton, The Parish Art Museum. Small museum,
small time commitment.
Be sure to check out the Roman Emperors in the garden and crown one of your own.

The Southamton Historical Museum, a half block from the Parish, this museum is a window through time into Southamton's yesteryear.
Stroll by chic, simple shops and spots flanking the museum in almost every direction.

Inside museum photos to follow...

My Date With George Clooney

Sometimes finding things to do with nine-year-old boys can be challenging. Especially if you're like me and you're really not into gory, gicky or dirty. I impressed the heck out of myself the other day when I came up with a boy intinerary that we test drove and loved.

We took our commuter train into Grand Central Station NYC and walked to the New York Public Library, the big one with the lions out front. We tooled around the library checking out the grand Harry Potter-like stair cases, masterly painted rotunda, and iconic Reading Room. Next we dashed– Yes, with boys you dash, dart, bolt, or with very tired feet, you clop. We dashed across the street to Chipotle. Okay, it is a McDonalds fast food chain, my bad, but it is also delicious, fresh and healthy Mexican food, my favorite. The best thing about Chipotle for kids is that you essentially build your own burrito, taco etc. Connor, my sons BFFL (best friend for life) right now, doesn't like cheese, which could have squelched the whole idea of Mexican food (like a hot tamale), but he simply requested no cheese on his custom tacos.

After our fiesta, we darted up to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Ascending the staircase to the first gallery of the museum, the "After Party," we came face to knee with The Incredible Hulk. Both boys could fit into to the Hulk's gnarled green hand. They loved it!

At the After Party, we chatted up Pitt and Depp, Selma Hayek, Harrison Ford and Travolta. You know, it was one of those typical Hollywood parties where no one talks to you even if you bump right into them and scream in their face. Since this is also a style blog, I must make a brief comment regarding their stylist, he/she missed the mark. Selma Hayek wouldn't be caught dead, or in wax, in that polyester gown.

There is no rule against shaking hands or clapping arms around unsuspecting celebrities, which made the experience especially amusing for the boys. They had their picture taken with Obama, raided Rachel Rays fridge, played b-ball with Yao Ming and jammed with the Jonas Brothers. As for me, I had a date with George Clooney. He's about as good looking in real life as he is in the movies, but he doesn't have much to say... A fifteen minute 4D film called Planet Earth rounded out the visit. The fourth dimension being wind, spray, vibrating seats and pokes in the back. Again, the boys loved it.

Our final stop was the mega Toys R Us in Times Square. I can appreciate that this store is kid heaven, but I find it a bit overwhelming and at this point in the day, I think the boys did too. They enjoyed the indoor ferris wheel, but when it came time to pick out that much anticipated toy, on a $25 budget, they started running out of gas like a Hot Wheel derailing. I steered them toward candyland and they selected some favorite sweets. For my son James, it's the sours. Connor is a chocolate man. We clopped back to Grand Central and headed back to the burbs all hopped up on sugar. Good times.

Coming Out Of The Closet, Fur

I love wearing fur. I hope red paint doesn't come squirting out of my computer now that I've confessed. Perhaps it is my Italian roots. Fur is to Italians what scarves are to the French and denim is to Americans.

With the economy looking more like a regurgitated fur ball, it's probably very wrong of me to even be blogging about it, but a recent article in the WSJ called, "Inside the Peltway" by Amy Chozick, has had me musing on fur for days. Apparently fur is fashionable in Washington, which seems at odds with the new administration's responsible spending, mantra. According to the article, "the first lady doesn't wear fur," but she does have a long brown mink...Maybe she's prudently recycled it into pillows or a throw. Is it covering a foot stool?

As a stylist to many a R&B and rap artists, it was no surprise to me when the article went on to explain the never waning love of fur amongst African Americans. The P.O.S.H Life, a blog coming out of Atlanta posted, "Black People Love Furs: PETA Who? Weather they sport fur or not, the Obamas are a stylish couple and they inspire glamourous fashion choices, across ethnic boundaries, in an understated way. Style is not about money. Often, the best place to acquire a quality fur is from a consignment shop–or your mother (thanks Mom)–or your sister (thanks Bonnie). My mantra–Wear the nice things you have and enjoy them!

Below is a personal list of fabulous fur moments:

• Barbara Stanwyck, in "Christmas In Connecticut" when she unpacks a fur delivered to her NYC apartment that SHE BOUGHT HERSELF.

• Myrna Loy, as Nora Charles, when we meet her in the first "Thin Man." She looks like a very grand poodle. We find out later she's from money, so Nick didn't buy her that fur either!

• Working with J. Mendel furs on a advertising shoot I once styled. I enjoyed working with, and learning more about furs and the fur business from
Gille Mendel who has since become quite the celebrity designer.

• Working with Paulette Washington. She arrived in an astonishingly
beautiful chinchilla (thanks Denzel).

I'm sure by now all the fashion police and style doctors have jawed on about who was wearing what at the Oscars and why they wearing this with that and didn't it look, "Great, silly, stupid, fab, fantastic, funky, frightening..." The Oscars are the Super Bowl of fashion and I love critiquing the star's outfits, doesn't everyone? For the past, well lets just say a lot of, years I've been a professional stylist and I think I've earned the right and have the expertise to announce the winning look. It goes to Natalie Portman. I think the picture says it all.

The Oscars did get me thinking about a time in my life when I was semi by-coastal, styling shoots in LA and NYC. While in LA, I stayed with my Hollywood Hills girlfriend, Brigitte. Giving you her address alone implies how stylish she is, but more than that, she's a true and generous friend. I stayed with her plenty those years and we have shared memories of living the dream.

Brigitte and I occasionally found ourselves at Musso and Franks's, a hollywood icon located just down the street from the Oscar venue. While I can't speak for the food, sipping a martini at this bar conjures up the notion of cocktail-ing with the glam-set of old-style Hollywood. Its stars, authors, and artist lined up at the bar right next to you. Sharing some time with your best friend over a fancy drink makes the place even better.

Aloha, Hawaiian Shirts

I recently read a great article in the WSJ about Hawaiian shirt designer, Alfred Shaheen. Stephen Miller paid homage to this designer in the obit he wrote touting Shaheen as the original Hawaiian style guru.
I learned a few interesting things about Aloha Shirts, otherwise known as Hawaiian Shirts, and this great American designer. For one thing, Shaheen's shirt business grew to be the third-largest industry in Hawaii, trailing sugar and pineapples. Made of rayon (all the best ones are), Shaheen hired island and Japanese textile designers who drew inspiration from their island habitats, to design the shirts–who doesn't love a Hawaiian pattern?

It's February and 40 degrees in New York. The idea of putting on a Shaheen Hawaiian dress and parking it under a tiki hut on the Big Island makes me pine for an island get away–destination of choice, and my honeymoon spot, Kona Village Resort.

If you do decide to "Go Hawaiian" choose the real deal. At this point an Alfred Shaheen shirt would be a collectors item and probably worth the pocket gouge. Tommy Bahama does nice work, but the shirts slant toward "casual Friday" and I prefer "surfer cool."