Going back to Cali!

It's mid-winter break for the kids and we'll be spending the week in the O.C. Sadly, the TV show isn't terribly off-base in their depiction of the "Housewives Of," BUT that isn't the whole story. There is so much more to So. Cal than botoxed babes! We plan to do our favorite things:

• Escape this NY cold

• Kids will do Disney, I'm taking a pass on that (perhaps a spa day at Spa Gregorie's with my Mom?)

• Peruse South Coast Plaza, a mall equal to Madison Avenue

• Eat lots of Mexican Food

• Dinner with Travel Gals, Brigitte and Jody– see my story on our trip to Temecula. We'll be planning another.

• Laguna, for yoga on the beach, gilato and seaside shopping.

• Huntington Beach, another food/shop spot (yes, we eat a lot) BJ's Pizookie, that's a pizza/cookie. Can't go back to NY without downing one of those.

• My Mom's pizza. Too bad I don't have a link for that because it's fantastic.

What to wear? Something warm. Yes, it is cold in Cali now. And comfortable. This does not mean Uggs to me, but it seems to for the rest of the world. And Hip. I just turned another year older. I'm hip, dammit.

Paul Frank - Going Back to Cali

When I was about 14 I had a yellow cruiser. This is a low speed, high style bike. Meant for cruising a beach boardwalk, the bike's fat comfortable seat and easy-to-reach handle bars give you a mellow, lay back ride. Walking into The Paul Frank Store in Nolita, NYC brought me back to my cruiser days. It was weird to be in this store on Mulberry street because I associate the brand with all that is California. The label began in a garage in Huntington Beach, CA, very near Irvine, where I grew up. Paul Frank's poppy graphics just make you want to hang five or ten; toes over skateboard, or surfboard, or how about fingers around a La Sirena taco or margarita! The designs are for all ages, although tweens and teens probably feel a little more at ease sporting that silly (but cool) monkey.

I'm planning a Style Tour to Nolita in early spring and I may try to fit The Paul Frank Store into our itinerary. It will still be cold and it might be a great way to dive into sunny California (if even for a moment)!

Can you tell I'm already tired of winter...?

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.

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."