L'Amour Fou

I saw the Yves movie the other night at the Pelham Picture House. Unfortunately they were playing the movie in their classroom space, which I’m sorry to say, is not a good place to watch any movie. Even a great movie is painful to watch in folding chairs, okay they were padded, but still we had to get up and stretch at one point. The screen is too close and too high and frankly the space just felt odd. I was excited to get Tom to the Picture House (finally) and I was apoplectic about seeing L’Amour Fou, so imagine our disappointment when we found ourselves alone in the “classroom.” Perhaps we could have done more with this circumstance... but well, we didn’t.

As for L’Amour Fou, sorry gals, it’s a rental. There isn’t much fashion in it, however the interiors are deliciously drippy, I thought so anyway, Tom found them to be “High Frog Clutter.” The story surrounding Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge’s art collection and relationship is significant and understanding the life and creative process of yet another “tortured” artist never seems to tire. However there were lots of cliche shots– Berge looking out a window at an ocean view with a worried, longing face... Geez.

While you’re waiting for it to come out on disc, do see the Bill Cunningham movie and Valentino darlings, both grand.

Summer Carlisle / per se

In my introduction about the Carlisle / per se spring lines I talked about how impressed I was with the clothes, the fabrication and workmanship, awesome! The "Summer" collections are cool and I'd love for friends and clients to come up to the Showroom and see these breezy pieces and find out what shopping there is all about. Below explains how the Greenwich Carlisle / per se Showroom shopping is different from "in home" shopping and store shopping.

Sizes: The Showroom has multiple sizes available in each piece. Granted, if you are shopping late in the season your size might be sold out. (Sizes run 0-18)

No Delayed Gratification: You like it, you buy it, you take it!

Fit: A really good seamstress is on premise to make things fit your body perfectly AND that service is free of charge!

Fast Fashion: I can have a dressing room set up and ready for you in advance. We'll talk about what you're after and I'll have sizes and styles ready for you to try on the minute you walk in the door.

Door to Door: Carlisle delivers pieces that stayed behind for tailoring to your door (or porch, or patio)!

House Calls: I can pull things from the Showroom in your size and drop them by your house to try. You drop the "no goes" back at my house. OR we can have an "in home" styling session–different, more fun, a little more money.

Styling: Here's the best part... I've been a fashion stylist for years. I've dressed celebrities, politicians, homemakers, talk show hosts and rock stars; everyone from Cindy Crawford to Whitney Houston to Midori to Natalie Merchant to Guns and Roses. I've dressed models for beauty advertising, editorial and lifestyle shoots. I'm very plain speaking and I know what looks good and what doesn't! You can take or leave my advice, but I WILL give it to you and as long as we're at the Showroom, it's free!

Regret Not!: If something just isn't working for you (and you should love it to keep it), you can return it to the Showroom–no questions, no explanations, money back.

The Skinny on Price: Bargain shopping, it's not. There are no wracks, bins or stacks to sift through. You are not a stock girl. Rather, it's a bit like shopping at a salon depicted in an old movie (but the sales girl isn't trying to steal your husband). Again, the fabrics are from mills in Italy and France. The same ones used by Oscar, Donna and Chanel and the pieces are "built" in Hong Kong. Soooo it's "investing" in fine wardrobe pieces. Dresses, jackets/coats are $450 to $700, skirts and pants about $300, tops $150 to $250.

So I'll call you or you call me (or email) and lets set a date for you to come shop or just check it out. For a quick look-see, links are below, but remember, this isn't everything!

To those of you who have already shopped with me, come see and feel "summer," and please spread the word about your experience.
To those of you finding out about Carlisle / per se for the first time, welcome!

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!

My new thing...

Most of you know my styling services include personal shopping both with and without the client. I’ve recently added a new fabulous source to my arsenal of shopping venues–Carlisle / Per Se. These two lines deliver on style and quality. Carlisle has been around a while as part of the in-home retail formula that works so well for so many women. Per Se is a newer line and considered more “current” than Carlisle, however for me, they really work best mixed together.

The spring lines are fab. They hit on all the best trends; poppy colors, cubist and geometric patterns, a little tribal here and there and animal prints… The collections host over 20 dresses, best and easiest for spring, AND my personal favorite, a few Hollywood-esk wide leg pants!

I’ll mostly be bringing clients into the Carlisle / Per Se showroom in Greenwich CT. but I plan on making a few City (NY) jaunts to the showroom there as well. The shopping experience is quite luxurious (a private dressing room, personalized attention (me!) plus additional help, seamstress on premise, sizes 0-18 in stock).

And did I mention, these clothes are made in Hong Kong from mills used in Italy and France. It’s beautiful, quality stuff, the likes of Dior or Donna Karen at Bridge Sportswear price points. I’m really excited to be using it as a styling resource for anyone needing anything special from casual to career to dressy to fun!

I’m starting to book appointments now. Get in touch with me. I can’t wait to show you my new thing.



"Come to my Villa."

Sometimes grief strikes us at the oddest times. This morning I was watching a press DVD about a villa in Umbria, Italy. The villa sits just outside the hill town of Montafalco. Watching, I was brought to tears. I was thinking, this is why Dad loved Italy. If only I could bring my Dad to Montafalco. We’d stay at this villa, the Villa Pambuffetti. We’d eat that pasta, drink that wine, sit and talk and read on those round over-stuffed chairs–and they would envelope us like my Grandma Rose’s bosoms, in a great hug. I miss him dearly.

It was my pleasure to meet the family behind Villa Pambuffetti last night. They treated us to a dinner of “home favorites” at the il Buco restaurant in lower Manhattan. Alessandra Angelucci Pambuffetti, our hostess, exuded elegance and ease, she was so graceful and charming and chic, that not only did I want to visit her at her Villa, I wanted to adopt her life! Imagine, being able to say, “Come to my Villa. I’ll give you a cooking lesson in the morning and then you can explore the Franciscan art of Montefalco. Or just sit with me in the garden and drink our local wine, Montefalco Rosso or Sagrantino. I was converted. In my next life I am Alessandra Angelucci Pambuffetti. I own an Italian VILLA!

BUT I will not wait until my next life to visit Villa Pambuffetti and if you have a villa-ownership fantasy like me, you should go there too! Lucky for you, you’ll be a guest with none of the headache of ownership. You can relax, a specialty of the house.

If you prefer to wonder, well you’re in Montefalco, “Everywhere you look or you walk everything is ancient, medieval, stony, cold and hard. Tiny roads cut tall stone houses through ancient towers, portals, castles, churches and walls.” Said Hermann Hesse describing this ancient village, unchanged since he visited it in the early part of the 19th century.

I can’t finish this post without describing one stand out, unexpected dish served to us last night–Cachi con Finocchio–persimmons, fennel, hazelnuts, mint, parmesan. This combination was just music to my taste buds. Accompanied by Grigetto wine, seated in the basement wine cellar of il Buco next to my Italia –phile friend Lisa Beth, captivated by Allessandra, I had gone to heaven and it was in Italy.

Holiday Dress Ups! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Lausanne, Switzerland was getting all gussied up for Christmas as I was leaving there just before Thanksgiving. On the shores of Lake Geneva, Lausanne is yet another Swiss town I would have liked to spend at least a week exploring, getting to know the ups and downs of its hilly streets, popping in to art galleries, museums and of course fashion hunting!

(They had an unusual snowstorm last month. Rare, because Lausanne is lakeside and with its balmy weather, it usually doesn’t experience snow accumulation. Check it out on Youtube. Those pillars dripping in white lights is the entrance to the Lausanne Palace & Spa–swank!)

I, however, had to head back to New York to jump back in to all things work and domestic. The luxurious trip back on Swiss Business gave me plenty of time to rest up for the crazy Christmas season approaching. What’s better than to spend a day in bed watching movies while charmingly accommodating, impossibly spiffy people provide you with outstanding service! It felt like my seat was my own little ultra-hip apartment. Everything essential was bedside and anything else I needed or wanted was “delivered.” Including Swiss wine and chocolates of course.

Back in New York I approached my clients with a “Holiday House Call” idea; I would put together a couple of fancy outfits using their own wardrobe and accessories to prep for holiday parties. These have been quick visits, and this elf has had a blast playing big-girl dress ups with party clothes. Sequins? Yes. Bobbles and beads? Yes. We channeled Coco, a little Marilyn and some Garbo. I grabbed for silvers and golds and those wonderful jewel tones so fine this time of year. Often, more was better. The Holidays generally aren’t for shy dressers, unless you’re doing that androgynous tux look–always in style, but you must add a red rose, if not to your lapel, then your hair...

Switzerland, Day Trip, Vevey, Montreux

MyStylist Travel Advisory

Were To Go

Vevey! As I mentioned in my last blog, Vevey, Switzerland is an incredibly charming town to wonder round, especially in what is known as the “Old Village.” It is one hour from Geneva’s international airport, accessible by train and bus and perfect for an afternoon of shopping, cheese smelling and tasting or chocolate browsing and buying.

What to do

Ever on the look out for out-of-the-ordinary shops, I found two in the Old Village that should be part of any “fashion” day trip to Vevey. Un Air De Famille, Rue du Conseil 5, is a stylish vagabond’s paradise. The clothes are alternative; almost costume, modern and antique at the same time, touches of whimsy and flavors of “the homemade.” You don’t have to be a fashion hound to appreciate the merchandising. Anyone with a love for antiques or Victorian attics will loose themselves. Expect to discover designers: Myrine & Me, NOA NOA and Ewa iWalla–very cool.

Your next stop should be Balthazar, 32, rue du Lac. The store’s colorful, kid-like pop-art merchandise screams “Come and see!” Proprietor Valerie Jobin lives above the store. Her decidedly cheerful buying choices stand out on a street that sets a more serious fashion tone. It’s fun. Check it out.

What to wear

Considering you are right on the lake (Geneva), dress warmer than you might think. Avoid small pointy heals–cobblestones! And dress comfortably elegant–I threw on a wool shawl, grey cords and a big chunky necklace.

What to eat

See my last blog post for the place we picked. Both restaurant and chocolate shop, Poyet fulfilled my Swiss fantasy of relaxing in a cozy spot near Lake Geneva, coffee and cookie en route to mouth!

What else

This area, encompassing the Swiss towns of Montreux and Vevey, is called the Swiss Riviera for its microclimate. The vegetation is varied; palm trees, pines and pansies occupy the same space. A walking path along the lake connects Montreux and Vevey. Get on it, if even for a short stroll.

Note: Montreux Vevey Tourisme offers the Montreux Riviera Card, a discount card worth investigating.

This time of year the “Montreux Noel” is ringing Christmas bells! Considered the finest Christmas market in Switzerland, chalets erected along the quays and the Grand-Rue are enchantingly decorated to welcome visitors and make them swoon with Christmas nostalgia.

Fellow travel dude, Ramsey Quebein and I discover Vevey.
Follow Ramsey for daily travel tips on Twitter.

The Stylish Swiss Old Lady

When I’m older, I’d like to be Swiss. They are stylish bread, the Swiss old lady. She’s got her sturdy shoes; low heals, just heavy enough to withstand cobblestones, but not too clunky, junky. Her hosiery is sensible too, slightly thick for support and warmth. The calf length skirt she wears of a wool blend in an understated grey, camel or hunter, coupled with a cardigan or turtleneck are stylish choices meant to withstand time. She’s not changing her look from season to season, year to year. Then there is the scarf, silk, useful, beautiful.

I saw several of these iconic matrons during my trip to Switzerland last week. They impressed me mostly because they make such an effort to be “put together,” tidy, which is really the first step toward looking and feeling good.

One restaurant slash chocolate store in Vevey, Switzerland called Poyet, seemed to attract a well-dressed set, including my old-lady ideal. I wanted to know everyone’s story. The old man with the teenager, the elderly lady with bright orange hair and lipstick to match, the man with the velvet jacket reading the paper–they all had a tale. What’s more they seemed to be taking time to actually just sit, stare, listen and sip. It was a Tuesday afternoon almost rush hour, but no one was in a hurry.

Unfortunately, I couldn't surreptitiously grab a decent shot of any of these fine old ladies. So picture of the lovely Poyet and its chocolate will have to suffice.

Why not grab a silk scarf, slip into a straight long skirt, low heals and some pearls. Be traditional, worldly and timeless right now...A few suggestions below.

Swiss Matron Look

I want to sip Lambrusco in Mantua.

Last week I was invited to an Italian Tourism event highlighting the region of Lombardy, it’s food, wine, fashion, art, architecture…You know, all that is yummy, luxurious, creative Italian. The take away for me–visit Mantua.

This provincial Capitol, in the southeast foot of the Lombardy region, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Palazzo Ducale, a labyrinth of churches, piazzas, gardens and porticoes was built over five centuries, from the 13th to the 18th. Visiting it would make a pleasant morning adventure. Followed by picnic procurement at the Farmer’s Market, perhaps a stand-up espresso and some scarpe (shoe) shopping (I’m in Italy, shoe shopping is a must!) and then a nap. Dinner might start with pumkin tortelli, a regional specialty and Lambrusco of course.

The next day I’d hit Mantua’s wine trail (perhaps part of it on horseback or bike), check out the cellars, enjoy merlot, pinot, cabernet sauvignon… In the evening, Opera? The Regoletto festival continues through October. One week left…

The New Made In Italy

The MSC Flagship Poesia was the venue for an Italian fete Saturday called "Italian Creativity On Board." I went with my pal Cindy Bigras a fellow GoNOMAD writer. She was speaking about Sardinia on behalf of the Italian Tourist board. I was basically working the crowd (largely Italian speaking), eating, drinking and being enticed once again to go to Italy. This time Piedmont was calling, the slopes in particular...

Luncheon was followed by a gorgeously lush fashion show by the acclaimed Italian designer Raffaella Curiel. Although she's been selling her work through Bergdorf's since 1965, this was her first American fashion show. It was divine.

Heading up town via orange Mini Cooper convertible to drinks on the rooftop of the Gansevoort was another welcome, "I love New York" moment. The Italians; they do know how to have a good time.

"Fall Fashion To Go"

I was given a dreamy assignment to write a fall fashion article for Travelgirl magazine. Obviously, the thrust of the article is what to wear “on the go.” Right down my fashion ally! Art Director Valerie Cassius Kessler did a fab job of laying out the piece and Julie Hoylen of Live In Full Color (see my blog roll) gave us some great color palettes for fall touring. The article should get you inspired to start packing. Travelgirl can be found on newstands: Boarders and Barnes and Noble and in all Delta Crown Rooms.

Below is a snippet from the article...

Boots Rule

Nothing says, “meet the streets” like a great pair of boots. I love the “danger girl” look of a spiky boot, but we’re talking touring here, so go with flat and functional.

• Wear them on the plane to save space in your bag.

• They should be relatively easy to get off and on. For a long plane ride, you’ll want to slip them off without sweating, grunting or elbowing your plane mate.

• Avoid lots of buckles, fringe, folds or stitching (too Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves).

• For travel choose sleek and simple to go everywhere and with everything!

Journey Worthy: Stuart

Weitzman 50/50 Boots

Keep Calm And Carry On A Scarf

Excerpt from my upcoming Travelgirl article on Style and Travel:

For function and style every journey begins with a scarf (or wrap!).

It’s always better to wrap up in cashmere than a poly airline blanket. My most adored wrap is by Jules Allen and it is Berry pink!

As for silk, perhaps it’s best to purchase a Gucci or Ferragamo scarf while in Italy or Hermes in Paris. It will become a coveted souvenir and immediate heirloom.

Fashion and beauty writer Molly Boxford suggests Echo scarves, “Once I’ve established a theme to my packing, I like to add an Echo scarf to pull together colors or looks.” Reasonably priced, they won’t gouge your trip spending stash.

I’m finding the half-scarf/half sweater numbers out this fall interesting. Wrap London does a few that look hip and cozy. Here's a sneak peak at one from their fall catalog–a great look for any field trip...

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.”

Dogsledding by Scooter and Cart!

For us Ken Haggett fit the description of the typical Vermonter. Tom told the kids over dinner the first night of our Stowe vacation that Vermont, “Prides itself on local stuff. It’s the land of the granolas–Birkenstocks seen here.” Every place has its stereotype and I was curious to see if this one would ring true. Ken was the closest we’d come. Not because of granola or Birkenstocks, but because he obviously had a passion for nature–you might call him a (Stowe) mountain man… He is the owner and operator of Peace Pups Dogsledding. With over 20 Siberian Huskies (they live in custom “doggie condos” on his property) for sledding, scootering and skijoring (that’s Nordic skiing with dog pulling), Ken offers an out of the ordinary outdoor adventure. Certainly, one my family had never been on!

Explaining why he started Peace Pups, Ken said, “The whole reason I got into this is to spend time with the dogs. Friends ask, ‘Are you going to get out and have any fun?’ Most runs are fun because I spend time with people and I’m out enjoying the dogs.”

The dogs are transported on the flatbed of Ken’s truck in custom crafted wood cages, worthy of furniture. He brought 20 Huskies for our scooter outing. Their beautiful white faces curiously watched the goings on of Ken and my family preparing for “the ride.” Meanwhile they were barking LOUDLY at other dogs passing by. Their cacophony of barking, and howling increased our adrenalin as the impending scooter ride drew nearer. In fact I was getting so nervous I considered not doing it and my 10 year old was getting darn right scared. Ken’s rule is that you must be at lease 12 to dog scooter. But younger kids can ride in the, fitted for dog mushing, carts.

It was time to scooter and Tom was going first.

(Now there's a cliff hanger...Mush On to my next post for the rest!)

Stowe on the Shoulder

Jasmine Bigelow from the Stowe Vermont Area Association warned me that if we came to Stowe in early April we would, dare she say it, be visiting in Mud Season. Mud or not, we wanted to check out spring skiing on the East Coast and to see what this resort town had to offer a family of four. Jasmine assured us that with proper planning, Stowe was a year-round vacation location that could offer some cool stuff for my sometimes-hard-to-please tweeners and husband.

We stayed at Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa. The townhouse suite we checked into was perfect, luxurious in fact, with plenty of room for the kids and us. This two bedroom, two story “attached home” was decorated in gold, tan and brown hues, rich fabrics, granite counter tops, marble tiles–really nice design choices. Big fluffy beds, flip a dial fireplaces and flat screens TV’s, produced a krumping* dance from my daughter, a loud banshee scream from my son and meaningful sighs from Tom and me. We really liked our new ski home…

Could we just live here and forget about going back to New York?

Besides the great digs, Stoweflake, the resort, has a lot to do. And during “shoulder season” it works! Here’s some choices for a wet, rainy, icky day (We had two!).

• Spa–a great option for adults (worthy of it’s own blog post, which will come later).

• Indoor pool, outdoor Jacuzzi and gym–my son was in the pool every day. The indoor pool, itself, isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but my 10-year-old loved it! And there is a heated out door pool as well, which has more limited hours but would be a nice diversion with proper planning and weather permitting.

• Racquetball court–this turned out to be a terrific time for Husband and Son who have no idea what they are doing on the court, but were entirely amused anyhow.

• Yoga and fitness classes

Interesting stores just across the street (again, another blog post).

• “Homemade” cookies and coffee in the afternoon, perfect for “a sit down and read” by the fire.

So this is the beginning of several blog post I plan to do on Stowe followed by a full-length article for GoNOMAD.com. Do check back to hear more about our adventure “on the shoulder” at Stowe. I have a feeling you’ll want to visit too–any time will do!

*Krumping (for daughter, Isabella) is a crazy, hip, arm, gyrating dance done in second position plea.

Style Tour, Mulberry then Mott

We had three more stops to make on the Style Tour.

debut is a gallery like boutique designed to showcase fashion designers as artists. Curated by owner, Lisa Weiss, debut, feels like you've stepped into an art gallery in the West 20's. It was fun for the group to consider fashion as art. The pieces were more "project runway" than anything else we encountered on the Tour, a bit too artistic (and irreverent) for most of us, but there was an abstract print dress there that I'm still thinking about. By the way, abstract prints, on dresses and shirts where all over the fall runways.

Rebecca Taylor–always a favorite of mine. Welcoming store manager, China, helped the ladies try on several blouses, jackets and pants. The store felt like the day– sunny, fresh, relaxing and cheerful. Taylor was a designer I pulled from often when styling photo shoots for advertising and music industry jobs. Her stuff is eye-catching, wearable and surprisingly comfortable. Her dresses are classic/feminine with a hint of "high fashion." I like it all and several things looked great on the gals.

Lolita Jaca–If you need a little St Barth in your life dip into this store. The seven of us barely fit in this tiny island of a store, but that was the fun of it! They were having an awesome sale (besides extending a special discount to our little group). I couldn't resist a better-than-Pucci print blouse, that I'm just dying to break out for just the right occasion (after that I'll wear it a lot and whenever). If you love colorful prints, simple linen dresses and want to dream of an island vacation, go to this store!

Style Tour, Next Stop, Falco New York City

If you can’t make it to Italy, but can manage to get to lower Lafayette Street in Manhattan, stop by Lafco New York. This beautiful fragrance and luxury “smells” store houses Santa Maria Novella products from Florence.

This is one of (if not) the oldest fragrance (pharmacy) “brand” in the world. Founded by Dominican friars in the early part of the 13th century, the pharmacy began by producing medicines, balms and pomades from herbs grown in the monastic gardens. Eventually word got out about the exceptional quality of the products these friars were producing and happily in 1612, the pharmacy opened to the public.

Today Santa Maria Novella products are distributed worldwide, but selectively so the brand has maintained its pedigree and artistry. There is a fascinating and rich history behind the products and I am barely skimming the surface here. The store on Lafayette has a natural earthy palette with some industrial design influences. It is incredible inviting, almost like walking into a prayerful oasis of lotions and potions.

The Novella products are reminiscent of the Renaissance both in packaging and fragrance–they aren’t fussy or convoluted, rather they incorporate simple herbs and flowers used now and throughout the ages–verbena, magnolia, orange blossom. The other Fafco products are also worth the trip through the huge ironwork doors of the shop, a fitting entrance for this big step from city street to “friars pharmacy.”

If you find yourself in Florence do make the effort to visit the original Farmaceutica de Santa Maria Novell. (Describing that will take another blog post and words along can not do it justice!)

Below: The Pharmacy's neo Gothic main salesroom, Florence, Italy
Photos below and above center: Scott S. Warren from the article "Heaven Scent" at Smithsonian.com by Mishal Husain
Photo right: Gals on the Style Tour, Falco New York