Monthly Archives

June 2016

GOIN’ COASTAL: CARMEL, PEBBLE BEACH, PACIFIC GROVE!

Travel

Two Sets of Ovaries Hit The Road Thelma and Louise Style…Well…In Spirit…

I spent a great deal of my formative years in Carmel, CA. My aunt and uncle purchased an historical house a few blocks from the beach in 1972. At the time, it was a bargain. They were educators in the Monterey Bay area, but were smart with their money. Thus, they were able to afford to raise their kids in this idyllic town.

Dubbed San Carlos Borromeo De Carmelo by Father Junipero Serra (the man, the missionary, and his missions), this religious community eventually grew into an artist’s mecca. Locals call it “Carmel”, and tourists refer to it as “Carmel-By-The-Sea”. Whatever you call it–it is a slice of heaven. And there is so much to explore in and around this charming town, you better plan on at least two days to make it worthwhile.

Back in my childhood days, Carmel was a community of starving artists living out the green life on carob chips, tofu, and fruit smoothies. They were years ahead of the kale crowd. They sculpted wind chimes out of sea glass and deadwood. They wove vests out of Alpaca yarn and fastened them with cypress buttons. It was a natural life, and it was amazing. Besides, David Soul (of Starsky and Hutch fame), Leon Panetta (our Secretary of Defense), and the one-and-only Clint Eastwood (no explanation needed) chose to live there. So, of course, it’s going to be amazing! In fact, Eastwood’s directorial debut was shot entirely in Carmel: Play Misty For Me! If you want to see the quintessential 70s Carmel, watch it! Plus, you get to see hunky Clint in his tighty whities; Donna Mills bares her brazen shag; and the movie is just plain, schlocky goodness! It’s a throwback creepfest!

My sister and I had several favorite pastimes when visiting our cousins in Carmel. We liked to meander down to The Plaza Bead Store and gawk at the coral and turquoise necklaces; peruse the tooled-leather goods at Laubs Country Store; try on the latest Famolares at Llyod’s Shoes; and forage through Cottage Sweets (owned by my cousin’s best friend) to gorge on Swedish fish and gummy bears. Life was good in Carmel.

This past week, I had the opportunity to visit Carmel, Pebble Beach, and Pacific Grove with my good friend, Tamara. We had two days and one night to explore the area. She had a toddler to get back to, and me–my mid-life crisis to tender, so time was limited! Although much has physically changed since the 1970s, life is still good in Carmel!

Parking is rather restricted in town, so the earlier you arrive–the better. Even though my aunt has a private parking lot, we didn’t need to call in a favor this time–we found parking a few blocks away from Ocean Avenue (the center of town)! The weather was absolutely beautiful, so a nice little walk to downtown was just what we needed.

There are so many nooks and crannies of shops and galleries, that it’s probably best to look online for your eating and shopping needs. It’s just not possible to see everything from the main roads. A lot of places are tucked away in tiny corners. It’s as if you are treasure hunting, so be prepared to explore. Since I am a vintage clothing aficionado, that is where my loyalty lies. I knew exactly where I wanted to go: Foxy Couture.

Foxy Couture has two locations: one for their vintage items, and one for their more modern couture pieces (like Chanel). They sell on Etsy and Ebay, but literally browsing in their store is like being a kid in a candy store (my Cottage Sweets is now my Foxy Couture). One needs to touch and feel everything in this store. It is pure luxury at it’s finest. Everything is well-preserved and curated. I ended up purchasing a cute little psychedelic outfit for $45 dollars (pictured in gallery as separates). I passed on a strapless 50s dress (pictured in gallery), but I’m now regretting it.

There are plenty of amazing restaurants in Carmel. You can’t lose with any choice you make, but be warned–it’s extremely crowded by noon for the lunch crowd and by 6:30 pm for the dinner crowd. Reservations are highly recommended. Tamara and I chose to roll with the flow. We couldn’t bring ourselves to go into Grasings (hands down, the place to eat) because it’s where John fell back and hit his head last summer (he passed away several days later). Neither one of us really had any closure (a looooooooong sordid family story). We slowly walked by and peered in the window as we clutched each other tightly and crossed the street in silence. I caught a glimpse of the fire truck parked across the street. Heroes were literally a stones throw away!

We would get lunch in Pebble Beach a little later. Whew!

But please, do go to Grasings! It really has the best atmosphere and food! Have a toast for John if you do! I will make in in one of these days when I’m ready.

We walked down to Carmel Beach to soak up a few California rays. Cypress trees make the scenery charming and the sand is white and pristine–unlike any beach along the California coast. If a picnic lunch on the beach is what you prefer, there is a great little cheese and wine shop in Carmel Plaza that has everything! It’s literally called: The Cheese Shop. You can’t miss it.

By the time the clock struck 2:00, we were famished. We headed out 17 Mile Drive toward Pebble Beach Lodge. A charming oasis to behold. We had lunch at the Tap House where sun-crisped golfers tossed back a few martinis and reveled in their wife-less day. Tamara and I ordered a simple sandwich and salad. We saved room for the famous drinks and scenery outside. We moved downstairs to The Bench. I ordered the favorite called, “The Benchwarmer” and Tamara ordered an asian mojito hailed, “Thai One On”. We freshened ourselves another few drinks and watched people come and go.

Tamara and I cruised the rest of 17 mile drive toward our ending destination: Pacific Grove–named the most romantic town in America. We just needed time away from the daily grind, so romance was on hold for these two bitches. We checked in to our cottage: The Sea Breeze Inn. There was some difficulty with our room, but we managed to upgrade without incurring an extra fees (they accidentally gave our room away). We ditched our luggage and made our way downtown in PG (as the locals call it) to look at Fat Willys (antiques) and find a restaurant for dinner. We settled in to Jennini Kitchen and Wine Bar. If you order the paella, make sure that you have plenty of patience. It takes awhile, but it’s well worth it.

The next morning, Tamara and I had afternoon tea at the White Hart House in Pacific Grove. We didn’t have reservations, so we couldn’t believe our luck when we swooped in on the last table available. What started off as a doctor’s private house and practice for pediatrics back in the late 1800s, ended up becoming a suitable place to break bread and sip tea while watching the fog roll in from Lover’s Point. Bring your appetite, because there are plenty of unique treats. The clotted cream and lemon curd is remarkable. Everything is hand-crafted onsite by the delightful and exuberant hosts.

Cheers!

THE CONTOUR CRAZE

Health and Beauty

(Featured Photo: Redbook Pinterest)

Contouring Is For The Maps…

I generally can’t be bothered to wear make-up. I used to think that it was too time-consuming and unnecessary for my skin. I’m pale in the winter and sun-kissed in the summer. That’s all I really need. Now that my skin is going in all different directions (yep, age happens and gravity works), I need a little help with skin tone and extra sun protection. I sometimes use an opaque foundation–followed by some light contouring to slim my cheekbones and brighten my complexion. I don’t always have the time nor the patience, but today I got schooled on how to do the ten minute contour.

I grew up in the 70s and 80s when the “clown-look” was in. Our motto: the more make-up–the more beautiful! Plus, there were only 4 shades of lipstick: red, rust, plum, and pink; one shade of mascara: black; 4 shades of eyeshadow: Tammy Faye blue, Diana Ross silver, Farah green, or Cher brown; and 3 shades of foundation to contend with: light, medium, and dark. Sigh.

Since celebrating the wrong side of my 40s, a little foundation and contouring makes my face look fresh and vibrant. Hmmm, there’s something to this! These days, it’s easier to do. Plus, there’s so much product out there…one is bound to find the right fit for their skin. Since I am a teacher, I am using “drugstore” brands that fit within my budget.

I teamed up with my beauty guru, Grace, to learn about the basics of skin contouring. Since the Kardashian’s were outted with this skin-slimming trick, it’s become the norm. If you’re not doing it, you’re going old-skool. And there’s nothing wrong with that! I am the queen of old-skool.

Here’s the trick:

Step 1: Create a Base

Just like priming a fine piece of meat, one must prime their skin for the day’s cake on. Preferably one that minimizes pores and eliminates any excess oils. In my case–one that eliminates a few fine lines and freckles! Foundation follows suit. Choose one that matches the skin tone on your neck. Use a beauty blender to to gently spread and smooth around the face.

Tip: when in doubt, blend it out.

Step 2: Powder Bronzing

This is the actual “contour” phase of the entire process. To find the right shade of bronze, you must go 2 shades darker than your normal foundation. Are you: warm, cool, or neutral? Who would have thunk? Look at the veins on your wrist. If they appear green, you are warm. If they appear more blue, you are cool. In between? Neutral. Any other color–you are not of this world or you be trippin’! Get it? Got it? Good!

My veins are blue, so I’m cool! I choose a bronzer that has no yellow under-tones (yes, this is a real thing)! If you are warm, you would use a bronzer with no pink under-tones. Apply with a domed, fluffy brush. Find your cheekbones by forming a “fish face” and brush just under the bones. Blend it out.

Tip: do not blend past the end of the eyebrows (imaginary horizontal line down).

Bronze the temple areas and just under the jawline as well. Blend it out with the brush.

Applying bronzer to the nose will also help the face and nose appear slim. Use a thinner dome brush and pinch the ends. Find the beginning of the eyebrows and follow the horizontal line down the edge of the nose. Apply to both sides.

Tip: if you do not blend this in, you will look like the crazy cat lady!

Step 3: Highlighting (optional)

Find a liquid concealer that is 1-2 shades lighter than your normal foundation. Apply directly on to cheek bones; bridge of nose; cupid’s bow; chin; and forehead. Blend with a beauty blender. Set with light powder or highlighter using the thin domed brush.

Tip: if you have a red tone to your face, do not use blush. Just the contouring is enough.

Voila! You are good to go! Super easy, although I still don’t know what all the craze is about!

THE FAMILY JEWELS

The Vintage Version

A Nice Piece of Jewelry Takes A Load Off My Mind…

My mom never wore diamonds. She didn’t subscribe to the code that they were a “girl’s best friend”, nor did she demand that my dad sell his soul or mortgage the house to put one on her finger. Not that she was practical. My mom is anything but practical–you can take the girl outta the Ozarks, but you can’t take the Okie outta the girl. Geraldine just didn’t give a fuck, really! Diamonds were meaningless to this cowgirl.

Instead, her jewelry box runneth over with turquoise and silver. She is a grade-A sucker for American Indian jewelry because pieces are hand-crafted from a spiritual and cultural perspective. The people who create them weave a story through their fine craftsmanship. Her trips to New Mexico and Arizona (through purchases) help propagate a culture in danger of disappearing and generate income for those who rely on their art to survive. In Alaska alone, the Inuit culture is disappearing at such a high rate, it’s alarming. The Native American youth have become so integrated in the “American” way of life (think cell phones and social media), they don’t make time for their craft anymore.

A new era of Native American elders around the country are spearheading an effort to get their youth re-introduced and interested in their native culture and teach them what they learned from their own elders. It’s an effort that’s thriving in areas such as Northern Alaska and Yosemite National Park. When you purchase (new or vintage) a piece of native jewelry or textile, you are helping to preserve the cultural heritage of a race that is slowly becoming history. It’s paramount that we keep this history alive.

So, I have very fond memories of my mom blinged out in squash blossoms and zuni bracelets. The more turquoise and coral, the more connected to the earth and it’s native people she became. My sister and I used to play in her jewelry box, so it’s no wonder we were bestowed with the same love and appreciation for this fine art and the people who created them.

“Cherish youth, but trust old age.” Pueblo Proverb

 

DOLCE AND GABBANA’S FLORENCIAL REIGN

The Vintage Version

(Photo: Dolce and Gabbana Instagram)

DOMENICO E STEFANO! WHEREFORE ART THOU?…

Music and fashion can be categorized as art, right? It’s been argued that art inevitably makes the human race immortal. So…if fashion is art, then Dolce and Gabbana are the Gods incarnate!

Move over Versace, there’s a new “Medici” come to town, and all the world is their stage! Well, they’ve had the world by it’s idiomatic balls for some time now, but many might proclaim Dolce and Gabbanna to be the new ruling family in these here parts.

Perché mio amico?

Amalfi 2016!

So send your lords and nobles by proxy to salute and pay tribute to this acclaimed collection! Herald the trumpets! Send in the jesters, your knight errants, and fashion courtesans–quite literally!

Let it reign, let it reign! Let it reign supreme!

Italia’s finest couturiers, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have produced the quintessential Italian riviera experience. Think Roman Holiday on primary color steroids. Wait…Roman Holiday was a technicolor movie, right? Hmmm! Whatever the movie set in Italy (it could’ve been It Started in Naples or even The Talented Mr. Ripley), I remember seeing striped sundresses in primary colors and post-card print pedal pushers with creatively customized gingham crop tops. Claret and and lapis lazuli hued scarves wrapped purposefully around flaxen hair–slightly kissed by the Mediterranean sun. Sorry to be too fastidious, but invoking the mood of this collection is based entirely on a mood board from 50s and 60s coastal Italy. There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe the masterful craftsmanship of each piece. It’s pure genius, I say!

After seeing the collection and dog-earring the corners of my Vogue, Bazaar, and Marie Claire magazines (yes, I still buy magazines), I knew that I wanted to recreate this collection à la vintage. Some of the pictured items are from Etsy, some are directly from my personal collection. Here is what I came up with. All items are available on Risaroxx Vintage and sold as individual pieces.

Che talor cresce una belta un bel manto–fine clothes often make beauty still more beautiful (Ariosto).

Bravissimo!

Dolce stripe 2 Dolce stripe 4 Dolce romper 3 Dolce romper 4 Dolce romper Dolce romper 2 Dolce one shoulder Dolce one shoulder 2 Dolce off shoulder Dolce off shoulder 4 Dolcer off shoulder 3 Dolce yellow off shoulder  Dolce yellow off shoulder 2 Dolce red stripe 1 Dolce red stripe 2 Dolce red stripe 3 Dolce red stripe 4 Dolce red stripe 5 Dolce red stripe 6 Dolce red stripe 7 Dolce mash 2 Dolce mash Dolce mash 4 Dolce mash 3 Dolce mash 5 Dolce fruit 2 Dolce fruit Dolce mix 1 Dolce mix 2 Dolce mix 3 Dolce yellow Dolce yellow 8Dolce yellow 7 Dolce yellow 5 Dolce yellow 3 Dolce yellow 4 Dolce yellow 6 Dolce yellow 2 Dolce 60s Dolce 60s 2 Dolce 60s 3 Dolce 60s 4