Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The New Swim Suit

Swimsuit anxiety:
(def.) n.- The familiar general discomfort felt this time of year, every year, at the sight- let alone the donning- of bikinis and one-piece bathing suits. Statistics show that 99% of women suffer from it. The 1% that don't are Victoria's Secret models and women under the age of 16...aka betches.

So maybe strutting your stuff in a string bikini is more of a distant memory (if you're lucky!) than a reality. That's okay! My new favorite swimwear look is super practical, comfortable and fabulous...and YOU will look amazing in it!

Look Two: Halter Top + Surf Shorts
Look Three: Bandeau Top + Board Shorts

Board shorts are an over-30 gal's best friend. They say, "I'm so cool and confident that I don't have to show you my buns. Just know they are there and they are perky," even if they're not exactly. Regardless, they allow you to bend over without wedgie-worry, tuck in your pooch (wait, what pooch?! ;)), and walk over the dunes without worrying how much cellulite is showing. YES! Above, I've paired them with bikini tops but you can ABSOLUTELY wear these with a fab one piece. In fact, that's an even chicer look for the boardwalk in my opinion.

So will you wear a swimsuit in this ilk this year? You'll find me strolling next to the Atlantic as much as possible this summer...in chic shorts, of course. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Cool Blues

Do these pieces scream summer or what? J.Crew rolled out its June arrivals a tad early and these pieces really stood out in my mind. I love the aqua and navy blues paired with chartreuse the way J.Crew styled it in their lookbook below. It's exactly what I would wear these with aside from a white skirt or jeans. 

 image via J.Crew

So tell me- would you wear a giant crab across your torso? I sure as heck would! 

Happy Memorial Day weekend! Wishing you much fun in the sun!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Nibbles from Biscuit

image via

Friends, if you haven't sneaked a peek at the home decor from Biscuit yet, then now is your chance! The Houston-based Biscuit, headed up by the uber-talented Bailey McCarthy, houses some of the quirkiest and cutest homegoods around. Bailey started the store with a line of bedding she designed and it has quickly grown into not only several new seasons of her bedding line but also selling recognizable favorites from Jonathan Adler, Mottahedah and Loren Hope just to name a few. Today through Wednesday, if you shop Biscuit online, you'll get 20% off with code BISCUIT20. Go now and prepare to spend at least an hour drooling! 

Don't forget to check out Bailey's design blog, Peppermint Bliss. Girl's got talent!!!

Designer Showhouse

The Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County recently put a call out to the area's talented interior designers to create the first ever Arts Council Designer Showhouse. Every room in the house was decorated by a different local design group. The house was open to tour from May 2 to May 18 and I finally got to see it myself Sunday. So you know I had to share with all of you my favorite parts!

The foyer was decorated by the lovely ladies of Birds of a Feather Design. (You might have read about them a time or two on this blog or maybe you read their blog yourself!) The foyer greeted us with a definitive Chinoiserie vibe to create a stylish and functional space.

The Li-Lo (library/lounge) was reportedly the one space that every designer wanted but The Nest landed it. I must say this room was one of my favorites. The traditional curtains, modern chrome desk and wire zebra art hung above the velvet chaise made the space for me...   

Another one of my favorite rooms was this gorgeous living room designed by Paysage. Its color scheme was so soft and serene and those arched French doors just beg to be swung wide open on a beautiful spring day.

The bright and cheery dining room was designed by Event Chair and HGTV Design Star Meg Caswell. The china in her place settings coordinated so beautifully with the flame stitch fabric in the dining room chairs. I love their Chippendale style as well.

The kitchen, by Shipman Design Group, also housed one of my favorite pieces. The glass art installation served as a stunning backdrop behind the banquette in an otherwise traditional kitchen. I love a kitchen with a little glitz and am kicking myself for not photographing the jewel encrusted hardware. Oh yeah...crystals for your cabinets exist.

This man cave/family room was another one of my favorite spaces. Classic Design installed custom printed grasscloth against animal-esque striped curtains and I am obsessed with them! This room also had the most amazing artwork. I loved the deep indigo paint color that carried over into the bar. The bar also housed amazing lucite drawer hardware. A little glamour in a masculine space never hurt anybody!

McKenzie-Baker Interiors wallpapered the ceiling in the powder room, wrapped steel around the barreled wall in the studio and added some pizzazz to the laundry area with zebra wallpaper. I loved their innovation and attention to unexpected detail! (PS- the striped wallpaper in the powder room is ultra-durable vinyl!!)

Blue Hand Home installed silver nailheads to grasscloth wallpaper in one bedroom and created a glam workspace out of a closet. I think I could sleep well in this space...

The other guest bedroom by Teal Design was a clean and serene space. The metal light fixture and glass orbs definitely stole the show for me!

The master bedroom housed a fabulous dressing area decorated by Red Door Designs. I would love for my clothes to live in this much space! The feathered light fixtures offered a quirky touch but I loved that leather pull-apart ottoman! 


I would be thrilled if the Arts Council decided to do another showhouse next year! The amount of work and coordination this must have taken is certainly not lost on me!! Did you make it to the showhouse this year? If not, is an event like this one something you'd be interested in? 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spring Wardrobe Essentials For Guys!

Ladies love to talk fashion but has anyone else noticed lately that the guys are really starting to pipe up? There are really only three guys in my life that I ever shop for- my dad, who loves everything we pick out for him no matter what; my bruuuuutherrrr (aka brother-in-law), who has very specific mountain man taste; and my beau, who never saw a picnic table shirt he didn't like and feels very safe there. (Sorry, honey, it's true.) Imagine my surprise when the guys at work started talking fashion and coming to me with questions. Admittedly, I know very little about men's fashion but what I do know is that where I live, we lead a very casual lifestyle. It gets quite warm this time of year and we have to keep in mind that the beach is nearby even if we don't actually have our toes in the sand. So here are 11 top picks for the dudes on the East Coast and anywhere else for that matter! If you have these pieces, your bases will be covered for spring.

1, 2, 3- Collared short sleeve shirts- These can either be polo shirts or button down shirts. The key in this case is the fabric choice. You can wear a check, a plaid, a stripe, gingham, a solid...those are all perfectly acceptable. What is not acceptable- except for at a theme party or tiki bar- is a Hawaiian shirt or any other "ironic" pattern and NEVER is it ever acceptable for any shirt you put on to be polyester or other synthetic blend. Look for cotton (seersucker acceptable) and linen cotton blends. (If you're a cool alt dude, wear this shirt unbuttoned and layer over a band t-shirt or option 4/5.)

4, 5- Solid v-neck tees- V-necks are your friends, guys. They will give the doughiest dough boy some muscle definition and flatter most male body types. These are the tees you throw on for your Saturday runs to Home Depot or post-work dog walks. Leave your stained, torn and holey college t-shirts in the drawer or wear them to cut grass. 

6- Casual chino pants- While khaki is my preferred color of choice, any neutral will do. And if you have several neutral pairs of pants already, then branch out into a cobalt blue or nantucket red if that's your style. Regardless, these are your lightweight denim alternative that are also dressier than a pair of shorts. Invest here! 

7- Classic loafers- I happen to love a driving moc for a lady or gentleman. Wear whatever loafer you feel comfortable in. I bought my beau these Sperry mocs and they look great in the summertime with jeans or khakis. When warm weather calls for dressy casual occasions, these are a guy's best friend. Socks optional. 

8- Casual sneakers- Tennis shoes have come a long way, baby. A sporty sneaker will keep you comfortable while you're on the go and look just as good with jeans as they will with shorts. Black high tops are a no-go. Keep the look classic and sporty. These aren't actually to be your running shoes either. Preserve their good looks by keeping them more street style and less street ball. (Solid colored Toms also an acceptable alternative if sneakers aren't your thing.)

9- Sandals- I realize this "mandals" suggestion can be quite controversial but I have no problem with a guy wearing flip flops or sandals. Maybe it's because we live at the beach but it would be criminal to see a male cohort walking around Wrightsville Beach in a full lace up sneaker. Rainbows would be my top choice but if you prefer to keep your tootsies camouflaged, then check out Sanuks. (Love these for girls too!)

10, 11- Chino shorts- You'd be amazed at how many guys say they don't own a pair of shorts. How do you live through this Southern heat?! Guys, get some shorts but keep them classic. Just like the shirts in 1 through 3, the fabric is the key here. Cotton is about the only acceptable option. Say no to bulky pleats. Start with neutrals, such as khaki, stone or navy, and then if you get adventurous, dabble with a seersucker stripe or madras plaid. Remember the latter two options are VERY summery. 

Shop the post below and comment with any questions! 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Art Of Letting Go

Warning: This post is a major tearjerker and has nothing to do whatsoever with fashion. Read at your own risk.

Saying goodbye to someone you love is the hardest thing you'll ever have to do. You want to hold on and keep them close for as long as possible. You want to fight what the universe has placed upon you. It's not fair. It's not fun and it's not easy. At the end of a life well-lived, what happens to your loved one just isn't up to you after a certain point. And at that point, the best thing you can do for yourself and for your beloved is let go. 

Today our beautiful angel Grace joined the angels and "bark-angels" of Heaven. Our sweet eleven-year-old girl bravely fought cancer for at least five months. The vet caught it in December but it was so advanced that there were no options for her health except to spoil her rotten! Before she was sick, Grace was an avid squirrel chaser, lover of all lotions/smelly smells, professional water wader and kindest cuddle bug. I've loved a few dogs in my life but Grace was the sweetest and by far the most sensitive. I attribute these personality traits to the love given to her by her father, my beau, before I had the pleasure of meeting them six years ago. She was his buddy and he was hers.

 Grace was already five when I was blessed to receive her into my life (but from what I hear was a darn cute puppy). She taught my then-puppy Penny the ropes of being a big dog- how to bark at passersby, how to lick the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and, yes, even how to tree squirrels. 

Grace's exit today was a peaceful one and for that I am so grateful. While we are certainly devastated by this loss, we are so grateful for the wonderful time spent with her. I can only attribute grief to the measure of how much you loved. She knew she was loved by us and we knew she loved us back. Today our hearts are heavy but she remains there always.

Letting go is an art. It's a beautiful craft that can never be perfected. After we've fought the good fight and laughed and loved and had our time, all that's left is to release and treasure the memories. It was my natural inclination to resist losing Grace- to want to hold on as tight as I could as long as I could. But this resistance does no one any good. Like Noah released the raven to find dry land so must we release our loved ones here on earth to find Heaven. 

Today, I know my grandfather and Geoff's grandfather, avid dog lovers, greeted Grace at the Pearly Gates. She was also most certainly greeted by those four legged friends who came into our lives before her. Today she can finally relax and be at peace. 

My Heaven is a place where all the dogs I've ever loved are gathered in one place and I with them. Until we get to see our beloveds again, we treasure the memories, go forth with gladness and remain open to receiving love henceforth. I love you, sweet girl. Thank you for loyalty, bravery and love.

Grace Gregg 
09/09/03 - 05/01/14