21 June 2012

Midsummer Magic

It’s Midsummer again and the longest days of the year are upon us.  Midsummer is celebrated around the day of the summer solstice. The actual date for the celebration varies year to year between 19 to 25 June since it is always celebrated on a Friday.  

Summers in Scandinavia are especially memorable as the sun never sets leaving long hours to fest.  Think Maypole dancing, lots of “Skåling” with Schnapps and Aquavit, eating gads of food, and perhaps some skinny dipping too!

What to wear pole dancing Scandinavian style?  Crisp white cotton is always the perfect choice, and if you are a “Fröken” top it off with a handmade crown of flowers. The Midsummer Pole is also decorated in fresh flowers and birch bouquets.

Midsummer is a festival of love and fertility. More babies are conceived on this day than any other day of the year in Scandinavia.  Why not with magical ways to find your love match? 

Girls will pick seven different kinds of flowers for their crown which is placed under their pillow to dream about their future partner.  If you roll around naked in the fields on the Midsummer morning, you’ll have a great marriage. If you gaze into a pond water under the moon’s glow during the Midsummer night, you’ll see a reflection of your one true love. (Best to bring that love along for the gazing ritual).

After the dancing everyone dines on Gravlax, boiled new potatoes, herring and fresh strawberries. Don’t be surprised if you are called to share a song or a joke followed a down the hatch shot of schnapps. 

Gravlax   This is easy to make at home! 

  • 1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1-pound salmon fillet, skin on
  • 1 cup chopped fresh dill, divided top and bottom
Mustard Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • sugar to taste

  1. Mix together salt, sugar, and cracked peppercorns in a mortar and pestle.
  2. Rub it into both sides of a beautiful skin-on cut of fish 
  3. Completely cover the fish with a thick layer of fresh chopped dill. 
  4. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap 
  5. Place in container large enough to fit (I purchased a professional oversized cake pan just for gravlax making) 
  6. Place weights on top (Go into your garden and start collecting stones, bricks etc) 
  7. Refrigerate for 24 - 36 hours turning every 6 hours.
When it's done, you simply scrape off the dill and slice it paper thin.
Blend Sauce ingredients adding oil slowly.

17 June 2012

Upcycled Looks to Dye For

There is nothing I enjoy more than taking an old piece of clothing and upcycling it into something new, fun, and fashionable to wear.  One of the easiest ways to change a piece of clothing is to dye it a new color, and an interesting twist on that is tie dying.

The great thing about the tie dye trend is that it is extremely versatile and can be worn in anything from a full-length tie dye dress to purses and crop tops that are smaller but still pack a powerful punch. There are options to create color from fruit and vegetable dyes and also tie dye products that are more environmentally friendly than traditional tie dye kits, which make this kind of diy project a fun, no-brainer.

I like tie dying because it offers a lot of options for change; you can do any number of designs, from the traditional spiral to more open designs like scrunching and free hand painting. You can take clothes that no longer work for a number of reasons like size, style and color, and use a few colors of dye and a few snips of the scissors to create something totally new.  You can even use the dye to cover stains or colors that simply no longer meet your taste preferences. 

At first, dying clothes may seem intimidating, but since if you're only using clothes that are no longer worn, it's not a huge problem if the first few tries are less than perfect.  I had quite a few random white tanks in different shapes and styles that made the perfect template for figuring out how I wanted to create the new pieces.  I saved the better quality items for later when I was sure how I wanted things to look. 

I found that dying a basic white tank is really fun, because it can be made into a colorful top that is fits well in many different types of outfits.  I really like the combination of a tie dye top with a solid colored, classically shaped bottom, because it helps to work the tie dyed accessory into the outfit, without overdoing it or creating a look that is unflattering. 

One of my favorite things to do is to make crop tops.  Crop tops are right on par for trendiness and very easy to make.  I dyed an existing crop top that I had because I didn't love the color, but a crop top can also be made very easily from a pre-existing top that is no longer wearable as a full shirt but makes a nice piece with slight alterations.

I made several other colorful shirts, and I really like how well they work with solid bottoms. I liked to pair the tops with pencil skirts and jeans and a color that matched the shirt, but I also think it would be interesting to see what could be done with some more mixing and matching. 


My most anticipated project of the group was this piece, the purple tie dyed pants.  I've been loving the tie dyed skinny jean look and other runway pieces and I wanted to try for a similar look.  I decided to dye a pair of flared leg white jeans, because I didn't have a white straight legged pair to spare, and I wanted to use only clothes I already had in my closet, and I really like how the jeans turned out. 

Another outfit that I really like involved a simple tank top coloring. A basic white tank makes quite the statement  paired with classic white pants and colorful accesories. The bright colors and sunny accessories make the perfect daytime look for any summer occasion.

You can even use your tie dye creations to create an outfit for a night on the town. Throw a newly dyed top over a body con dress with a single color and add a neon waist-cinching belt for a look that is both funky and fun. I used another one of the many tanks I dyed to create this nighttime look.


For a more office appropriate outfit featuring tie dye, here is another one of the basic tanks I dyed.  It turned out a lot simpler and less aesthetically pleasing in my opinion than some of the other pieces, but I found that you can pretty much make an of your tie dyed pieces work as part of a fashionable ensemble, as long as you create the right mix.  For pieces like this, I find it most important to match them with structured, well tailored pieces to get the right look.

I found my favorite outfit in this last piece. An unused, oversized or slightly long white t-shirt was the perfect piece for upcycling.  Not only can you color it however you like, you can also use cutting and sewing to utilize the excess fabric for creation of something totally different.  My shirt was on the shorter side, so I chose to create a cut-out mini dress.  The cut-outs on the sides and on the back of the dress make it the perfect way to play with the cut out trend, without investing in a major piece. 

15 June 2012

When Litter Is A Good Thing

Having previously posted on the glamour of Baz Lurhmann's Gatsby, I developed a fascination with jewelry headpieces after looking at so many movie stills. That fascination led me to a greater interest in body jewelry. I'm not talking lip or belly button rings. Rather, bracelets that wind up the arm and necklaces that can almost double as vests. What I discovered with most of my findings was that the body jewelry functioned as a kind of extension or accent to the clothing and wasn't really a completely separate entity, even though they could definitely hold their own.

Litter, a company based in San Francisco, prides itself in making body jewelry by repurposing jewelry pieces found at flea markets and thrift stores. What I like about this company is that not only do the owners have an eye for finding ordinary jewelry and making it into something extraordinary, but also how they photograph their designs. So often do I look at jewelry which has been photographed against a white backdrop and it's looks so unappealing. In the case of Litter, they almost have no other choice than to create inspiring photos so potential buyers know how to wear the jewelry and their items come off as appealing as opposed to a ball of chain.

Even though some of the pieces might look like they were made from heavier materials, the end product doesn't come off that way when worn. Instead, the construction of each piece make it appear delicate and more unassuming than loud and in your face. While most of the pieces are primarily silver, gold, or bronze, I think adding subtle colors would add another dimension to an already dynamic line. 

04 June 2012

Kitchenware I can approve of

Summer is the perfect time for small dinner parties or lunch gatherings and there is nothing better than having pretty glassware to greet your guests. I can't think of a better way to serve yummy treats than on colorful plates that speak for the hostess's style and specific taste. VivaTerra is one option I found that not only offers plenty of styles and colors for dinnerware, but also ones that are made from recycled materials, are biodegradable, and unique.

These Patterned Bamboo Plates are perfect for creating a warm eating environment and allow for a more minimalist setting. For a nighttime get-together, add some candles or hang bamboo lanterns to complement the colors and designs. 

Just like the bamboo plates, these cups and pitcher are sweet for a casual lunch, but can be romantic when used in a different atmosphere. 

There is also a to-go option with these whimsical thermoses, which are great for picnics or just taking your coffee or tea to work. 

But my favorite find might be the Agate Plates and Coasters

Talk about interesting and unique. The description says, 
"Cut and polished from raw Brazilian stones, these exquisite agates form when water flows through lava holes, depositing silica that adds to their shimmering beauty and stunning luminous colors."
How cool, right?

Even if throwing dinner or lunch parties is not your forte, there is no reason not to fill your kitchen cabinets with kitchenware that makes you feel good and you like to look at. Most of the plates and teacups I see on my shopping trips or ones that have successfully made it back home don't even see my kitchen and instead are used to sit my rings and other jewelry on. They are just too pretty to put food on...

01 June 2012

Snazzy Sneaks and Summer Wedges

Have you been looking for a vegan and retro shoe that matches seamlessly with summer trends? Well look no further! That dreamboat of a shoe is the Miz Mooz Warby, and it’s Infinity Shoe of the Week!

There's a rainbow of colors to choose from exclusively at Infinity
 This peep toe pump is an updated and distinctive take on the retro pump. The Warby features a lightly padded midsole that’ll get you from midtown Manhattan to the Meatpacking District without sacrificing any comfort.  

How could you possibly resist the Miz Mooz Petra, with cute and chunky buckle closure?
Just so hard to choose a favorite!!!

I also spied these sweet Dr. Martin vegan sneaks. Its the perfect boot with just the right amount of street attitude for your sunny weather wardrobe.

If you’ve never owned a pair of Dr. Martens, then you’ve been missing out on what are quite possibly the most durable, comfortable shoes—once they’ve been broken in.  The brand evokes images of the underground slam dancing and non-conformity, yet The Shoreditch high-top lace-up sneaker is a rebellion from their traditional steeltoe.

Irregular Choice is available at Infinity.com
Wedge sneakers are the latest trend for summer 2012. For a funky and affordable option, try out the Miz Mooz Takia Wedge. I am also just loving the floral peeptoe wedges by Irregular Choice. The femine Rococo-inspired designs by Irregular Choice are a great Vegan choice for summer. The UK brand is one of my favorites and is known for funky and unusual heels.
Check out the show of the month at Infinityshoes.com, a site that features 31 of favorite shoes on sale, that’s as many shoes as Baskin Robins has flavors and featured on Instyle News! Whether you’re looking for sandals, pumps, platforms, wedges or flats, there’s a shoe you will find your favorites at prices that can’t be beat.