Friday, January 30, 2015

What is Luxury?

What do you think of as luxury? Is it a fancy dinner? A great shopping trip? One of my kids was writing an essay for school about the differences between luxury and necessity and had to interview 5 people about their opinions as part of the project. When I was younger I would have said shopping and the perfect wardrobe. But as I get a bit older, or mature whichever you prefer, I think that the definition of luxury is harder to pin down. Time is often something I think of as a luxury. I work full time and have three kids and the resulting volunteer obligations that go with that. So some days the definition of luxury would be sleeping until I woke up and then going for a run and then reading and relaxing as opposed to leaping out of bed for an all day baseball or lacrosse tournament. Some days, just knowing my kids are healthy and doing well in their respective schools is a luxury. Sitting down on a Sunday night knowing the laundry is done, the house is clean and lunches are packed for Monday morning is a luxury. I think the concept of luxury is fluid. It's being able to spot it in the little things and realize that it does not have to come from money spent that is important. How about you?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Thoughtful Purchase

One of my goals this year and beyond is to purchase less but when making a purchase, to buy the best I can with an eye to quality and timelessness. I have much discussed foot and ankle issues and only wear flat shoes to the office these days. The beautiful green flats caught my eye during the end of year clearance sale at Brooks Brothers. Originally $298, I was able to get them for about $75 dollars which is an insane price. They are totally gorgeous, made of leather and leather lined as well as soled and comfortable. Not to mention this dark green is one of my favorite colors, summer and winter because it goes so well with navy. Win!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Afternoon Tea

I love the ritual of afternoon tea. Whenever I give a shower, whether baby or bridal, I do a tea. When I travel to hotels with a "tea tradition" I love to make a reservation for tea. On of my most memorable teas was when we stayed at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC on  my honeymoon. The Empress web site describes it as follows:

 A time honoured tradition for over a century, the world renowned tea lobby of The Fairmont Empress has served England’s most beloved ritual and Victoria's grandest tradition of Afternoon Tea to famed royalty, celebrities and dignitaries alike. Surrounded by rich chintz fabrics, antiqued tapestries and rugs, elegant wing back chairs, vintage furnishings and hand-carved tables, the picturesque backdrop of the Inner Harbour provides the quintessential Victoria experience to all who grace Afternoon Tea.

Chef and Team serve hand-made signature Empress scones, delectable pastries and tea sweets prepared in house daily, reflecting locally sourced ingredients to ensure an authentically memorable experience. From the original blend of The Empress Tea created specifically for The Fairmont Empress, served in dainty William Edwards china and sterling silver service to the enchanting ambiance of the live piano, Afternoon Tea is an absolute 'must do' for all who visit Victoria.

They use the beautiful china above. My husband gave me this cute "tea for one" set on our first anniversary.
The tea they serve is also delicious. It is a blend of organic seasonal quality tea that was specially created for afternoon Tea at The Empress. The Assam component (2nd flush June production) gives a thick, malty and full-bodied character; the Kenya (Nandi region, January production) and Tanzania (Usambara region, January production) components give floral-like flavor and a golden coppery infusion; the South Indian component (Nilgiri mountains, January production) gives superb fruity and sprightly flavor with a lovely finish; the Ceylon (Dimbula region, January production) gives an airy, almost piquant, flavor that opens the blend; and the China (Anhui province, April production) gives a burgundy depth with light oaky notes. Truly one of the world's great teas! I buy this regularly from the Fairmont Store online and love it! What are your feeling about "tea time"?

Friday, January 16, 2015

What I do Like

I've posted a lot recently about what I'm not liking or seeing fashion wise so I thought I should so one on what I do like. These images are all from The Vivienne Files. A wonderful blog about quality and carefully curated items. I highly recommend her Starting From Scratch series. The base of my closet is navy and grey. I highlight with dark green, red and black watch plaid items. I've really be focusing on making sure I really need something and that it is the best quality I can afford before I purchase. Overall, the look I like is clean, classic and pulled together. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I'm sorry, what?

This are just two pictures I chose that illustrate my continued disillusionment with J Crew. It used to be my favorite place to shop. Their button downs and skirts as well as blazers were my favorite. I have a navy and a grey school boy blazer from the first season. Now it's just, well icky, for lack of a better word. Maybe I am to old? But those messy hair, super skinny rumpled looks do not inspire me. What about you?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Whither the Turtleneck?

I don't know about you but I love to wear turtlenecks. I like the tissue weight ones from J Crew for layering but my special love is the merino wool or cashmere ones in the winter. I wear them with my dress pants or with wool pencil skirts. They are a winter mainstay for me and I don't even live where it gets freezing cold. Still, these are getting harder to find. I also noticed a discussion on a fashion blog I visit about what to wear in colder weather which all of you everywhere but the West Coast seem to be having and wool turtlenecks were considered "over"? Not that I really care because I'm going to wear them anyway but is that true?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Word For 2015

Every year I seem to make the same resolutions. I swear I'm going to eat better, run more, and so on and so on, you get the picture. This year I am trying to simplify everything and focus on what matters. I tend to have a lot going on between work, family and my volunteer obligations. Yes, I am a sucker for volunteering, especially at the kids schools. I currently am the PTA president and carnival at the elementary school my youngest attends and the 8th grade dance chair at the middle school. Fortunately, this is our last year in elementary school, next year both the younger ones will be in middle school and my oldest will be in high school, wow am I old. Anyway, back to the point. In the spirit of simplicity, rather than a series of goals for 2015, I am have decided to chose one word that stands for my focus in 2015. There could be a lot "mini goals" involved in the one word but that's not the point. This year my focus is "Enjoy". I tend to be an anxious person and see to spend so much time rushing and worrying that it often seems I'm not enjoying where I am now. My father recently was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and I want to enjoy the time remaining. My kids are growing up fast, I want to enjoy being with them. I've been married 20 years, I want to enjoy that. I have lots to enjoy and I'm going to try and focus on it in 2015. What about you?