Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Napa Adventure for Geoff's 30th bday!

Vacation is too short and infrequent when you own your own business.  I always want to make sure I'm doing it right so here are my notes on Napa just in case there are other vacation deprived folks out there who are wondering how much is too much in Napa!  Wish I could go back this week...

Stayed:  Napa Westin, in Napa
What we liked about Napa:  it’s the biggest town in the valley so there are plenty of things to do at night.  We loved the Westin because if you didn’t want to do anything, it was quite and peaceful anyway and had a great pool, lounge, and hotel dining options.

July 28th Day 1:  Fly into San Fran and hang out downtown
            Arrive at 2pm and upgrade rental car to a cheesy but awesome Mitsubishi convertible then struggle to stuff luggage into the backseat and non-existent trunk
            Walk around and grab a snack in San Fran

            Drinks at Zeitgeist-cool place but I think I got high off of second hand smoke at 5:30 on a Thursday afternoon – California J
            Dinner at Chilango - great Mexican place within a 10 min walk
            Drive to Napa around 8:30pm and pass out!

July 29th Day 2 – Driving tour of Napa Valley
            8:30am – workout at hotel
            11:00 am Cake bread tasting and food pairing in Rutherford, CA (part of the napa valley
            Lunch at the pizza part of Tra Vigne and walk around St. Helena, Ca
            3:30pm – Olive oil tasting at Round Pound Rutherford CA
            5:30 – Somerston Wine Co tasting and cheese plate (groupon), Yountville, CA
            Dinner at Oxbow market

July 30th Day 3 – Wine tasting on Bikes!
            Sleep in!
            Breakfast at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, CA.  Amazing – must visit!
            10:00 – farmers market in Calistoga to pick up a picnic lunch
            10:15am – check in at Calistoga bike shop to get itinerary and bikes for the day and our self guided wine tour!
            10:45am – geoff rides around trying to get used to a non-competitive bike and we check out the real Calistoga

I'm already seeing double!  Geoff can never do anything slowly :)
            11:15am – Lava Vine – great small vineyard!
            Noon – Dutch Henry – skip it!
            12:45 – Frank Family – I had heard great things so we added this to the tour even though it wasn’t included in the price of the bike rental.  It was one of my top 3 vineyards for sure!  Amazing wine, amazing grounds.  We had our picnic here and it was great!  They let us share a tasting so it was $15/person for their fabulous reserve wines!
Our picnic lunch courtesy of the Calistoga Farmers Market!  Hummus, wheat pita, Smoked Salmon, strawberries, raspberries, and white raspberries.  Geoff is half bear!
Beautiful picnic grounds leading right up to the grapes at Frank Family!

Happy Geoff at Frank Family!
            2pm-decide to try to get up one of the biggest hills just for fun at the “castle”.  The winery was a tourist trap but we got up the hill!

I think the large hill wiped the smile off Geoff's face.
We had perfect weather the entire time we were there!  Can I go back now?
            3pm – Twomy.  I swear I had heard of their wines and was incredibly disappointed by our tasting, the atmosphere and the women pouring the wine.  They were not pleasant and quite bitter.  The wine wasn’t much better I thought
            3:45pm – biked by another vineyard and we discovered we were tipsy
            4:15pm – back to Calistoga bike shop to turn in the bikes and get some ice cream.
            4:45pm drove back on the parallel rd to 29 and flew home
            5:30-7pm – pool time!
            8:30 – drinks at Fish Story followed by dinner at Zuzu tapas – skip the tapas place-more fried food than needed!

July 31st- spa day!
            11:00am – spa date in Calistoga at Golden Haven Hot springs

This is their explanation…

At Calistoga’s Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa, couples can enjoy the mud baths together. Each of our treatment rooms accommodate two persons so you can share this wonderful Napa Valley spa experience in privacy with your companion only a few inches away. And, if there are 3 of you, and you all wish to do your mud baths together, we can also accomodate groups of 3 in a private treatment room.
Calistoga mud baths have been a tradition, a way of life since the time of the Mayacamas Indians. The combination of clay, peat and hot springs mineral waters in the mud bath relaxes muscles and joints, detoxifies, and leaves the skin soft and renewed.

The treatment begins as you immerse yourself into your individual tub of warm mud. This is the premier Calistoga spa experience.

Your mud bath includes a nourishing clay mask that cleanses and softens the skin.

Relax as the mud treatment detoxifies, soothes aching muscles and leaves you feeling fresh and renewed.

After your mud bath you enjoy a refreshing hot springs mineral water shower.

Next is your private hot Jacuzzi using Calistoga hot springs mineral water.

Your treatment ends in the blanket wrap room as you relax under the attentive care of our trained staff.

When your mud bath is over, you might be in the mood for a soothing massage or herbal facial. Or perhaps, a few laps in our pool. But no matter what you choose to do after your Calistoga mud bath, you will have known true relaxation by enjoying the premier natural and detoxifying Napa Valley spa treatment loved by thousands each year.

Might have been the grossest experience of my life and I still can’t believe we did it– skip it!

Tried to buy a picnic and have lunch at Via Sattui but it was swarming with people so I started to get cranky and geoff got the message.  We went up the road instead and bought a picnic at dean and duluca and walked over to halls and bought a bottle of wine and enjoyed our picnic.  Hall’s was very nice and had a cute little outdoor area although not the prettiest grounds we’d seen.

3pm-vincent arroyo- best wines!  We called 20 minutes before we got there without a reservation and they let us in.  82 acre vineyard and the wines are outta this world!
4:15pm  tried to stop by pima but they closed at 4 – sad- that was our friends favorite.  I guess next time!

5-7pm pool/book/family phone call time
9pm birthday dinner at Morimoto – the iron chefs place

August 1st – fly home – sad!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Amazing Portrait collar Evie Blouse

I don’t know if you’ve had a chance yet, but for fall, we have the most amazing button down, portrait collar blouse – the Evie.

Portrait collars are very flattering for every body type as it draws attention to the neck and face.  A portrait collar   typically allows for great jewelry which just adds to the interest in your neckline area.  Another great detail on our Evie blouse is the beautiful lace placket detail.  Lace is a big trend for Fall and I think by adding it in an interesting way that won’t over power the shirt, is a great way to follow a trend while still being appropriate and making a good investment in a garment that won’t go out of style when the trend leaves.

As always, our Evie blouse is made from the highest quality fabric and has beautiful French seams, shell buttons, and a three quarter sleeve that can be flipped up or left down. 

I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tonight is Pretty in Pilsen! Can’t make it? Save online instead!

August Pretty in Pilsen Details:

What:  Shop your favorites including: Kate Boggiano, Objets d’Envy jewelry, ColeHaddon Showroom, and Anna Hovet. Be there for the unveiling of the fall collections from these amazing designer studios! 
Where:  2150 S. Canalport Ave., 3rd, 4th, and 5th Floors, in Pilsen, Chicago.
When: Thursday, August 11th 2010, 5:30pm-8pm

With the end of summer fast approaching, it’s time to fall forward with a first look at the new season trends! Think cozy knits, great jackets, beautiful dresses, and all the essentials to revamp your fall wardrobe. Enjoy a pleasantly peaceful shopping experience without the hustle and bustle of a big store. Meet the designers and receive their insider knowledge about the best looks this fall. 

Not ready to bid summer fashions a temporary farewell? Indulge your inner warm-weather goddess by shopping the end of summer markdowns! With prices this great, you won’t be able to resist (all spring and summer is 40% off for Pretty in Pilsen attendees!

As an added bonus, many of the designer studios have secret sample racks with really great finds. Stop by early for the best selection, with prices as low as $30.

Whether you’re ready to wrap yourself in autumnal hued outfits or still searching for that perfect summer dress, “Pretty in Pilsen—Fall Forward” has something to love for everyone. Carpool with your girlfriends for a fun Thursday night shopping in the lofty Pilsen building that houses so much of Chicago’s amazing design talent! 

Can’t make it to our studio?  That’s ok!  We just did our end of season markdowns online and things are flying out the door!  Make sure to claim your favorites before they are gone forever!

Jackie Dress
Was: $219
Now: $120.45
Rosa Ruffle Tank
Was: $129
Now:  $90.30
Sleeveless Diana
Was:  $165.00
Now:  $82.50
Have a good one and I hope to see you!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Indie Shopping experience online!

Being a smaller independent designer, I’m all for shopping local!  If you can’t always make it to your favorite local boutique that’s ok – you can still shop great indie fashion in the comfort of your own home (or office).  One of my favorite sites to find some of the best up and comers is called Smashing Darling.

Smashing Darling is all about emerging Desingers!

“Founded by Julie Rorrer and Trish Ginter, a fashion designer herself, SmashingDarling is the online destination for anything new and emerging fashion, bringing together independent fashion designers with individuals who seek a unique fashion edge. With over 300 designer boutiques and new and exciting fashion added daily, both designers and fashion lovers can find just what they need—what they always dreamed of—right here at”
Taken from their About Us section

Not only is Smashing Darling supporting and filling and important and needed gap in the marketplace online, they also have a great and easy to use website. You can shop by boutique or designer, clothing type (sweater, blouse etc), vintage, jewelry etc.
Our boutique on Smashing Darling
Lots of categories to choose from!

They also have a great blog that highlights some of their favorite designers, pieces, and local events that you should definitely check out to learn more about emerging fashion!

Click here to sign up to receive emails from them and show your darling side!  

Have a Great Weekend.  I’ll be in the studio pretty much all weekend fixing a production problem except for my 10 am free Cross Fit workout.  More on production problems and how to fix them next week and you can sign up for the free Atlas Cross fit Work out of the day or (WOD) with me for Saturday at 10am by clicking here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The quest for the perfect Women’s Tunic.

So thanks to Tory Burch (and a small army of stylists, wardrobe consultants, and less successful designers before her) the women’s tunic is a known and needed staple in any woman’s wardrobe.  But how and why did it get to be so needed?

According to Wikipedia, a Tunic is:
A tunic is any of several types of clothing for the body, of various lengths reaching from the shoulders to somewhere between the hips and the ankles. The name derives from the Latin tunica commonly worn by both men and women in Ancient Rome, which in turn is based on earlier Greek garments.
The Roman tunica was worn by citizens and non-citizens alike; citizens, though, might wear it under the toga, especially at formal occasions. The length of the garment, the presence or lack of stripes, as well as their width and ornamentation, would indicate the wearer's status in Roman society. Soldiers, slaves and manual workers generally had tunics to a little above the knee; those in more sedentary occupations to about the ankle (unless they were expecting to ride a horse, when a shorter one would be worn).”
So I guess Tory wasn’t responsible for the invention, merely the popularity of this ancient garment into modern times.  Tunics are still found today in uniforms and among religious groups but why are they so popular now?  It appears to me that women’s tunics became popular right around the same time that skinny jeans and leggings started to regain popularity.  Tunics allow real women a reasonable option to pair with both skinny jeans and leggings as well as a fashionable top that is less restrictive and revealing as knit tops can be.
How do I find my perfect Women’s Tunic 

a.      Shape is always the most important piece to evaluate when choosing a tunic top or any top for that matter.  Know what works for you best and follow these basic guidelines:
                                                               i.      Apple- Undefined waist
1.      You look great in: Tops and jackets with structured shoulders and/or shoulder pads, monochromatic outfits, tops with ornamental detail at the neckline, straight pants and skirts.
2.      You should avoid: highly tailored clothing, high necklines, tapered pants and skirts, belts or anything attracting attention to the waist such as tucked in blouses, and large patterned fabrics.
                                                             ii.      Inverted Triangle – Top heavy with broad shoulders, large bust, and narrow hips
1.      You look great in: lower necklines, a- line skirts and dresses, bracelet length sleeves, and flowing fabric.
2.      You should avoid:  Big collars and high necklines, tops or dresses emphazing the shoulders.
                                                            iii.      Hourglass – Hips and shoulders are about the same width and a well defined waist.          
1.      You look great in:  well tailored clothing with defined waists, lower necklines, and straight or slightly flared pants, skirts and dresses.
2.      You should avoid:  Baggy or classic cut clothing, and tapered pants for the most part.
3.      Perfect Women’sTunic: 
                                                           iv.      Pear – Narrower shoulders and wider hips.
1.      You look great in:  tops with ornamentation, structured shoulders or shoulder pads, and a hemline that is shorter than the widest part of your hips, high necklines, clothing with a well defined waist, skirts and dresses that are straight or slightly flared, and straight or slightly boot cut pants.
2.      You should avoid:  longer shirts that fall to your body’s widest point, baggy garments, tapered pants
3.      Perfect Women’sTunic: 
                                                            v.      Straight and Narrow – bust and hips are about the same and an undefined waist with slim legs and arms.
1.      You look great in: wrap dresses, a-line shirts and tops, short sleeves and sleeveless tops  and dresses.
2.      You should avoid:  The extremes – super tailored clothing and baggy clothing.
3.      Perfect Women’sTunic: 
Blouses with stretch wrinkle less and fit better.
Find a blouse
 that has stretch in it. I would advise keeping the other 1+ natural fibers for a nicer hand and a better wear/look to the blouse. Our light weight stretch fabric that makes up our Violet Women’s Tunic is 68% cotton, 28% nylon, and 4% spandex and has a great hand (soft not polyester feeling), comes in amazing colors (nylon holds dye the best of all fabrications), and best of all can be laundered at home in your washing machine and line dried with minimal wrinkling. Fabric that has stretch has give and is far more comfortable even if it’s worn a little tight to the body and wrinkles less then anything that is 100% fiber.
Length is a size, shape, location, and age appropriate question.  As a general rule, tunics should be longer when paired with tighter fitting bottoms and can be shorter when paired with looser fitting bottoms, a shorter tunic can be appropriate depending on shape and size.  If you are choosing to wear a tunic with skinny jeans or leggings, we recommend the tunic length coming to at least your finger tips when standing with arms by your sides.
Making sure that your tunic is able to look different and be dressed up or down with jewelry or shoes is very important and should be considered when making the purchase.  In order to make your tunic top as versatile as possible, ask yourself: Can I change the look and feel of the tunic  with jewelry?  How about a belt? 

Although they are popular and for good reason,  a well thought out purchase that is shape, length, and age appropriate in the right fabric and is easily accessorized will yield a perfect purchase, happy wearer, and a great cost per wear ratio (total cost of the item/estimated days worn = cost per wear)

Example our Violet Tunic is $249.00 if you wear it 1 time every 3 weeks for 3 years, the cost per wear is $4.88 per wear.  Pretty affordable especially when considering our construction, fabric quality, and design aesthetic will last much longer than 3 years.

Happy Shopping!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy 30th Birthday Geoff!

 Me visiting Geoff in LA when he lived there circa 2007 (He looks so young!)
Geoff post completion of his 1st half Ironman in Ocenside in 2007
Making it to the summit of Mt. Shasta AND meeting my dad for the 1st time - he looks a little nervous :)
Me and Geoff with his Dad in 2007
Sumo Wrestlers for Halloween 2009
So today is Geoff’s 30th birthday!  He loves to make fun of me for being a whopping 6 weeks older but today, he enters his 4th decade along with me.  I can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store.

To celebrate, I planned a long weekend to Napa Valley (which we are still hopefully enjoying- I pre-wrote this post so I could avoid bringing a computer on our trip!).  Details and a vacation recap coming soon.

Till then – Happy Birthday to the most patient man I’ve ever met.  I’m glad you were born and couldn’t imagine life without you!

Love, Kate