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Love These

Fall at Disneyland - love the decorations

More cupcakes from Violet's

Red shoes

My coin necklace which I've been wearing with all my imposed colors

Bare Escentuals Exquisite Glimpse - The perfect neutral to wear with a lot of dark eyeliner


IFB Links a la Mode

So honored to be included this week.  Please check out everyone's blog.

Whether we realize it or not, we are all influenced by something, whether it be celebrities, trends or designs of the past. This week’s links a la mode celebrates influencers and the voices we create from our inspiration. As fashion bloggers, we have each other to look for when we are feeling uninspired and this community is something we should never take for granted!

Links à la Mode: July 28st

Alexander Wang Fall Sale at Shopbop: New Dresses , Jackets, Pants, Tee Shirts, Sweaters, Reviews, T by Alexander Wang, Wallets, Black Handbags, Shop Alexander Wang Bags

If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE. The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode group will be published later today. ~Jennine



I bought another bracelet that has a black ribbon.  Someone needs to stop me now.

Combined with another obsession - nude heels.


Brownie Bombs!

Natalie took an important test last week, and it made me decide that Thursday is a good day for a celebration, so I stopped by Violet's Cakes on my way home to pick up some treats.  Violet's makes the best cupcakes by far, and we've tried a lot of cupcakes.  They are always moist, flavorful, the icings are the best, and they are beautiful to look at as well.  The best proof to me though is that all of Violet's cupcakes can be turned into cakes and are just as delicious and beautiful.  When I was looking for someone to make our wedding cake, I was more concerned about having a delicious cake instead of one that was dry but looked good.  Violet's did an amazing job.

I picked out Brownie Bombs for our treat.

Brownie Bombs are a moist, dense, dark chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and a surprise in the center.

Somehow, someway, they bake a brownie in the middle of the cupcake and it stays so moist and delicious and doesn't overbake.

Can you see the bomb?


Eyeshadow That Does Not Crease - Really!

Over the weekend, I tried Buxom Stay There Eyeshadow.

This is a really unique cream eyeshadow that gives the vibrant color you expect in a cream with an amazing ability to stay in one place and not crease all day.

I tried Mutt

which is a pretty rosy brown color and which I thought would not be too overwhelming on my pale skin.

These pictures are after a morning spent walking to and around the Farmer's Market, waiting in line 30 minutes in the sun for Cesar the bread guy and then walking home.  Surprisingly, I could have applied a thicker layer, but there was definitely no creasing.


To Be or Not to Be

I'm really excited about the black and brown trend for fall.  At this point, I'm excited about everything for fall, and I'm ready for the hot weather to go away.  I already have a pair of brown and black sandals (you can see them in the photo behind my blog title) and a pair of black and brown riding boots.  I don't have a pair of black and brown booties though.

I found these

but they aren't quite what I was thinking.

What I really want are some Tommy Hilfiger duck booties.


Goodbye to an Old Friend

Ariana, Natalie, David and I went to our local Borders store in Arcadia yesterday to see what we could pick up at the liquidation sale before all the good stuff is gone.  Our local store had been spared so far through the rounds of store closings.  Ariana found the most books while I got two, and David found some magazines.  Both girls found new calendars also.  Our biggest score were puzzles which the girls have been doing during the day all summer.  They can piece together a 1000 piece puzzle in a day.  I picked a Breakfast at Tiffany's puzzle

and the kids found these mystery game puzzles

which each have a story and clues in the puzzle to help you solve the mystery.  Since we've been playing  a lot of Clue lately, these seemed like a good choice.

The line to check out wound from the front of the store all the way to the back, and I realized that it would have been nice to see people buying more books over the years instead of using Borders as a library where they could buy a cup of coffee and read books and magazines in the store without making a purchase.

But then I started to feel guilty.  My use of bricks and mortar bookstores is dramatically different than it was a few years ago.  I read a lot, and now buy most of my books through my Kindle or on-line.  I moved to the big box stores of Borders and Barnes and Noble years ago because of discounting even though I felt guilty for not supporting independent retailers, it was a matter of economy.  Five years ago, I was in Borders or Barnes and Noble at least once a week.  I read 87 books that year.

My life was very different five years ago, and reading and hiding in the bookstore was my way to escape from it all.  Ariana and I would go to the Borders in Pasadena and stay for hours, but we always brought treasures home with us.  I realized yesterday how special the Pasadena Borders was to me.  When I was pregnant and overdue, I was told that climbing stairs was a good way to get things moving along.  The Pasadena Borders had previously been a department store; I think it was a Neiman Marcus when I was little, and it had a large central staircase in the middle of the store.  I carried my very pregnant body up and down that staircase, and later that night, I went into labor.  Every year after the Rose Parade ended, I would bundle Ariana up and make an excursion there.  Everyone had best of New Year's Day spirits and resolutions, and I liked to be in the middle of such great expectations.  Later, as things got more troubled at home, we escaped there more and more frequently.  It was a happy port in the storm for us.

My life changed though.  I met the man of my dreams who loves and cares for me and who I am.  I don't need to escape from my home.  We've built a life together with our kids and our careers.  We've never been busier or happier.  I only read 33 books last year, and although I miss having the time to read, my life is so full of good stuff, it's a fair tradeoff.  There will be plenty of time to read later.

I've changed, but Borders didn't.  As other retailers realized that people prefer to buy on-line, Borders never really found a way to make that work for them.  I will miss Borders and what it meant for my daughter and me, but we will continue to make new memories.  We sit together now and troll through the recommendations that Amazon gives us.  We make wish lists, and I surprise her with orders when she doesn't expect them.  Books will always be a special part of our relationship.  We're just saying goodbye to the way we used to share them to make room for the way we share them now.


Love These

Bright blue toes

This old, dark, grainy picture of my husband who is sleeping through a movie.

Swag from Godiva

Oscar de la Renta booties - Tweed or beige, tweed or beige, tweed or beige?  In love with both...

How cool is this wire-wrap agate ring from Panacea?


The Challenge to Wear Less Black (And Grey, And Beige)

A long time ago, I found that it was easier to pick a core color pallet and build my wardrobe around it.  I would say that I have very classic taste, and a pallet of black, grey, beige and white lends itself to the type of clothes that I am most drawn towards.  I am so predictable though, my family has made this something of a long-running joke.  I even have people at work who tend to make comments such as, "I can't believe you aren't wearing black today," when color ventures into my choices.

So one night after dinner, I made a bet with my family that I would wear an outfit at least once a week that contained color.  You are probably scratching your head and saying "how hard could that be?"  Believe me, for me that takes a lot of effort. And in my world, brown and navy blue count as "color."

This outfit was the first after the deal was struck.  Can you tell I'm kind of pouty about it?

There's the pink necklace again.

I think these shoes will be great for fall: a colorful high heeled loafer.

And yes, that is a hair elastic around my wrist.  I always have one there and always forget I do.

I'll keep you posted on how the challenge is going.


Trend Rules

Today's Deep Thought - Today while I was driving, a man who was out for a run with his dog ran into the crosswalk of a busy street dog first without pausing to see if traffic was going to stop for them.  I wanted to take his dog away from him.

I have some very simple rules that I follow when I decide to buy into a trend:

1. Is it age appropriate for me? No jeggings on this lady.

2. The cheaper the better but always less than $100.

3. Try to find it with a twist.

When leather bracelets started showing up everywhere, I knew that I wanted to get one, but I wanted it to be different than the ones I saw most often which were wide cuffs with some kind of metal ornamentation such as studs or spikes.  I'm a little more classic and didn't think I could pull off something that tough.

It took me a long time to find one I finally settled on.

I really like the softness of this one and the multiple strand look of the leather.

Added bonus - it was only a few dollars at H&M.


Family Dinner

Today's Deep Thought - I find it pretentious that you refer to yourself as "upper class" in conversation.  Maybe the government classifies you that way, but why do you need to refer to yourself that way when you are discussing your "problems?"  As my mother always says, "Money doesn't buy class."

We only had two children with us for dinner on Saturday night, and despite Carmageddon, we decided to venture out for dinner.  We are a family of burger lovers, and our standing favorite is The Counter.  But I've been hearing great things about Umami Burger, so we decided to try it.

At The Counter, you make your burger, your way, with dozens of choices of meat, cheeses, toppings and buns.  The concept behind Umami Burger is that everyone can sense a fifth taste when they eat beyond sweet, sour, salty and bitter called umami.  The eponymous burger at Umami captures that fifth taste by combining a great beef patty with roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, a Parmesan crisp, sauteed Shiitaki mushrooms and a house-made ketchup.

I love the "Smile You're in Los Angeles" sign with the radar gun over Ariana's head.

I was the only one who actually ordered the Umami Burger.  David and James had the Manly burger with bacon lardons and beer cheddar cheese with onion strings, and Ariana had the SoCal burger.

The burgers were cooked to perfection, but everyone agreed that we still like The Counter better.

We ordered the sweet potato fries because that's one of our favorites at The Counter as well.

Interestingly, Umami serves their sweet potato fries sprinkled with brown sugar.

The fry that won the competition though was the truffle fry here.

Served with garlic aioli, these were amazing, but they were a special on Saturday night and aren't on the regular menu.

The kids were duly impressed by the Mexican Coke though.  They said it tastes better (sweeter) than regular Coke.

And all draft beer was on special that night for $4.05.  Get it? 405 - hah!


Warm Radiance

Today's Deep Thought - I had no deep thoughts yesterday.  But I never the left the house.  Coincidence, I think not.  

I cannot tan.  I spent years of my youth trying, and I tried every product.  I realized while I was still in my late teens that I simply could not get a suntan, so I gave up trying.  I'm not sure I have any less wrinkles because of it (OMG - what would I look like if I had tanned?), but I've learned over the years that conventional bronzers also will look orange, chalky or just cover me in brown.

I started using Bare Escentuals Flawless Radiance a few years ago after a makeup artist told me that using light deflectors helps to blur the appearance of wrinkles.

Warm Radiance has the same glimmery, non-glittery, light-defusion but with a subtle bronze.

I put this on this morning with a lot of concealer, blush, mascara and Rosebud salve.

To everyone else in L.A., I'm still a ghost, but it makes me feel like I have a little hint of the sun with me.  It doesn't add a ton of color to make it apparent that I'm wearing a bronzer, it just helps with the tone of my skin, which makes it natural and comfortable to me.


These Shoes Are Crazy

But I love them.

They are so high, but they are so comfortable.  I wore them to a nine-hour meeting last week, and I didn't even know I had them on.  They are really reasonably priced Steve Madden from Nordstrom from a few months ago.

This one is still available from Beso.

For most people, this color would blend into the leg making it appear longer.  I'm so pale, the color of this pair would probably stand out more on me, which is why I'm even happier with my pair.