I happened to be watching a Rick Steves show on Denmark and in the show they were describing a way of living that they had. It was called hyggelig (hoo.gl.ee). This hyggelig meant you always have a drink, some food, and at the very least a candle between you and your company. It meant feeling cozy at the very base translation of the word but actually much more, it was your surroundings without anything that would make you feel ill at ease or emotionally overwhelmed. It was actually the pursuit of serenity, of comfy, of homey, of anything that brought that warm fuzzy to your soul.

My jaw dropped at this Danish discovery of self. That one single word summed up the pursuit of my entire life. Hyggelig!!! This blog is about just that, all the things that make me feel hyggelig. My only hope is that they inspire you to find your own hyggelig too. Imagine a world full of hyggelig, just imagine...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's Animal Fever For Fall 2011

Just about every show had gobs and gobs of fur and leather walking down the runway. Usually I'm very turned off by it all but this year has been so gorgeous I'm kinda getting animal fever! Now, now, don't go all PETA on me. These days there are as many faux fur pieces as real going down the runways including leather and it's gotten so well done that it's practically hard to tell the difference. So, go ahead and catch the fever! It'll be quite contagious once you see my favorite picks.
Trussardi 1911
Fur skirt perfection! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this Trussardi 1911 beauty. It kinda blew my mind. I never imagined fur could be so lux and sophisticated without looking vulgar. It actually gives the impression of simplicity which is the complete opposite when you think of fur, especially in a skirt!

If you just want to flirt with fur without going for a full on coat this is just the thing. It's quite playful with just a touch around the very short waisted fitted jacket. I love the whole matching top and bottom but this jacket would also look fab with so many other things, even jeans or over a little dress. It has that wardrobe staple potential.

Emilio Pucci
This is not your grandmothers fur! Look at the cut of this Emilio Pucci coat. With just the right cut and worn with such ultra cool pieces fur is starting to look very tempting indeed and youthful too. Something  monumental has happened this fall season with fur and leather. All at once in one season we are seeing it in a way as never before. It's fresh, youthful, and finally even modern and of the moment! There is nothing that beckons back to granny's in these pieces. There is nothing vintage to do with it at all. How refreshing.

How in the world did leather overalls suddenly become so covetable? I don't know how they did it but Acne has left me wanting a pair. Yeah, leather overalls! Crazy!

Trussardi 1911
You can go with both leather and fur here and not look a bit over the top. I'm having a bit of an out of body experience here like it's all a dream too good to be true. Like I said those leather leggings are gonna be essential to your fall / winter wardrobe!

Designers have outdone themselves this season. They have turned convention on it's head turning taboo into essential basics! What an exciting time to be immersed into it all.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Life Changing Moments Captured In Chapters

my Grammy almost 90 years old and still utterly chic

My life chapter one...

For the first ten years of my life before we moved away to Europe I had my Grammy and my Grandma. Grammy was a chic cosmopolitan woman who lived in a very chic high rise apartment with poodles, all by herself. Her apartment, her car, and most definitely herself always smelled so amazingly delicious. It was like leather  mixed with dried baby rose potpourri, mixed with whatever perfume she was wearing. She was feisty and would stomp her foot at us when we'd hide all our room mess under the bed for the reward of the change in her chic little change purse of a clean room. She'd get all worked up and flash her dazzling blue eyes at us with her finger and say, "you little shits better clean this up right or else!", while me and my older sis would giggle and know we'd gotten Grammy all wound up. We knew she would reward us in the end after we'd done it right. She would speak to us in french and call us her little darlings. Oh, how I loved being called, "my little darling", how I loved her harmless temper, her delicious smell, her culture, her independence, but most of all I loved her chicness. This is a woman who never not once didn't have herself pulled together into perfection. Everything was thought of down to the glamorous nightgown with fancy robe and slippers to match she'd wear on visits. The way she chose just the perfect unique jewelry piece for her ensemble like the star on top of the christmas tree. She was my sophisticated Grammy and I absorbed every bit of her as much as I could. Sometimes there are those people in your lives that really shape you into who you become. I got my Grammy's DNA and I tried to absorb the rest.

On the other hand I had my Grandma, the quintessential definition of what comes to mind when you think of the word. She baked us birthday cakes and all sorts of the most delicious food made with love, she made us clothes and quilts, she took me and my older sis camping with her and Grandpa, she made sure we always had lots of handmade gifts for all our birthdays and christmas. She had patience and love and lots of cuddles and I loved the way their home always smelled of clean bleached laundry mixed with what was cooking up in the kitchen. In Grandma's sewing room there were stacks and stacks of fabric just waiting to be made into something. I would sneak in there just to admire and dazzle myself with the sight. Once Grandma caught me standing in there in her room that wasn't for little girls to be playing about in. She asked me, "what are you doing in here you know you aren't suppose to be playing in Grandma's sewing room?" I only answered in all honestly and told her I was just admiring all those lovely bits of fabric and oh how I wish when I'm older I'll have such a room just like hers to make all kinds of things with them just like she does. I thought I was gonna get shooed out of there with a warning not to go back in but something amazing happened instead. Grandma started gathering up a little bag of fabric scraps and trim remnants then she turned to me and said, "see what you can do with these." Oh, what joy! My very own fabric and trims and even some thread I think. I was never excited to return home but this time I was dying to get back to my barbie doll! She was gonna be my model and I her fashion designer and by the time I was home I knew exactly what each piece of fabric would be turned into.

I think I was barely four years old when this happened but it changed my life forever. All of a sudden I was giving the idea that I can make it. I can take what is in my mind and try to make it! After that I was a regular at the school library trying to teach myself all I could learn about about anything I wanted to teach myself to make. I spent happy hours all alone in  my room away from the craziness of the rest of the home immersed in my own wonderland of books, paper, fabric, glue, thread, and anything else I could scrounge up to design and create. I started making clothes for all my dolls and even for all my sisters dolls including my older sister's Mandy doll. If there wasn't a doll around to sew for I'd sew one up myself just so I could dress it. I had daydreams of becoming a fashion designer someday...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Leather? Oh, yes..

It's quite literally a shock to even think I'm becoming a bit mad for leather. I felt my toe dip in the pool of leather lust when the ones for summer arrived on the scene. I think in fact this fall / winter just might make me dive right in from my waist down to my ankles. Who knew leather could ever be so chic?

Leather, it's coming off the black list! See for yourself...

Max Azria

Daryl K

I can't stand it! I want just below the knee leather knickers and I want them now!
Ports 1961

I'm not recommending head to toe leather but the jacket! OMG the jacket!!
Barbara Tfank

Leather leggings that will be on everyones list. FYI they just outdated your trusty dark wash jeans.
Daryl K
Behnaz Sarafpour

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Top Ten Things That Can Make You Look Lots Younger

Don't you doubt yourself for a second! 
Yes, looking younger than your years is part genes but it's also about 80% calculated formula. No matter what your age from teenager to your eighties and beyond this it solid stuff that works. How do I know? Well, no one has ever guessed my age correctly... ever! And I'm just a weirdo! I think about this stuff constantly only second to fashion. It makes people watching a whole lot more fun and educational. I'm constantly absorbing my surroundings trying to think what could improve them. It's kind of an addiction or hobby or whatever but it helps me learn lots about what does and doesn't work.

1. Soft natural pretty hair in a collarbone to mid back length with longer bangs that blend into the side below the cheekbone. Some subtle layers and thats it. Too many layers and it's all off. No flippy wingy pieces all sticking out anywhere. If you like to color your hair keep it within one to two shades of your natural color and never let the roots show and never do a flat allover color. You need subtle highlights to bring out your skin tone and highlight your eyes. Think Victorias Secret model but with less length. It works on just about anybody from 12 - 72.

2. Like my friend Catherine said yesterday "just enhance what god gave you." The de-aging trick with makeup is to definitely wear it but make it just enhance your features. Eye shadows in tones that blend in with your skin but bring out your eye color. Try applying a deeper shade of your eye shadow color as your eyeliner. Bare minerals has great ones or if you use a pencil liner smudge it into the lashes. Mascara is a must always. You definitely need some natural looking coverup, I use a combo of FX concealer under my eyes and a light powder from bare minerals topped with a powder blush lightly smoothed onto the apples of my cheeks (not the high sides of my cheekbones which will only make you look way OLD, forget what they told you 15 years ago). The idea is to look slightly flushed. Then this is BIG- avoid dark mat lip colors. They may be fine for a night out and all that but if you really want to go for the golden youthful bullet it's all about gloss with a subtle pinky hue. Your lips need to look edible! Victorias Secret has really great ones that smell absolutely yummy! I could go on for ages about makeup but perhaps thats for another post.

3. Nails - keep them relatively short and naturally rounded. No long real or fake things here and if you really want that youthful look you are gonna have to keep it very simple. Pick very very very light shades of pink that almost look like you haven't even had your nails painted. OPI has superb ones. Understated and elegant will de-age you in seconds flat! Trust me! If you are just craving some deep red on those fingers of yours you better have them cut very short indeed. I hate to say it but those french manicures aren't gonna do you any favors here either. Sorry, but it's just how it's done. You had all those teen and twenties to play now is the time for  classic and understated. It will work every time! And if you are a teen or twenty something reading this it is great advice for you too!

4. Skin - keep it well hydrated and never totally tanned. A light natural sunny glow is one thing, but those deep dark tans are actually making you look beyond your years. A nice sunny glow enhanced with some light bronzer dusted over your forehead, down the nose and chin, across the apples of the cheeks, and then a bit over your collarbone. Keep well hydrated and use lots of creamy yummy smelling lotion. Youthfulness isn't just about looks it's also about smelling delicious! Not too much but enough to elicit comments from close passerby's that you smell "SO GOOD' or "SO DELICIOUS". I get those and it's because of my perfume mixed with the scent of my lotion.

5. Alright, now that we have the beauty part covered we can move onto getting dressed. Again the same rule applies here as it does to all the rest. Understated elegance!! It's gonna take you far into the land of looking well below your age. Clothing should never be over the top as in bedazzled, lots of shiny, lots of frilly, or lots of anything. It sounds weird but going for the simple is going for the youthful. We aren't trying to dress like we are a youth, we are just trying to give the impression of one. Two completely different things. If you have any problems with this I think the easiest thing is for you to get ahold of a J.Crew catalog for some perspective. Ignore all the nutty accessories and focus on the clothes. It's not my favorite store but if you are clueless then thats a good place to start learning.

6. Jeans - they are magical youth makers! Yes, they are and I hope you will give them a chance. Not the ones from LL Bean or J. Jill. Please, no mommy shops on this one. You've got to get hip in this area. Gap has very affordable ones that will take you miles and miles away from your old mom pants. Go in there and tell the sales girl you want hip jeans. Absolutely, no comfort fleece, velour, or stretchy comfort old lady stuff. I once was standing behind a very chic lady with the hippest jeans I was wishing I had a pair of, and very cool fitted jacket, wearing big sunglasses and a very simple good quality handbag hanging off her lower arm. I  was thinking, "oh, a hip chic California lady" (we were in Trader Joe's in L.A.), then she turned around to walk out with her bag and I realized she was way over 60. She was probably in her 70's and at that moment I vowed to aim for that classic chicness for the rest of my life. It's possible. She blew my ensemble away and I knew it! A lady way beyond me in years was hipper than me! Sometimes you have to be humbled in order to learn.

7. Jewelry - do not wear jewelry on every single available part of your body. I know this is sounding like a broken record but keep it simple and never ever ever wear matching jewelry sets. Youthfulness is wearing your favorite piece and then downplaying the rest. Avoid big chunky necklaces and crazy earrings. Do not wear loads of rings, do not wear earrings all the way up your ears, and do not wear toe rings. I know you might want to but it's not gonna help with the de-aging.

8. Accessories - No fakes here! Meaning no faux designer bags and the like. This is the one place only second to shoes that you should invest some money. Your bag should be such good quality and understated enough that it will last you many seasons without going out of style and aging you. I see so many older women carrying around the fake stuff thinking that they will look young cause it's what the kids have. Remember we aren't copying the kids we are just trying to give the impression of youthfulness. And although it may seem to go against what seems logical this works. Get an idea of whats current by looking in some fashion mags or window shopping. Ignore the blingy, bright over the top stuff and go for simple, classic, toned down. If you are on a budget and really can't afford it then you need to hit up Forever21. They have great bags in faux leather that could very well take you through until you get that dream bag. Please, try really hard not to wear the fake designer sunglasses. If all you can buy is cheap then get the ones that aren't trying to copy a designer logo on them. Cheap and tacky will be your enemies of youthfulness. It's just how it is.

9. Shoes - this is the one thing that could kill all your efforts from one through eight if you get it wrong. Shoes tell all your secrets when left unattended. This is surely the most complicated part of the whole thing. So, listen carefully and maybe we can get you walking to your goal with victory. First of all crocks are a death kiss, second so are running shoes, thirdly nothing clunky from the 1990's. I can't stress this enough your shoes need to be in style to now and not bought on the sole purpose of comfort. Yes, they should not kill your feet but thats only after they have passed the fashionable test. Yet again if you are clueless about where to even start Banana Republic and J.Crew are a great place to learn by looking. They are basics that keep to what is current and to all ages.

10. This is the most important one of all and it's the most fun. It's you! Yes, you and your spark for life, that twinkle in your eye, your ability to ejnoy talking to anyone from ages 2 to 100. You aren't saying stuff like I'm too old for that or I'm too young. You are always the right age to jump right in and have loads of fun living your life with anybody who just happens to be around you. Hey, I used to walk to the mall when I lived close by it before we moved. Only kids do that right? Nope, I do that cause it's fun and I'm getting exercise and I'm not caring that I could easily drive. This kind of thinking is the secret to youth. In this one thing acting just like a youth is totally and completely just the thing to do. Play! Have parties and get silly, indulge in your inner child and then indulge in your inner woman and then indulge in your passions. Do fun things you love. You have to let the old fuddy duddy go. Just let it go and feel the freshness of life burst in. It only ever stops when we take our last breath until then we have the ability to feel as a fresh new youth as long as we keep ourselves constantly breathing in all those fresh new opportunities to live!  When you feel youthful you unlimately will look youthful too. It's probably at least 30 - 40% of the equation.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Top Ten Things That Make You Look Oldish

Lately I've been musing on what pegs you as middle aged or kinda oldish for women. What has inspired these thoughts? Compliments from strangers that are way younger than me thinking I'm younger than they are! Yes, it's very flattering and very perplexing since all I see is the old me with those wrinkles and bags and extra pounds I'm constantly trying to work off.  Although after much thought I think I figured it out and I hope it will also help you figure it out too. If you answer yes to any of these questions we have work to do!!

1. You have had the same haircut for the last five years.

2. You wear matching jewelry sets (necklace, earrings, bracelet, etc.)

3. You wear leather coats, jackets, or blazers (it's a very narrow window between looking hip & young versus oldish on this one).

4. You wear nude / tan pantyhose and you think your wardrobe from ten years ago is just fine as long as it still fits.

5. You pluck way more than just the strays on your eyebrows.

6. You love animal prints, alligator textured stuff, and big shiny gold tone hardware on everything.

7. You have those glasses that get darker in the sun so you don't have to wear separate sunglasses.

8. You color your hair at home in one shade and it seems to get lighter and lighter with each passing year or darker and darker.

9. You haven't given the color of your teeth any thought.

10. You think having long nails is glamorous and worse you keep them all long even if one is shorter due to a tear.

I think I could go on at length but I'd love to hear what you have to say on the matter. What do you think ages a woman before her years?

Stay tuned tomorrow for the top ten things that can make you look ten years younger!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fashion Uniforms And Fall 2011 Fashion Week!

Welcome to day one of fall 2011 ready to wear fashion week!

I wait with complete giddy anticipation for every new seasons fashion week to come. Once it does I'm glued to the internet going over each and every single show I can get my eyes on. Day one has not disappointed with already an inspiration for a fantastic look that I'm so in love with I think it could become my winter uniform! That my dears is rare for me. I just LOVE this!!

I might as well start day one off with my favorite look of the day. Enjoy!
Just Cavalli (and I'm just in love!)
This has all the components that I love in a look. It's kinda extra cool with the knee high boots, it's very girly with the baby doll top, has that understated sexiness with the leggings / jeggings, and comfy to boot with the long cardigan! Just think of all the ways this could be reincarnated into your wardrobe in colors and fabrics that you love.

I'm totally giving myself away here. In the past I kept my favorite looks and inspirations under lock and key just for me. Sure I'd tell my sisters and friends about what I thought the new trends were gonna be but never ever did I divulge my inner most "me" looks. The looks that inspired that "me" thing. Sounds silly huh? Well, let me tell you thats what a fashion nerd is!! Yes, I'm a total fashion nerd and yes it is very possible to be one.
M. Patmos 
M. Patmos has me pegged here too. I absolutely love this idea. Ummm not with white tennis shoes though. No, throw on some oxfords or some ankle boots and you have yourself another great "uniform" for fall that can be recreated in lots of different ways. Come on, can't you see it on yourself in what you probably already have in your closet right now? This is so easy! Take the computer into your room right now and pull out the pieces you need to recreate this look. I bet you already have everything in there!

M. Patmos 
Yeah, and do the same with this one too. You should have those leather shorts by now. I told you they were gonna be a huge trend for summer and now you can bring them into next fall too. See I'm stretching your fashion budget before either season is even here. Please again no white tennis shoes with this! A very good example of why you almost never copy straight from the runway. I love this. It's totally another "uniform" mold that you could make fresh with many different sweaters and tights / leggings, oxfords / boots / heels.
Organic by John Patrick 

Organic by John Patrick 
Alright, this is getting just way too easy. I know you have skirts in there (your closets that is) and I know you have sweaters and tights. So, all you might have to do is hem them to the correct length if you missed my post on them for next summer. See how easy this can be. It's not about completely buying a new wardrobe every time a new season arrives. Get a little creative and think "what do I have that could work here?".  Get the sewing machine out or get to the tailors for an inexpensive nip tuck as needed (leather included). No more excuses that you can't afford to be chic. Oh, yes you can missy!

Now you have four fall / winter fashion standby "uniforms" to make up in hundreds of different ways only limited by your imagination. Get that school kid imagination cap on and go crazy!

I'm now left with the biggest yearning to take you through your closet and dress you up in all these looks with all the stuff you most certainly have in there to make them and then encourage an outing to the shops to expand upon them! Heaven!! Yes, fashion nerd.

P.S. I would get in on this and practice if I were you cause it might just result in a subscription to a fashion magazine in the near future.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Good Glue And Mini Honey Man

After getting very frustrated with trying to use my regular crafting glue of choice on making my clothespin doll ornaments I gave up and went in search of a better glue for use with felt and wood. I found this FABRI-TAC at Joann's and it works tons better! It dries clear, grips and holds very quickly.

I asked my Honey what he wanted for valentine's day and to my surprise and delight (I like a challenge) he requested a little mini him in clothespin doll form. How fun! I'm just about done with him. I think I got it right; green wool hat, blue apple shirt with white undershirt, Nikes, red pants. All classic Honey!

Now to get onto making more Bavarians!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Making Space

Our back door mudroom. I know it's simple but it's such a handy solution for everyday shoes.
We live in a little house our friends and family refer to as The Enchanted Cottage. It is very cute and has tons of character but seriously lacks storage space. I'd had it with not being able to fit stuff away in the kitchen properly. Yes, there are plans to install all new cabinets that go up to the ceiling (such wasted space!) but for now I had to take things into my own hands. So here's what I did.

This is the the door in the kitchen that leads to the basement. It now hides lots of stuff that was cluttering up the mudroom and hogging space in the kitchen cabinets.

I picked this back of door organizer up for around $15 and had the Honey install it today. It actually cleared out enough room for me to put my food processor away! Hurray!! It inspired me to organize the little nook at the top of the stairs where I stacked some bookcases to store odds and ends.
All we need to do to this nook is install a wall mount broom / mop holder and mount the hand vac to the wall.

I love space saving ideas. This one I've used for years while being in apartments and through a few moves. It's so handy that I actually just kept using it for our house too. They are from IKEA and perfect for organizing your hand towels, washcloths, and tub mats.
When you lack space as we do you have to get creative and get organized. Everything needs it's place and everything  needs to be kept there! We have so far to go in this place but boy do I feel so good after finding homes for stuff that was kinda homeless causing me some clutter anxiety.

Today was very productive!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Little Bavarian

Well, I only succeeded in finishing one clothespin doll ornament yesterday since I took so much time fiddling around with ideas and such it's the one I'll send our Hyggelig winner Trace The Space Case! I loved dressing him! Of course that shouldn't be any surprise considering how I love fashion. I am swimming with ideas and super excited to get started with all 30 of my clothespins!

I definitely realized I need to get some proper glue. As you can see it doesn't dry completely clear and actually didn't stick very well either (I'll post what works best once I find it). So I'm off today to get proper glue and in fact I think I'll actually make a better one for our Trace The Space Case if she'd like to wait another day for her prize. I'd like to make a much better little Bavarian hiker for you.

Here's the one I did...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Frugal Paint Lids

I am at this moment sitting at my desk crafting and blogging in my office for the first time. Hurray! The room isn't totally done. I don't have my daybed or all my stuff completely organized but the desk side is sufficiently suited to finally getting something started.

This project required painting and I'm always at a loss of what to use for all the different colors of paints needed on projects. I was scanning my room thinking "hmmmm.. what to use?" Then I spotted one of the metal frozen orange juice lids I've been saving up over the past few years. I had some grand plans of using them for some super artsy lamp shade or something but this is much more useful and money saving. They are the perfect size for  the little dollops of paint needed in all my craft projects! If you craft start saving those lids!

Can you guess what I'm working on? The first to guess right gets one.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More Nooks And Cranny's

Come to think of it my same sis gave me that lantern too many years ago!

This little nook is in the kitchen. It used to be where the old land line phone was hooked up to back in the 1950's. It was ugly and still had the wires sticking out of it. So we painted it the same color as the a joining mudroom after cutting the wires and smoothing it over with wall putty. I think it turned out quite nice. We keep a little bowl of matches there for the tea light lantern and a little owl painting my big sis gave to us as a housewarming gift.

Here's the before. Not the best pic but you get the idea.