fashion. wine. design... and my life.

Posts Tagged ‘accessories’

That’s my pen…

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2014 at 3:14 pm



Liquid Gel Ink.

Metal Tip .o7.

And ONLY black ink.

As of late… that’s my pen of choice.

In true “Bob Dole” fashion, I’ve always kept a good writing utensil close at hand.

An Army officer for a father, this practice, along with the notion that one should have a signature with “strength”, was subconsciously ingrained in me as a child.  I’m certain that my artistic abilities heightened the attraction for “all things” that made a mark.  But…evolving with age, it wasn’t until the high school years, that I became utterly obsessed — naaaaah — probably more like, enchanted with pens.

Fellow lovers of pens… you know how we do, eh?

The aisles at Staples stop us in our tracks.

Truth be told… it is any pen aisle in any store that will cast this magnetic draw.

Even if we are loyal to a brand, just gazing at the potential possibilities keeps us entranced… like a toddler exploring a new toy, it is both eye and hand candy!  Weak, I say!  Haha… it is a weakness, that is also exhilarating!  Annnnnnd with that “weakness”… referencing my initial statement; you HAVE to be a lover of pens to comprehend.

As a pen devotee, I am giddy… rather proud to say that in early March of this year, I won an Instagram contest sponsored by #pentelofamerica, my FAVORITE brand of pens.  


Script on paper, with a quick nod to the past Washington DC blizzard like conditions, earned me several new free writing goodies!  Who knew that $250 in brand spanking new writing tools, delivered to my door… could have the same impact as the first sip of a fabulous glass of wine!

Haha… I’m spinning off course.  So all embellishments aside…

There is power in a pen.

A good writing pen.

One that effortlessly accentuates and enhances your handwriting.  One that simply glides as you write…  where the weight and size of the pen feels fabulous in your hand.  One that is attractive in its appearance… absolutely showing no signs of grime.  One that dispenses theeeeeeeeeeee “perfect” ink.  And one that puts that “professional” stamp and emphasis on what you do.

Did you get that last statement?

(Enter the mildly OCD me… the me with a few pen “pet peeves”)

That last statement is the true power.

Within a professional environment, a good pen… a good writing pen matters.  Simple as that!

The professional setting?

The full gamut of professional environments…. which includes any setting from the grocery store, to the doctor’s office, to schools, restaurants, retail establishments… you get where I’m going, right?   In a professional setting, don’t you dare require my signature/ask me to complete a form and then extend a pen that lessens the experience with your business.  (Actually, my one exception is automotive repair shops… with their hands embedded in oil changes and such, they can’t help the muck that accumulates on their pens).

I get that “lessens”  could read as such a harsh word.  Sooooo, without sounding haughty or arrogant, for truly, I’m only talking about a “pen”… I offer this anecdote.

With my career as an interior designer, it is common for my design firm to finish the month with a half of a million dollars (or plus) in sales.  The cost of our product, coupled with the amount money generated in sales, absolutely sets the tone for the “expected” experience with my firm.

While projects, as well as the final price for a project vary, the experience offered to each client is fair and consistent.  It is a full design service experience.  Naturally, each client tailors the service to suit their individual project needs… but completing the project, while protecting the “experience” is always priority.  And with the interior design field… it is an aesthetic experience.  One that begins with the initial designer/client meeting… and ends with the client “signing” on the dotted line.

Circling back to the power of the pen…

Such a tiny component of the experience.  Most may not even make the connection… or, bet yet, realize the relevance.

But how, as a professional, does one present a project (possibly in a range of thousands of dollars), engage the client and secure their “by-in”… and then… (wait for it)… extend a pen for their signature that reads “Suzi-Q’s hot-buttered Muffins”… you feel me?

It’s important.  It matters.  And albeit a minor element to the big picture… it matters!

It must matter… for in my professional world, I am a stickler for my writing tool.

So much so that, since my firm provides their own type of pen, I have always (since being employed with them) personally purchased my own pen of choice.  Nothing extravagantly expensive either…. a pack of 7 of my tool of choice may cost about $9 or $10 bucks.

What’s wrong with always wanting to be prepared… armed…  and ready to enhance the momentum of the “experience”.

Sounds silly, eh?

So if I tell you that several at my company have followed suit… does it still sound silly?

Surely this is applicable to other areas in both personal and professional worlds.  Curious if you too might share this belief…

I always have a pen.



Liquid Gel Ink.

Metal Tip .o7.

And ONLY black ink.

My pen.

Haha… and don’t be offended if when you extend yours, I reach for mine.






















EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it!

In Uncategorized on October 3, 2011 at 1:44 pm


On my side of the globe, the crisp air of fall has already got me chilled to the bone.  Not complaining.  Actually thrilled.  So much so, that I am sounding off as if I were telling the world of some ground-breaking news… news of what just hit the press.  People… it’s time!  The weather has dictated their return!  And I could not be more please to see them make their appearances – for they are BY FAR one of the most enticing and distinguished looks of the season.  “What is it?” – you say?  With a burly roar I’m screaming… “EXTRA!  EXTRA!  Read all about it!  The newsboy cap is back!!”

Alright… alright… alright!  Not the reveal you expected?  Hey – with me, there is an unyielding appreciation for the little things.  I love presentation and I am a sucker for those that are well-dressed.  Especially those who are confident in their clothing, have a stylish edge and they comprehend the importance of fit and color.  It is inevitable — they have an aura that oozes swagger!  Nonetheless… there is something about a man rocking a newsboy cap that is bound to capture my attention.

The newsboy cap, generally associated with the newsboys of the early 1900’s, has evolved and now open to a much broader audience.  Know by a variety of names – cabbie, baker boy, apple cap… even eight panel – this cap is incredibly flattering on all who don it!  Comprised of a full rounder body with a stiff peak, the newsboy can be constructed in a variety of fabrics, even leather.  It’s close cousin, the flat cap, is a show stopper as well – the only difference being the full flat panel on the top of the head versus the pie shaped panels and finishing button.

So… what is it about the caps, eh?!

One word:  dapper!

Ladies, the intent is not to be biased – for I know that we too can rock these caps with flair!  But… BUT, when I see a man wearing this cap – and he has got his look pulled together – haha… there is this essence, this stateliness – for lack of better words – the look is both handsome and dignified!  Whew… you know how some things can just take you there?  Well… this is it!

Perhaps it is just me, especially since I am attracted to the look, but I find that the caps are incredibly popular – worn by actors, athletes, musical artists (cough, cough… Common) and a plethora of us “every-day” folk!.  The beauty… each person wearing it in such a way that it appears to be monogrammed with their personal style.

And… since I am so fond of the look, I bet you can’t even imagine how I feel when my husband pulls his collection out of his fall/winter storage bin and preps it for the wearing.  YAWZA!

Enough of the babble.  Leaving it at this.

If you own one cap or some — FANTASTIC!  Build your collection for they truly add to your charm… and because I said so!  If you have yet to give this look a go… consider yourself now in the know and RUN to your favorite retailer or your “go-to” on-line shop and make a purchase.

Need some help?  Well… I am only an email away and you know that I would love to offer an opinion!



…walking into fall.

In Uncategorized on September 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm


After almost seven days of continuous rain and gray skies, I am utterly elated to see the sun!  My poor little raspberry floral umbrella hadn’t seen that much action in years… up – down – up – down… trust me, I gave each mechanical component of that circular canopy a rigorous workout!   If anything, the rainy weather  was confirmation that Washington state living isn’t for me.  Long lasting drizzles and cloudy days just aren’t appealing… they tend to whittle away at what I desire most — my happy disposition.

Which got me to thinking… mainly about some of the things that bring me joy.   As summer comes to a close and we all bid our farewells – it just hit me that the most intoxicating season now approaches.  How excited I am to greet my favorite time of the year and to be walking into fall!

We each have our favorite season, eh?  And for a variety of reasons.  Mmmmmmmmm… when I think of fall, it does make me tingle.  So much for my senses to absorb.  Inhaling the crisp air.  The spectacular color transformation of the leaves… and of course, the rustling sound they make as you traipse through them!  The return of pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread and pumpkin cheesecake at my favorite eateries.  Haha – football?!  (As the wife of a former football player and a high school varsity football coach who is also a diehard Redskins fan, would you believe that I am still finding it difficult to acquire a love for the sport – baby steps).  Bottom line, the aesthetics of the season are noteworthy and fetching!  Irresistible I’d say.  Especially…

The fashions!

Yes sir!  Layers, layers and more layers.  Boots, boots and you simply can’t have enough BOOTS!  Whew… I would easily declare fall as the quintessential host for your wardrobe – effortlessly inviting your expressiveness and creativity!  I don’t know about you but I am eager to put my sweaters, jackets, scarves and boots back into rotation – probably even most eager to add pieces to my closet – for by far, this is the season in which designers put their best foot forward and introduce their premier collections –  the “must haves”, the most interesting silhouettes and the richest color assortments!!  Yes my friends, forget walking, I am happily falling into fall!

Come on now boys and girls… you do side with me, eh?  Secretly we are all in possession of a Sybil – you know, that Mr. or Mrs. Materialistic personality that adores how we wear our clothes and yearns to look good!  Haha… I’ve got one and she loves fall!  The fashion possibilities are abundant – such a democratic season – embracing and enhancing all body types.  What is not to love?!

Pulling back the reins… perhaps I might have become just a wee bit excited when conveying my adoration.  It is obvious – I am sure that you are aware of my ploy – the intent is to hook you too.  To make you walk with me… I mean seriously, aren’t you too in love with this splendid time of year?

Take your time.  I know I have said it before… but it is true, the love is inevitable!  Nonetheless, I will bet you this… after reading this post, it is only natural that when getting dressed in your fall garb, piling on the layers, zipping or tying up your boots – while peering in the mirror to admire your reflection – I bet you will think of me!



Pillows, plants, candles and throws… oh my!

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2011 at 8:40 am

What in the world would we do without accessories in our homes?!

Wait… let’s not even ponder that question.  You know the answer – homes without accessories are just uninteresting.  A bland collection of rooms void of character and appeal.  Lifeless and just plain old dreary.  It has got to be common knowledge… accessories are a nonnegotiable!  A must for every decorative composition… they provide the flair and zing – they ARE the panache!

So how important are they?  Just imagine that the accessories are acting as a three-dimensional “connect-the-dots” puzzle… one in which each accessory is linked to and dependent upon the next for its definition.  In my profession, when working with clients, we always suggest that a minimum of 1/3 of the project’s budget be dedicated to accessorizing the space.  Minus the upholstered pieces and wood pieces, everything else in the room – the embellishments and frills – are considered accessories and are mandatory.  Suggest as we may, it’s a fact… not every client complies with our advice, and many projects are sold with out even ONE accessory.  But, experience has taught me to be patient.  They come back – it is inevitable!

Really… 1/3, eh?!  Well, in a perfect world, we all would have an abundant income that would grant us the ability to purchase whatever we wanted for our homes.  However, in the real world – especially in my world – we are on a budget!  We tend to pick and choose what to add to our homes and when to add it!  For those of us who can identify with the latter, I can assure you that budget aside (even with a minor tweak that 1/3 ratio) you too can have a well styled and sophisticated space.  Pssssst.  Wanna know the real secret about accessories?  The secret is:  understand their impact, shop with an ardent eye and absolutely incorporate them into your home.  A piece of cake… just do it!

By far… accessories have got to be the easiest, most economical, sure-fire way to quickly transform a space.  Ladies, think of your little black dress… fellas, think of your favorite dress shirt – well, in the same manner that you add snazzy jewelry to accentuate the dress or a dapper neck tie to give the shirt oomph – our homes require that same action.  If executed properly in your home, the accessories will interpret your personality.  Trust me – they will add layers and depth to your home… making it not only more enjoyable and gratifying to you, but for your guests as well.

Some of my favorites, my nonnegotiables?  Besides artwork, I can’t live without (nor should you) accent pillows, plants, candles and throws!  Hey, perhaps not the classic elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire  – but in a design domain, they carry a similar impact.  These four elements are fundamental and can easily wake-up a tired space.  They are fairly inexpensive, they are appropriate in every design scheme, and – to suit your personal style – are available in a plethora of shapes, sizes and styles.

Pillows and throws are the power house for adding color and texture.  Since they can be added and removed from a room with ease, I say go crazy!  Experiment with them… go out of your comfort zone and buy something that you normally might not gravitate towards.  My handy tip.  Invest in well-made pillow inserts and locate the best fabric shop or upholsterer in your area.  This partnership will enable you to better customize your pillows… and as simple as undoing a zipper, your pillows can be changed as often as you wish.  Wondering how many to purchase?  Grouping of pillows can be in odd or even numbers…its all about your look and the design style that you desire to inject in the space!  With throws… haha – just throw them!  On the back of a sofa, the arm of a chair and even tucked in a basket… throws provide warmth on a chilly day but, better yet, they add a richness to your space.

As for plants and candles… they add the softness and ambiance.  Not even going to debate real versus artificial plants – depending on the type of plant and where it is to be placed — in my home, I do both.  All that is important is that you bring a portion of nature inside your of home.  The type of plant is, once again, relative to your design.  Orchids, succulents, twigs, fronds and trees… you decide.  They refresh a space, infuse energy and… not to sound cheesy – they make us happy!  Speaking of moods – let’s talk aura!  Candles.  Candles.  Candles!  They create the atmosphere… the ambiance of the space.  Whether it be pillars, tapers, votives or tea-lights… placed on a candle holder, in a lantern, a rock-filled hurricane or even hanging on a wall – candles add appeal!  Especially when entertaining… they add an intimacy to the gathering and heighten the magnetism of the event.  Haha – and seriously… doesn’t everyone look better by candlelight!

I’m thinking that I may have a few converts, eh?!  Hey… these are mere suggestions.  Me… spreading the love.  I do adore decorative accessories – and as a compliment to self – I do have a knack for arranging them.  Of course, always open for questions and assistance.  So… what are you waiting for?  Time to go accessory shopping!