Archive | December, 2011

Confetti Dressing

31 Dec

Happy New Year from 3 confetti obsessed 8-year-olds circa 1988! *Check out my beautiful white tights! Hot, right?

I LOVE confetti!  Seriously – it is absolutely my favorite thing about New Year’s Eve (although I do love the midnight kiss with my husband!)  I have loved this holiday from a very young age simply because of the tremendous joy running through confetti gives me. My mother, Leigh Haverstock Moric, and Kristin Kopperud can certainly vouch for this.  You see…at just 8 years old, I convinced my mother to allow me to host a formal dinner party for 2 close friends.  What does a “formal dinner party” mean for an 8-year-old you ask?  Well – in my case, it meant asking my mom to make three coordinating evening gowns in different colors.  I chose red lamé with black velvet accents for myself, blue taffeta with sequins for Kristin, and pink satin with pearl details for Leigh.  (In my opinion – we all looked elegant and very grown up – in reality, we looked like 8-year-olds in play dresses!)  My idea of a formal dinner party also including eating our meal of choice (take-out chinese) on the china in the dining room and drinking sparkling grape juice out of the crystal.  If she didn’t realize it before, NYE 1988 undoubtedly confirmed to my mother that she was raising a super girly girl.  Truth be told – the movie Overboard with Goldie Hawn is most likely to blame for it.  I still have high hopes of going to a party like the one she dreams of in the movie.  I also have high hopes of having a revolving shoe closet someday like the one Kurt Russell builds for her on the yacht!

This year I decided that I would like to dress like confetti for NYE. Care to join me?  (My NYE outfit to come later.)  In the meantime, here are some super fun brights to inspire your “confetti dressing”.  And remember, confetti is NOT just one color – feel free to mix, match, and add other bright  accessories in the form of bags, shoes, and bangles.  I know I am going to!  Happy Confetti!!

Bill Blass Spring 2012

Antonia Marras Spring 2012

Elie Saab Spring 2012

Jenny Packham Spring 2012

Juan Carlos Obando Spring 2012

Norma Kamali Spring 2012

Roksanda Ilincic Spring 2012

Mathew Williamson Spring 2012

All images courtesy of www.style.com

Circus of Love: Family, Friends & Festive Features!

30 Dec

My dear Auntie Lorna reminded me this week via email (during an apparent moment of insomnia…it was 4AM Beijing time) that I never finished uploading the rest of the photos from The Circus of Love.  This was a complete oversight on my part.  With the Chinese wedding, the trip to South Africa, the burn incident, the Hutchinson visit (those pics to come soon), Brett’s birthday, and then the holidays…it totally slipped my mind!

I think I have actually saved the best for last though – the pictures of our family, friends, and the festive atmosphere (created with the amazing help of my mom and Aunt Lorna) are so much fun.  Enjoy!

**If you missed the other entries about the Circus of Love – here they are: Calling All Circus of Love Guests, An Upstaged Bride, Southern Ladies and Their Lipstick, Silly Schafers…Tricks are for kids, Happy Couple at the Circus of Love, The Classy Bride.

Tates, Raglands, Hites, Bolins, Lehnings, Neelley's, and newly wed Hutchinsons!

The Hutchinson Klan

Greeting our Guests!

Besides being greeted by us, our guests were also welcomed with the sounds of a vintage carnival themed horn section, cotton candy, and circus themed cocktails like Mint Julep Snow Cones and Spiked Pink Lemonade.

It's a Mo-Mo! My wonderful mom. I don't what was causing her to look so serious...maybe it was the power outage issues. The venue wasn't used to having so many "carnival" food stations. In fact...every time the cotton candy machine started going - the band lost power! In the end, we opted for dancing over spun sugar.

With my Dad and Becky

My sweet Alabama ladies. Brandace Burnham, Morgan Hutchinson, Christa Crow and Jessica Solon.

We really wanted to have fun with the decorations.  Hence, the Morgan and Brett flying trapeze artists in the background of the picture above.  You can get your own custom set at www.cardboardpeople.com!  We also used hundreds of yards of awning striped fabric in circus bright colors, striped table clothes, giant 36″ helium balloons, and any other circus inspired trinkets we could find to play up the theme.

Brett chatting with the Alabama gents. I have to assume the topic of conversation was SEC football.

Part of the NYC Crew. Shana Spavin and Jill Hacker.

With one of Brett's childhood friends, Kelly Campbell.

With mom and two of her best friends from college. These lovely ladies (plus 5 more) have been getting together every summer for over 30 years! Love it.

With cousin Lizzie and Aunt Cindy.

Friends since the first grade. Ellen Carpenter and Morgan Hutchinson

Columbus ladies taking advantage of the candy cigarettes!

Tate Family Dance Number. We had to at least "try" to keep up with the Schafers!

Mom and I with great family friends - Ruth and Anne Bligh.

With the Amazing Hutchinson sisters - Emmy and Jess! Looks like all of us had just made a trip to the Pabst Blue Ribbon bucket!

With my Auntie Lorna. Thank you so much for your help and creativity. The Circus of Love would not have been the same without you!

With my fantastic mother-in-law!

Pretty in Pink with Fiona!

A big thanks to the lady who introduced us in the first place! With Miss Shana Spavin.

With Leigh and Damir. Love Leigh's self-made feather accessory!

In addition to the rides and games, we also hired a stilt walker, a flame thrower, and a unicyclist to keep the guests entertained.  Truth be told though – it was the silly stuff on the prize table that kept them happy all night!  Who knew that wax lips and bangle bracelets would be so popular?

Newlyweds - Brett and Morgan Hutchinson with Andy and Jess Schemick

With Christina and George Karolis...and their little one that was still a bun-in-the-oven at the time!

Dancing with my dad

We danced to the lovely sounds of Mr. and Mrs. Todd Hill and the Todd Hill Band. Here is the lovely Kala Hill.

Todd Hill singing and playing one of the classic tunes they are known for.

Dancing with Aunt Lorna and Nannie.

With my two gorgeous grand-mothers: Jean Blankenship and Bettie Tate

One of my favorite pictures of the night. The lovely Mrs. Amy Barto getting her groove on!

Of course, Brett and I also wanted to be sure that our “outfits” were Circus of Love appropriate.  So, we added special details whenever we could – like the pink lining of Brett’s dinner jacket with M+B monogrammed on the inside and our special shoes!

Thank you to our wonderful family and friends for celebrating with us!  Sharing our Circus of Love with each of you was such a blessing.  Thank you to our parents for countless hours of help, for storing loads of “Circus” paraphernalia in your homes, and specifically to the Hutchinsons for a fantastic golf tournament, Friday Night BBQ, and Sunday Brunch at the Club.

We would also like to send big thank yous to A Catered Event – the catering company who helped create the perfect “carnie” menu, Laura at White Star Farm – our venue, Sterling Funways for the rides and entertainments, and Abigail at Eden Ink Photography for capturing every moment so perfectly.

Images courtesy of Eden Ink Photography.

Party Party Party in Pastel!

30 Dec

Looking for something sweet and feminine to wear this New Year’s Eve?  The perfect pastel can actually be a bold move.  Think of all the black that will be crowding the dance floors.  You could really stand out in a delicate pink or sea-foam green.  Here are some my favorite pastels from the Spring 2012 runways:

Azzaro Spring 2012

Calla Spring 2012

Carolina Herrera Spring 2012

Costume National Spring 2012

Giorgio Armani Spring 2012 RTW

Jenny Packham Spring 2012

Juan Carols Obando Spring 2012

Mila Schon Spring 2012

Naeem Khan Pre-Fall 2012

Nina Ricci Spring 2012

Rochas Spring 2012

Rodarte Spring 2012

Vera Wang Spring 2012

Images courtesy of www.style.com

 

 

Suit Up to Celebrate 2012!

29 Dec

Why not mix it up this New Year’s Eve and trade in that LBD for a night-on-the-town worthy suit?  These sexy suits certainly won’t disappoint!

Note: Real life wear will most likely require a camisole! Or at least a HUGE statement necklace. Azzaro Spring 2012

Masquerade Ball Anyone?? Giles Spring 2012

This look definitely needs a different "do" - as in hair and a different shoe (this one feels a bit lack luster for NYE). Giles Spring 2012

How about adding a bright-colored clutch to this classic black look. Also...probably best to NOT show your mid-drift and crazy cleavage. John Richmond 2012

If you can't afford to run out and buy this Jean Paul Gaultier suit...how about adding a similar cape-like detail with a long piece of silk chiffon in the same tone as a suit you already own and love. Jean Paul Gaultier Spring 2012 RTW

Be a show-stopper in this electric blue get-up by Elie Saab!

Or...if you can't find a suit you absolutely love, how about pairing a fitted jacket or blazer with a fabulous party skirt. It looks great here on Hillary Rhoda, right? *Just be sure to pull it down lower on your hips, like her, so the jacket can show off your slim waist. Zac Posen Pre-Fall 2012

Happy Suiting!

All images courtesy of http://www.style.com

China Daily – Are you kidding me?

29 Dec

In every issue of China Daily (the English paper here in Red China) there is a column entitled Language Tips.  I typically find it quite useful.  For example in the Better Chinese section of the column today, I learned how to say, “Don’t speak ill of others” (don’t we all need this reminder from time to time) and “Think before you speak.”   I think we can all agree that these are common helpful phrases.

It was actually today’s Better English section that threw me for a loop. It is seriously one of the oddest passages that I have read since moving to China (and that is saying a lot!).  I mean – of all of the buzzwords they could select…they picked this one.   Plus, they described it in such a Debby Downer way.   There is no doubt in my mind that there has been a rise in educated and talented women who choose to live life as they please – but is this really how it needed to be explained to non-native English speakers?

Excerpt from today’s China Daily (12.29.11)

LANGUAGE TIPS:  BETTER ENGLISH

Freemale

A freemale is a woman who opts for a single life, valuing friendships rather than pursuing extended romantic relationships.  Some freemales also choose to live childfree, choosing not to have children for a variety of reasons, while others decide to become single mothers.

There are a variety of reasons to choose to live as a single woman, including a desire for an unencumbered lifestyle, the rising divorce rate and an inclination for asexuality.  The freemale demographic is very intriguing from a real estate perspective.  Single women are putting pressure on housing markets to provide homes that are comfortable for single women living alone.

 

I mean is there truly “an inclination for asexuality”.  I find this hilarious.  Please send me your thoughts…

A Naked New Year

28 Dec

Did I say, “naked”?  Clearly I meant NUDE.  How about trading in that black or shimmery silver for a knock-out nude.  Don’t you remember how much Mr. Big liked it when Carrie wore it?   And by the way – it doesn’t hurt that it will match your champagne.

Here are a few of my favorite “birthday suit” looks.

Dinner with Friends

Rachel Zoe Pre-Fall 2012

Erin Fetherston Pre-Fall 2012

Cocktail Party

Blugirl by Blumarine Spring 2012

Herve Leger by Max Azria Spring 2012

Antonio Berardi Spring 2012

Black Tie

Reem Acra Spring 2012

Reem Acra Spring 2012

I think dressing like your favorite “bubbly” on such a bubbly heavy holiday is brilliant idea!  Happy New Year!

Images courtesy of http://www.style.com

Today = 2 Years in China!

28 Dec

Two years ago today, Brett and I (along with 700 pounds of my clothing) boarded a plane in Newark bound for Beijing.  To celebrate this exciting anniversary, I would like to share photos from our Chinese Wedding party from this past August.  I think you will see that I went all out to play the part of a Chinese bride (short of dying my hair of course!)

Brett and Morgan Hutchinson

Brett and I knew that we didn’t want to host our Beijing wedding celebration in a Western style (for those of you not living in Asia – that means that we didn’t want an American or European style venue…it does not mean that Brett and I were considering a Wild-West Hoedown).  When in China, right?   So when we stumbled upon Gui Gong Fu, a restaurant famous for its history, as well as its imperial cuisine, we were sold.  Housed in the former residence of the Empress Dowager’s little brother, Gui Gong Fu set the perfect backdrop to our Chinese wedding party.  Although we didn’t hold a actual ceremony (we saved that for just he two of us in South Africa – see Chitwa Chitwa: Part 3 for more details) we did host a traditional Chinese, family style dinner for 150 of our dear friends and colleagues here in Beijing.  It was quite a feast! Luckily, Brett and I went for a tasting before hand as I don’t remember us sitting down long enough to eat any of the meal on the actual night of the party.  Between visiting each table to drink a shot of Mou Tai (Chinese liquor) with our Chinese guests and being toasted with Champagne by our Western guests…there was little time to do anything but “Cheers!”  Thankfully, I do remember being giving a bowl of rice by the lovely Connolly sisters to coat my tummy with something.

Here is the evening in pictures.  It really was such a memorable night.

Cocktail Hour. Explaining this concept to a very traditional Chinese restaurant was no easy chore. Passed hors d'oeuvres is just not the local way of doing things at a Chinese Wedding. In the end - they got it! Brett and Morgan Hutchinson

Costume change! While it is actually a Chinese custom for the bride to change from her red dress into white...I didn't need an excuse for a second dress!

Notice the size of Brett's Mou Tai glass. We are no fools! The smaller the glass...the less you have to drink! By the way...I am holding my wine glass, NOT my Mao Tai glass.

These little Chinese women can drink! Look how she is showing off her empty glass. Bottoms up!

Thank you to all of our friends in China for celebrating such a special time with us.  Thank you to Michael and Natia Davitiashvili for joining us, two great friends from New York who just happened to be in town and gave their only Saturday night in Beijing to us!

While I am in “thank you” mode…Thank you Beijing for 2 very exciting years.  We have had our moments…and let’s be honest, I have certainly “hated” you from time to time – but overall it has been loads of fun.  You have brought me dozens of amazing new friends and countless once-in-a-lifetime moments.  Most importantly though, you have given Brett at I the opportunity to share a life-changing experience together, and for that I will be forever grateful.  Xie Xie!

All images courtesy of www.sweetvision.com.  The same amazing photographers who did our engagement photo shoot.  Click here to have a peek.

Ring in a Red-Hot New Year!

27 Dec

Is there any color that turns a head like red?  I think not!  So why not celebrate the coming of 2012 in razzle dazzle red?

Here are 7 outstanding looks that work for a variety of occasions.  Please tell me your favorite!

Meeting Friends for Drinks

Emanuel Ungaro Jumpsuit - Spring 2012 RTW

Spicy red Ferragamo Suit - Spring 2012 RTW

Cocktail Party

This Nina Ricci frock is certainly not complete without the darling little turban. After all - it is NYE and hats are encouraged and often expected! Spring 2012 RTW

This look from Alice & Olivia will bring a touch of sophistication to any New Year's Eve party. Pre-Fall 2012

Be prepared to WOW in this littler Ungaro number. Not only is it red...it is a print and it is sequined! A triple threat. Emanuel Ungaro Spring 2012 RTW

Black Tie

A classic red look by Ferragamo. Spring 2012 RTW

I do believe that this is one of the most striking red gowns I have seen. If you do in fact have a black tie ball to attend, then I feel confident that wearing this Zac Posen gown will guarantee you the title, "Belle of the Ball"! Zac Posen Pre-Fall 2012

Happy Red-Hot New Year!

All images courtesy of http://www.style.com

 

It’s All About the Elephants

27 Dec

Safari on Elephant Back - the famous Jabulani himself to be exact!

At Camp Jabulani, a Relais & Chateau property located in the private Kapama Game Reserve, everything is elephant.  In fact, there wouldn’t even be a Camp Jabulani without the inspiration of a tiny, 4-month old baby elephant whose herd was forced to abandon him when he got stuck in the mud of a silt dam.  It took over year (along with the help of a sheep named “Skaap” who acted as a surrogate mother) to nurse the little guy back to health.  After baby Jabulani (his name means, “rejoice”) was healed, numerous efforts were made to release him back into the bush.  He was not having any of it.  These humans were his family now, and he had no intention of leaving them.  Luckily, or as they say at The Camp…”fate stepped in”.  Just five years after rescuing Jabulani, it was discovered that 12 Zimbabwean elephants needed a new home as the farm they currently lived on had been seized by war veterans.  These ellies would have been collateral damage if it hadn’t been for the rescue efforts of the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre and what eventually became the Camp Jabulani that exists today.

In my opinion, this type of operation could have easily become a “cheesy” petting zoo type experience.  On the contrary, Camp Jabulani is quite the opposite.  It is a true luxe safari experience.  With its 5-star quality lodges (each with private pool),  beck-and-call service standards, on-site spa, and let’s not forget the gourmet food that blew us away at each meal.  Seriously – the food is incredible…edgy flavors, beautiful presentation, and to top it off – the chef shares her recipes!  Although, last I checked they don’t sell Wart Hog or Antelope at any of the markets here in Beijing – so it might be a while before I can actually test any of them myself.

Brett and I truly loved our time spent at Camp Jabulani.  Safari on Elephant Back was a completely different experience.  You really have a bird’s-eye view of the bush – not to mention the tranquility of it all.  Plus, watching the elephants have their “play time” in the watering hole and visiting the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre to play with baby cheetahs were unforgettable moments.

Even though this little baby is too small to take guests on safari just yet, she likes to join the herd so she can stay close to her mamma. Nature is so precious.

The ellies play!

Just a second after I snapped this shot...the little ellie lying on his side lost his footing and crashed into the water. It was equally hilarious and heartbreaking. More incredible though - was the way that the entire herd rushed to the little one's aid.

There are more than just elephants at Camp Jabulani. Expect to see all of the Big 5 as well - from elephant back if you are lucky!

Wild dog! Check out that crazy hide.

It was all I could do to stay in the jeep! I just love giraffes.

We figured out that if we ask for the biggest ellie - we could ride on safari together. Much more fun! BTW- safari on elephant back was much more comfortable on my burned back than bouncing around on the primitive paths in a land rover jeep.

These little wart hogs have no fear. OK maybe...it was me that had no fear! They are so ugly they're cute - and I just had to get a closer look. If you look closely, you will see that they are actually on their knees, snout to the ground searching for food. Hungry little buggers, right?

One gorgeous sunset + my gorgeous husband = perfection.

Our view during Camp J "sun-downers" - what South Africans call cocktail hour. Stunning.

This beautiful surprise set-up was waiting for us after the sun-downers. The five-course meal to follow was also to die for, and it put both of us into a fantastic food coma.

On our last morning at Jabulani - before leaving for the Blyde River Canyon, we visited the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. These two charming cheetahs were rescued from the wild after injury.

Playing with a cheetah cub born at the center. This cutey will be trained to live in the wild by older cheetahs who split their time between the wild and the center. That's right - these smarty pant cats have realized that when things get too tough in the wild...they can take a vacation to a place where humans provide them shelter and serve them food and drink. Brilliant.

Shortly after this picture was taken, this little kitty had to be put into "time-out". He became a little over zealous and started to climb on my back. Under normal circumstances - no biggie, but with 2nd and 3rd degree burns from the fire-pit fiasco...it was a less than ideal situation. In the kitty's defense, our ranger did tell me that if I stayed in one position for too long, the cubs would want to climb on me. I suppose I was just too distracted by their cuteness to keep track. Wouldn't you have been?

Up next: Our voyage to the Blyde River Canyon  – the 3rd largest canyon in the world and it is completely green and a spa retreat at Cybele Forest Lodge.  Stay tuned!

A special thank you to the team at Camp Jabulani for an incredible South African adventure!

Countdown to 2012

26 Dec

The Carpenter’s famous song “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” asks a very important question.  By now many of you have most likely booked a table at your favorite special occasion restaurant or you have made plans to go out-on-the-town with dear friends that you only get to see at this time of year.  So now I will ask you another very important question, “What Are You Wearing New Year’s Eve?”

In case you haven’t selected  the perfect ensemble just yet…(like me) here are some fun alternatives to the traditional LBD.

Today, I would like to play with color.  In fact, many of you might be able to create some of these unique looks with items already in your closet.  Wouldn’t it be nice to hold on to that Christmas money from your grandmother just a little longer?

BRIGHT IDEAS!

Pairing two shiny brights, like this look from Ferragamo Spring 2012, feels fun, fresh, and festive. All the look needs to make in NYE ready is a touch of sparkle...pick 2 of the following: necklace, cocktail ring, shoes, small clutch, or hair clip.

Blue, Green, and Yellow are not typically worn together all at once. But isn't it fun? Plus - just think how you will stand out in the sea of black that is NYE. I also highly recommend the beehive up-do and false lashes to add some Madmen sex appeal. DSquared Pre-Fall 2012

Take inspiration from Ferragamo's Spring 2012 runway. Delve into your closet and pick three pieces that are each a different shade of bright...a top, a bottom, and a belt. Have fun and be a show-stopper. Keep in mind that a neutral shoe might be in order!

How about trading in those nude fish-nets or black tights for a bright pair to match your outfit. This monochromatic look from Giorgio Armani Pre-Fall 2012 takes it up a notch, don't you think?

NOT SO BRIGHT

This look from DVF's Pre-Fall 2012 Collection proves that a basic pale blue (or insert your own color) frock can look fresh when paired with contrasting colored long gloves and belt. For NYE - a pair of shoes with a touch of glitter or sparkle is certainly in order. And - if your scene is on the edgy side, go ahead and sport the thigh highs!

Have an old bridesmaids dress or 20? Why not look through your "27 Dresses" collection and see if anything can be revived with a bright-colored belt. Just look how a skinny royal blue belt can add life to this simple asymmetrical chocolate number from Carolina Herrera's Pre-Fall 2012 collection.

This sophisticated look from Donna Karan's Pre-Fall 2012 collection can quite easily be recreated. Supplies needed: 1 slinky white or off-white silky top, a navy blue or other jewel-toned pencil skirt, and a long piece of black silk taffeta (purchased at your local fabric store) tied in an over-sized bow. And of course - ruby-red lips!

I challenge you to get creative and take risks with your New Year’s Eve ensemble.  It is the last night of 2011 after all… Live it up!

More NYE inspirations to come!

Images courtesy of http://www.style.com

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