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Archive | July, 2012

Better Late Than Never: Hutchinson Visit

27 Jul
Better Late Than Never, Right?  Here is a very tardy post of our wonderful visit with the Hutchinsons last November.

What a treat it was to be able to spend time with Brett’s parents, his brother Cory, and beautiful Kara here in Beijing.  There are just some things that cannot be expressed through words or photos – which is why we love visitors.  It actually enables us to really show what our life is like in this crazy, polluted, overcrowded…but still pretty fascinating foreign land.

Unfortunately, their visit fell on an extremely busy week for Brett (which I think the majority of you, through deductive reasoning, will be able to tell by the absence of him in the photos below) which left us all missing him and forced the Hutchinsons to see China through the eyes of a Blonde in Beijing.  I am hopeful that a good time was still had by all!

In addition to celebrating Brett’s Big 4-0 at Maison Boulud, we were able to show them quite a few of the sites  – The Olympic Village, The Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Wangfujing Snack Street, Tea Street, and The Forbidden City.  And of course – we made sure that they tried all the top foods – Beijing Duck, Din Tai Fung dumplings, and don’t forget the street meat.  (Okay – I don’t think Donna actually tried this…but Cory & Kara braved a variety of interesting delicacies – i.e. scorpions, silk worms, etc.)

As their tour guide for the week, I did my best to document the trip for them (a service I only provide for true VIP visitors!)  Here are some of my favorites…

This would be a fantastic Christmas card if Cory was their only son! The Great Wall Mutianyu – November 2011

Tom & Donna Hutchinson. The Great Wall – November 2011

How cute are they? Seriously. The Great Wall – November 2011

Tom with his D-in-L’s. The Great Wall – November 2011

Kara & Cory – The Great Wall.

Perhaps I got a little camera happy with the happy couple….

Up, up, and away! Riding the chair lift to the top of the wall.

Kara cruising down the slide. The best part of visiting the wall at Mutianyu!

Quite possibly my favorite picture of the trip. Clearly, Cory is not pleased with Tom’s choice of speed. His face is the physical definition of boredom.

Tom and Donna in front of The Bird’s Nest. Olympic Village – Beijing.

Brett finally makes it! Family dinner at Mao’s Red Capital Club. This restaurant, hidden in an ancient hutong alleyway, serves tasty food – but the main reason to visit is to step back in time and soak in a bit of “Mao’s China”.

Walking into the gardens surrounding the Temple of Heaven. We were so lucky to have such a beautiful Beijing day. A rarity to say the least.

Donna, Cory & Tom at the Temple of Heaven. Beijing – November 2011

Temple of Heaven – Beijing

I would say I was trying to be artistic…but perhaps Cory is just too tall! I still like it though. Temple of Heaven – Beijing, China.

A tiny Donna at the Temple of Heaven. It is terribly difficult to capture an image with no other tourists. I didn’t crop the original for this very reason. I love the emptiness of it. Temple of Heaven – Beijing, China

The beautiful and extremely old Cypress trees in the grounds that surround the temple. Temple of Heaven – Beijing, China

Tree Gazing. Temple of Heaven Grounds – Beijing, China

Another potentially great Christmas card if Tom and Donna only had one son and also decided to adopt a random blonde from Murray, Kentucky… Temple of Heaven Grounds – Beijing, China

Old school online dating?? We stumbled upon a mass of middle-aged, local Chinese men and women in the gardens surrounding the Temple of Heaven with dozens of papers like these taped to the ground. After chatting with a few of them, who were actually willing to talk with me in Chinese – I was able to learn that they were all there to find mates for their children. These “papers” are actually dating profiles including personal details such as height, age, and occupation. Some even go so far as to say if they are home or car owners. Amazing!

Okay…so this is obviously Cory, not Brett. But for those of you who truly know Brett…you know that this is an impersonation of his “intense face”. Complete with the drumming of the fingers. Nice tribute, Cory.

The Forbidden City – Beijing, China

Kara & Cory – Forbidden City, November 2011

The Forbidden City – Roof Tile Detail.

The Forbidden City – Beijing, China

Tea Tasting on Tea Street. Somehow I didn’t snap a picture when they put Kara to work separating proper tea leaves from the bad ones…what a missed opportunity. I have a feeling that her daily wage might be more than they are used to paying.

This is the coup de gras of photos from the trip. Apparently, my harassing comments to Tom about the fact that of all things to bring to Beijing, he packed his “Turkey Trot 1997” t-shirt hit a nerve. His response to my torment was to jokingly wear it under his sport coat for Brett’s birthday dinner and party at Maison Boulud. Loved it. He did change – although I think I would have preferred him like this.

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Through the Seasons: Suit Up

25 Jul

In need of a suit?  If so – lucky you!  Thanks to numerous ready-to-wear designers, buying a suit is no longer a sentence into conformity.  Not to suggest that the chicness of a well-tailored, classic black suit in a high quality fabric is on the outs – but why not jazz it up a bit with something a little more inspire?  In reminiscing through seasons past – I tried to find options to “suit” a variety of tastes.  Whether you are a lover of color, prints, or a modern take on shape – here are a few inspirations for SUITING UP!

An off-white look is a nice alternative to classic black. The cape-like sleeves offer an additional element of style. John Richmond Spring 2012

Only Balmain could take their typical motorcycle jacket look and turn it into a sexy, yet very wearable suit. Balmain Spring 2012

For the VERY bold and beautiful. Sonia Rykiel Spring 2012

A bit of whimsy with a touch of sophistication.  Although…the hat is really not that “office friendly”.  Moschino Spring 2012

This could read “men’s pajamas” if not properly tailored – but suits with prints are certainly a current trend. Stella McCartney Spring 2012

Sleeveless in Suitville! Here is an alternative approach to the basic suit shape. Rachel Roy Pre-Fall 2012

Metallic – why not? Chadwick Bell Fall 2012

This could go “part-time CLOWN” fast – so be sure you have the right body type and accessories to go with it. Duro Olowu Fall 2012

For the print lover. Derek Lam Fall 2012

Tired of the same old shape and color – this will certainly mix it up. Peter Som Fall 2012

What a great way to liven up a basic black look. Also perfect for “dirty hair” days when you need to wear a pony. Dion Lee Resort 2013

Casual Fridays? What could be more perfect than a denim suit? Gucci Resort 2013

How about a little color? Versace Resort 2013

Yigal Azrouel Resort 2013

A modern twist on a classic. Alexander McQueen Resort 2013

I am liking the idea of a printed tux for ladies…not so much for our counterparts though.  That just reads, “PIMP”.   Roberto Cavalli Resort 2013

Happy Suiting!

A Bump in Beijing: Weeks 22-25

25 Jul

We are certainly progressing in the “bump” area!  For those of you who requested new shoes each week…I hope you are not disappointed.  If you commented on the fact that my hair grew bigger in each photo during weeks 18-21…I am sorry but my thin, baby fine hair is pretty much maxed out with the teasing and “Big Sexy” aerosol hairspray.

Only 15 weeks to go until we meet our little Olive!

Check out Weeks 18-21 for a “Bump Comparison”!

 

Think Pink

23 Jul

While having a little girl on the way is relatively new to me…having the color pink on the brain is certainly not!  That said – it has enhanced my love of the color even more – which I didn’t think was possible.  And – it seems that I am not alone in my affinity for all things PINK.  Numerous designers used the girly hue in their resort collections.  I believe that many of them chose the specific Schiaparelli shade that you see below to pay tribute to the brand’s big comeback.  I personally cannot wait to see who will be named the new head designer of the infamous label.  Waiting on PINK pins and needles until September…

Fendi Resort 2013

Monique Lhuillier Resort 2013

Ports 1961 Resort 2013

Rachel Zoe Resort 2013

Ralph Lauren Resort 2013.  Ralph – can you please make this in maternity?  I think it would work!

Skaist-Taylor Resort 2013

Valentino Resort 2013

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

The Big Reveal

22 Jul

Next to the delicious “duckie” cupcakes at our couples’ shower in Murray to celebrate Baby Hutch. Thank you to our amazing hosts!

As I am sure I have mentioned before – one negative of living 6,800 miles away from family and friends back in the States is not celebrating the “big moments” of life with those who we love most.  So when we had the opportunity to reveal our little one’s gender with our nearest and dearest in person…we could not pass up the opportunity!

I cannot take any credit for how fun and creative the “Big Reveal” turned out to be.  Leave it to Kim Willson and Mary Kay Bowden, my best friends since we met as teeny little girls on Olive Street, to create the perfect “Margarita Mama” baby shower complete with a baby carriage piñata busting to announce GIRL or BOY!  I think you will see in the short video clip below that we were completely SURPRISED!

It’s a GIRL!!

Well…in case you couldn’t see clearly enough – all the candy inside the piñata was PINK – revealing that we are in fact having a baby GIRL.  And although Mary Kay and Kim obviously knew what we were having (as they filled the piñata themselves) they were totally shocked that we had not tried to milk it out of our mothers  – who were with us the day before at the ultrasound when the doctors determined that our little bun-in-the-oven is of the female variety.  To be fair – Donna (my mother-in-law) should also be given credit.  She read the ultrasound herself!

Brett busted it open with one swing! What a big strong baby daddy!

Honestly, it was a bit of a risk to do a big reveal so early in the pregnancy.  I was only 4 months at the time…which is still a little early to be 100% sure – but it was our only chance as it is not permitted to learn the baby’s sex here in China.  At 6 months in – we are 100% that Brett has his hands full with another “little me” on the way.  I believe my father’s words were “good luck with that”.  I am thrilled to continue on with the pink parade…and I feel confident that Brett is too!

Excited and totally surprised! Full disclosure…we had taken the “Intelligender” test (an over-the-counter pee stick type thingy” while we were in New Orleans a few days before, and it said BOY! Well…that was fifty bucks down the toilet – literally.

Our sweet guests watching Brett bust the piñata. The joy of growing up in a community like Murray, Kentucky (officially American’s friendliest small town) never fades. Thank you to all of you for celebrating this moment with us!

Hugging my mom. As her side of family only seems to produce little girls – I think she was a bit relieved. I did overhear her telling Brett’s mom – “I don’t think I would have known what to do with a boy!”  Mom…I have no doubt you would have figured it out!

Getting parenting tips from my dad. With my little brother, Bailey, having just turned six…his experience is not as dated as one might think!

With my sweet Mary Kay. Thank you to you and Kimmy for all the amazing details. What a treat to share this moment with you!  I can’t wait to watch Annabelle, Drewsie, and Olive tell Sanders and Russell that “NO BOYS” are allowed just like we told Robert!

Drew, Kimmy, and Mary Kay enjoying some tasty treats!

“Baby Girl Talk” with the ladies of the family. My mother-in-law Donna, My Aunts Jane, Lorna, & Cindy, and My Grandmothers Bettie and Jean.

Admiring the gift from Nanny, my maternal grandmother, a necklace given to her when she was five by my great-grandparents. So precious! Can’t wait to give it to our little Olive Bee when she turns five.

Chatting with some of my favorite humans on the earth!

What a special day for our family of 2.5!  Thank you again to our hosts and guests who made the day even more memorable for us.  We are so blessed!

A big thank you to Tara Dennison for capturing this moment for us on video!  It is such a treasure.

Through the Seasons: Florals

20 Jul

It seems that in the very fast paced world of today, some fashion trends come and go before they even hit the store shelves.   On the flip side, some looks seem to find a more permanent place in our hearts and on our runways.  I thought it might be fun to highlight some of these “trends with staying power” with a Through the Seasons Lookblog.

Up First: FLORALS – they seem to be having a moment in the sun…

Temperley Spring 2012 RTW

Costume National Spring 2012 RTW

Isaac Mizrahi Spring 2012 RTW

Valentino Couture Spring 2012

Elie Saab Couture Spring 2012

Bibhu Mohapatra Fall 2012 RTW

Chadwick Bell Fall 2012 RTW

Jenni Kayne Fall 2012 RTW

Alexander McQueen Resort 2013

J. Mendel Resort 2013

Jill Stuart Resort 2013

Stella McCartney Resort 2013 *This look is a double winner for longevity. Florals + Tuxedo Pants = Separates to Transcend the Seasons.

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

Beach Babymoon

20 Jul

While the word itself…”babymoon” seemed to turn my husband’s stomach – he had absolutely no problem with the concept of actually taking a fabulous trip before our little munchkin arrives.  Personally – I don’t care what you call it.  I will take a romantic get-away with my husband any chance I get!  So off to the Maldives we went to celebrate the upcoming arrival of Baby Hutch.

After rave reviews from my sweet friend and newlywed, Brandace Wilson, (who just returned from her honeymoon) we knew we must take advantage of the direct flight from Beijing to Malé while we still had the chance.  And while it was difficult to choose a resort (because they are all quite amazing) – in the end we went with the W Resort & Spa on Fesdu Island…just 1 of the 1,200 that make up this beautiful island nation situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

On the W Jetty waiting for our seaplane take-off. The W has its own lounge full of cool drinks and tasty treats while you wait for “fins up”.

The sign of a good trip…the seaplane had my monogram.

The vast majority of our time in the Maldives was spent in our own little ocean oasis.  When your “hut” has everything you need including direct ocean access, a plunge pool, a well stocked snack station and minibar, and the best in-room service…why leave?  So – we basically didn’t.  Except for breakfast.  This preggers couldn’t resist the delicious spread of the buffet and the “fruit man” who created custom fruit plate masterpieces to suit one’s individual tastes.

Outdoor space on our Ocean Oasis. The W also offers beautiful beach bungalows – but I think the over-the-water option (with glass bottom floors inside) is the more interesting and fun of the two.

Brett’s backflip into the ocean off the deck. Reminding me that I was truly not cut out to be a “boy-mom”!

In-Water Dining! Even if it is a bit warm outside…the W makes sure that your feet are cool by allowing you to give them a dip while enjoying your morning meal.

One of many “bump” pictures…

One perk of traveling to a Muslim country while pregnant…the “mocktail” list is almost as long as the “cocktail” list!

The bird and the bump!

We decided to do a little photo shoot after breakfast one morning (mainly because I had finally washed my hair for real in a legitimate shower…as opposed to an ocean one!)

One night we decided to take advantage of the W’s In-Room BBQ Service.  They provide all the “fixings”  and you can choose between American or Asian style.  Clearly, with the current lack of American BBQ in our lives …we opted for the potato salad and grilled corn-on-the-cob option.  All that was left for us to do (after they delivered the spread and set-up the grill for us) was to actually throw the meat (ribs, burgers, and wings) on the grill and eat it!

My Grill Master!

Great food. Great view. Extra great company.

The proximity to China and the lack of visa issues for mainland Chinese makes the Maldives a great destination for Chinese honeymooners.  Here were some of our favorites…

This couple wore matching outfits everyday. Not your typical “trousseau” to say the least!

Although we only caught a quick glimpse of their husbands, these ladies went all out for a not-so-impromptu photo shoot around the tiny island wearing formal gowns. We see this constantly in the Mainland!

On our last day at the resort, before heading back to Malé for a quick tour of the world’s smallest capital city and then back to Beijing, we decided to allow ourselves the ultimate cliché in destination drinking…Pina Coladas!  (A virgin one for me of course!)  But who could resist this packaging??

Puckering up for his Pineapple! His was much better than mine…I did have a tiny sip!

Until next time beautiful blue water and soft silky sand!

A parting message in honor of our little beach-bun-in-the-oven!

 

True Resort

10 Jul

Originally resort wear (as indicated by its name) was created by high-end designer labels for their customers that were expected to “holiday” in warmer climates after the cooler Christmas and New Year’s Holidays.  Fast forward many moons and the resort collections have adapted to reach a broader audience and provide year-round looks to accommodate a variety of lifestyles.  As I type – Brett and I are T minus 15 hours away from our departure from Beijing to the Maldives.  So naturally…with thoughts of the crystal clear Indian Ocean on the brain,  I would like to focus on the “True Resort” looks that graced the runways during Resort 2013.  While they are not available yet – I did find inspiration in every look as I packed this morning.  (And to answer any questions…YES  – being almost 6 months pregnant created quite a few “packing challenges”.)   Only time and pictures will tell…

Collette Dinnigan Resort 2013

Collette Dinnigan Resort 2013

Issa Resort 2013

This looks is just begging for a giant sun hat! Rachel Roy Resort 2013

Where else can you wear a turquoise sequined jumpsuit other than a tropical holiday? Chado Ralph Rucci Resort 2013

Bibhu Mohapatra Resort 2013

Gucci Resort 2013

Naeem Kahn Resort 2013

BCBG by Max Azria Resort 2013

Giambattista Valli Resort 2013

So this is goodbye to you until next week and hello to the W Retreat & Spa Maldives!   再见我的朋友! (See you soon my friends!)

Crazy for Couture: Days 3 & 4

9 Jul

The final two days of Paris Couture were filled with sparkles at Elie Saab, drama at Jean Paul Gaultier, classic colors at Valentino, and a bit of whimsy at Ulyana Sergeenko.  Each collection provided its fair share of eye candy.  Let’s have a taste.

Elie Saab Couture Fall 2012

Elie Saab Couture Fall 2012

Elie Saab Couture Fall 2012

Elie Saab Couture Fall 2012

Jean Paul Gaultier Couture Fall 2012

Jean Paul Gaultier Couture Fall 2012

Valentino Couture Fall 2012

Valentino Couture Fall 2012

Valentino Couture Fall 2012

Ulyana Sergeenko Couture Fall 2012

Ulyana Sergeenko Couture Fall 2012

Do you have a favorite?

I have a tie between Valentino’s classic red gown and Sergeenko’s snow bunny bride!

Better Late Than NEVER: Grease is the Word…

9 Jul

Due to my unfortunate procrastination – I think it is high time that I start a category of posts called “Better Late Than NEVER”.  This will give me the opportunity to write about things that happened weeks ago (or most likely months ago) whenever the “blog bug” hits me.  So let’s start with a fun one….Grease is the Word!

Morgan & Brett channelling Sandra Dee & Danny Zuko

Back in December, The Red Headed Sisters – Megan & KC Connolly, threw a bowling birthday bash in Beijing to celebrate KC’s big 3-0.  And what better theme for a bowling bash than GREASE!  Every single guest came in full on Grease-worthy gear.  A custom soundtrack not only blasted through the overhead speakers to set the perfect tone, but also went home with each guest as a party favor on individual CD’s.  From cheeseburger shaped cupcakes to french fry cookies with red icing “ketchup” – these pink ladies thought of everything!

BOWL OFF: Sexy Sandy VS Not-So-Sexy Sandra Dee

Look at those amazing forms! Morgan Hutchinson with Birthday Girl KC Connolly

Sandra Dee & Rizzo: Morgan Hutchinson & Megan Connolly

Eating one of the delicious “burger” cupcakes!

Sandra Dee & Danny. Doesn’t Brett has the perfect “Zuko” Hair!?

Cutest cupcakes and french fry cookies ever!!

Those cute Connolly’s really know how to show their guests a good time!  Thank you for the wonderful memories!

Rydell High forever.
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