Girl Crush

When it comes to personal style there is no one I admire more than Aerin Lauder, so I was over the moon when I read she would be launching an eponymous lifestyle brand this fall.  Her cosmetics line will be available in late August (a sneak peak available here) and I’ve read that the brand will offer tabletop and gifts for the holiday season with fabrics, home, and personal accessories to follow.  Lauder, who left her position as senior vice president and creative director at Estee Lauder last fall, explained in an interview with Architectural Digest that “the line is about embracing a kind of everyday elegance.”  If the Aerin brand can successfully convey the elegant feel of her inimitable style, it will make legions of women very, very happy.

From Aspen:

To East Hampton:

Everything she touches exudes refined and chic simplicity.

Click on each image for sources and links.

Sea Turtle Sunrise

Today is our family’s last day on Kiawah Island.  We rose early to see the sunrise and search for shells but what we discovered was much more thrilling.  A group of Loggerhead sea turtles had just hatched and were emerging from their nest.  No bigger than a half-dollar, these tiny creatures were making their way to the ocean to begin what could be a 50-65 year life span.

Kiawah Island volunteers protect and carefully monitor the nests of the Loggerheads which have been on the threatened species list since 1978.  As a group of us gathered around the nest, the turtle patrol asked us to make a human path to the ocean so the babies would stay on track and not be snatched by hovering seagulls.  What a joy it was to see them make the first leg of their journey!  If they make it to adulthood, these sea turtles will grow to 3 feet, weigh an astounding 250-350 pounds and travel (sometimes thousands of miles!) back to this site to lay their own eggs.

Off he goes into the wide, wide world!

all photos via the aesthete and the dilettante

Postcard from Kiawah

Greetings from Kiawah Island, South Carolina!  Our family arrived on Saturday afternoon as part of a 24-person entourage (fourteen adults and ten children!) for my brother-in-law’s surprise 40th birthday party.  And yes, he was genuinely surprised and thrilled.  What a coup!

Sun drenched beach days are melding into barbecue nights with nature walks, kayaking, tennis, golf, and cocktails-of-the-week filling the spaces in between.  I snapped the above photo of the spectacular Kiawah River marshland during our lowcountry oyster roast and barbecue.  It does not get much more beautiful than this.

photo via the aesthete and the dilettante

The Fashion Fast: Part II

She said 53 items, right?  Isn’t that what we all heard?  Honestly, even when I remove items and recount, I am right back to 53 somehow!  The clothes seem to be breeding on the rack.  I knew this Fashion Fast was going to be tough, but was not expecting it to be THIS tough.  The fact that I live on the North Shore of Chicago where it is currently 92 degrees but will easily dip into the low 40’s by late October is making the challenge even more difficult.  Most items were chosen for versatility’s sake though a few rash decisions were made out of a desperate need for color and pattern.  So after much debating and whittling, the final list has been compiled and catalogued, and by order of Fashion Fast Rule Number Two, I present to you:

above from left to right: 1-25 (image one), 26-41 (image two); below: 42-49 (counter clockwise in image 3), 50-53 (image 4)

  1. Black Lanvin Mini Quilted Leather Shoulder Bag
  2. Blue Lanvin Snakeskin Tote
  3. Denim J Crew cut-offs
  4. Dark denim Rich and Skinny straight leg jeans
  5. White denim Gap cut-offs
  6. White v-neck James Perse tank
  7. White sleeveless Grecian style Joie top
  8. White scoop neck short sleeve James Perse tee
  9. Black silk jersey racer back Fluxus tank
  10. Black/white gingham sleeveless silk Equipment blouse
  11. Blue/white striped silk Juicy Couture tank
  12. Floral silk tie front sleeveless Equipment blouse
  13. Navy/white striped boatneck Chance tee
  14. Light blue and white striped Theory button down
  15. Blue chambray J Crew button down
  16. Hot pink silk J Crew Talitha blouse
  17. Grey long sleeve cashmere J Crew tee
  18. Cream silk Equipment blouse
  19. Cream tailored tuxedo Rachel Zoe jacket
  20. Navy Rag and Bone riding jacket
  21. Black cashmere cardigan, vintage
  22. Bright striped cotton Juicy Couture cardigan
  23. Persimmon sleeveless light weight down Moncler vest
  24. Saddle brown leather 3.1 Phillip Lim jacket
  25. Camel mid-length cotton gabardine leather sleeve Burberry trench
  26. Ivory quilted leather Louis Vuitton tote
  27. Black scallop-hemmed Milly shorts
  28. Blue/black grosgrain waist 3.1 Phillip Lim skirt
  29. Navy/white floral print J Crew shorts
  30. Navy straight leg gabardine Jil Sander trousers
  31. Khaki leather Zero + Maria Cornejo leggings
  32. Red ankle-zip J Brand skinny jeans
  33. Red silk-jersey Lanvin dress
  34. Ivory crochet Gryphon tank dress
  35. Cream/blue/red/yellow stripe silk Juicy Couture dress
  36. Light blue Jil Sander sundress
  37. Indigo/white Rag & Bone shirtdress
  38. Cream/navy stripe cashmere Golde dress
  39. Dark khaki sleeveless Derek Lam dress
  40. Leopard print silk Rebecca Taylor dress
  41. Black wool/leather sleeveless Porter Grey cocktail dress
  42. Black leather Louboutin pumps
  43. Brown leather strappy Prada heels
  44. Nude leather Prada pumps
  45. Grey nubuck/brown leather Rag & Bone Harrow boots
  46. Navy suede strappy Miu Miu heels
  47. Nude scalloped Chloe flats
  48. Brown bamboo buckle Gucci sandals
  49. Black patent leather Lanvin flats
  50. Crystal bullet necklace
  51. Mixed metal Giles and Brother multi-chain necklace
  52. Enamel Hermes cuff
  53. Gold J Crew link bracelet

I have two confessions so far.  First, I am claiming my Ray Ban Aviators under Rule Number One as I wear them every day.  Second, I’m counting my bikinis as workout wear – I solemnly swear to swim at least a few laps every time I put one on…

Happy weekend everyone!

The Fashion Fast

I have been after my brilliant and beautiful little sister to write a guest post on The Aesthete and the Dilettante from the moment I started blogging last January.  In fact, our wild vintage shopping experience, Vintage Victory, was the subject of my very first post.  I have finally pinned her down, and the following is what she has submitted (under the express condition that I change not a word).  In true Little J style, she has presented me with a challenge.  A challenge so big, I am experiencing actual heart palpitations as I type…


Regular readers of A&D know that the author recently completed a fantastic challenge of physical strength and mental fortitude—her first Olympic Triathlon. No doubt these same readers also know she has a tremendous collection of fashion and a wonderful panache for making the rest of us feel pathetically plain.  I have spent the last 30 years measuring myself to the “Wendy Standard” in the mirror every time I plan to present myself in public; now I have the perfect excuse to punish….err….challenge her.

Why do you ask?

Simple sadism? Sibling rivalry? A bizarre fascination with martial efficiency?

All of the above; moreover, I am in the process of renovating my beach house and must vacate the premises for much smaller digs for the next 6 weeks. I can’t take much with me, and must store most of my wardrobe.  Misery loves company, A&D—almost as much as Wendy loves Hermes bangles. Unfortunately for her,  I have my mother’s sense of humor and my father’s petty viciousness (Dad, please forgive my poetic license, but you know it’s true).

The Fashion Fast and Its Rules:

  1. Thou shall choose no more than 45 items with which to clothe thyself for no less than 90 days beginning on July 23, 2012 and ending on October 20, 2012. Items included may be clothing accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes in any combination thou deem appropriate. Wedding rings, jewelry thou never removest, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear and work out wear are excluded.Thou shall not leave thy residence in lounge wear, nor shall thou perform any activity other than exercise in workout wear.
  2. Thou shall initially catalogue these items on “The Aesthete and the Dilettante” for the readership, and provide weekly updates on outfits assembled, problems encountered, and general musings about living more with less while shopping only within the confines of the closet which is thine.
  3. Thou shall not purchase new items with which to clothe thyself for the duration of the Fashion Fast.
  4. Thou may select no more than 3 new items from thy repository of wardrobe items every Sunday. These items may be exchanged for items thou previously selected, but thou may NEVER exceed 45 items. If thou choose to exercise this option, thou shall write a post with photos of the items and reasons for the exchange (reasons your readership finds unreasonable are subject to ridicule).
  5. Thou may also exchange items with other Fashion Fast participants.

Little J, as you know I cannot resist a great challenge so I accept.  And dear readers, if any of you are up for a fashion fast I’d love for you to join me.  As she said, misery loves company!

Kind of Blue

If you were to take a stroll through my home, my closet and my breakfront you would see that the common thread is undeniably blue.  I’ve read that every room needs a touch of black, but I find blue to be much more soothing and welcoming.  From the deepest navy Edelman leather on our dining room chairs to the soft but complex blue/green/grey paint on the master bedroom walls (Farrow & Ball’s Mizzle), you’ll find at least a touch of blue in every one of our rooms.  This weekend I was flipping through my Pinterest pages and the multitude of pictures I’ve dragged and dropped into my laptop’s interior design file looking for an image of a monogrammed pillow I’m planning to duplicate.  The following are some of the beautiful, inspirational interiors I came across that are too good not to share.*

*This is the first time I’ve ever posted without precise photo crediting and links.  I have always been incredibly diligent about it, but because most of these images were pulled for personal inspiration and not for posting purposes, I did not record where they came from.  I know that many, by virtue of my great love of these sites, came from elledecor, habituallychic, capecodcollegiate, and elementsofstyle.

What to Pack: Seaside Retreat

What to Pack: Seaside Retreat
My thoughts have turned to the ideal warm weather vacation wardrobe as our family has an oceanside trip on the horizon.  I love this palette of sea green, mist grey, sunshine yellow, and ocean blue.  White is the quintessential neutral for summer, so packing go-with-everything white denim is a must.  The striped oxford does double duty as a sexy, bum grazing coverup and as a top for the cut-offs or the jeans.  The straw bag easily transitions from beach to town, though a more elegant clutch is in order for a night out.  Gold jewelry looks amazing against sun-kissed skin and it mixes and matches with all of the clothes, including the bikini.  And what’s vacation without a little lingerie thrown in?  It takes up very little room, after all.

Emamó slip dress

Jenny Packham sheer slip

Current/Elliott stretch denim shorts
$200 –

Mar Y Sol tote handbag

Bex Rox necklace

Yves Saint Laurent cuff jewelry
$285 –

BLANK stone necklace