End to J Crew as we know it?

I don’t heart J Crew. I have never met anyone who can wear their pants, I dont know who their fit model is and color combo occasionally is too much of a modern day Lilly Pulitzer. However COMMA that is not to say that I don’t wear Lilly Pulitzer and J Crew.

J Crew’s peacoat jackets are amazing, great fit and color selection. I also like their basic but good quality crew neck sweaters, again beautiful colors, I just bought light blue, oatmeal and briiiiight yellow which I thought I could wear with black leggings and gold Van sneakers. J Crew’s Regency jacket is an old favorite of mine, classic with a twist. And I was seriously considering buying these babies in forest green. Pointy toe flats are hard to find and pom-poms are so in for this summer.

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Lot of my clients love J Crew and, for crying out loud, my 7 year old daughter Olivia just announced that she had torn her favorite leggings and asked me if I could get some new ones for her from Crewcuts as she thinks they fit her the best. Before you point fingers at me, she’s been like this since birth. Had to tell her she can’t wear a fur vest to school today. Sigh..

SO it comes as a bit of a surprise that J Crew is letting go of their head of design Jenna Lyons who has been there for 26 years and pretty much designed all these pieces I love. I can’t fault her style, she is beyond gorgeous. Can’t wait to see what she (and J Crew) do next.

How good is this? Amazing.

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Couldn’t agree more.

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-haiku

Cocktail dresses

Bloomingdales is running a Friends&Family sale which discounts most everything by 25%. When there’s a sale, I always check out dresses. Even if you don’t have an event in mind, it really is a great idea to have some in the closet so that when you need one, you are not running around at the last minute, stressed out and spending more than you wanted on something that you’ll wear only a few times.

Quick note on pantyhose as I get that asked about that a lot. I much much prefer that you get a spray tan instead. If you must get pantyhose, get matte ones, most are shiny and look awful on photos. And if you are wearing an open toe shoe – no panty hose whatsoever. If you are not comfortable with spray tan, get Jergen’s tanning lotion Natural Glow for medium/dark skin (light is way too light) and apply it for a few days so that a bit of color can develop. Any store will have it: CVS, Stop&Shop, Walmart etc.

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On to dresses: for daytime fundraisers and luncheons, try to avoid dark colors, it seems too dressy.

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Betsey Johnson Scuba dress $148. Color is so flattering and if you want to cover up your arms or get cold in a sleeveless, this offers a nice alternative to a jacket or pashmina. Rouching across midsection is a great ideas as well.

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AQUA color block dress $88.

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Laundry by Shelly Segal Off the Shoulder dress $295. Off the shoulder is having a major moment and the color is so pretty.

On to the evening options.

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Jill Jill Stuart strapless crepe gown $398. Beyond gorgeous, love love the neckline.

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Eliza J Embellished neckline dress $158. Great price for something so simple and sexy.

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Tadashi Shoji floral lace dress $268.80 on sale. 

Visiting Hyde Park, NY

How odd it is that we don’t visit our hometown and home state more like a tourist. There are so many museums and sights near us that I’ve never been to, I really want to make a habit of planning things with kids and seeing more of Connecticut and New York. Hudson Valley area though had been our favorite for years, even before we had kids hubs and I would escape Brooklyn and drive to the country. We loved Rhinebeck and the surrounding towns, the Gilded Age mansions, fascinating restaurants, all that antiquing, cute book stores and breath taking sights of Hudson River. When an old friend of mine came over for a visit, I used on of the 2 sunny days we had to take her up there.

Between my daughters school schedules we had just enough time to go up to Hyde Park and visit one of the mansions there. Vandebuilt was being renovated, so went to see FDR’s homestead. Franklin D. Roosevelt, our nation’s 32nd president (the only one to have stayed for 4 terms!) was born and grew up in Hyde Park, in Springwood mansion. His family owned the surrounding land as far as the eye can see and several homes and cottages on that property. Here’s the statue of FDR greeting visitors in his childhood home.

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Dining room:

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FDR’s mom Sara lived there her entire life and managed the property after husband’s death. There’s an initial S on the outside chimney. No wonder FDR’s wife Eleanor had her own house nearby. 🙂 Sara had Snuggery – a small little breakfast room with a fireplace, a few comfy chairs and a desk. I need a Snuggery! It needs to make a comeback.

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I loved the kids chairs by the massive fireplace, how cute are these? Loved all the panelling and molding detail on the ceiling also. Apparently FDR fancied himself a bit of an architect and designed this room while his mom oversaw the renovations.

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After walking the grounds and getting a bit of a chill we drove about 5 minutes to CIA – the Culinary Institute of America. I love the campus, the main building is gorgeous with a huge balcony and water fountains, pineapple motifs and all these people scurrying about in grey pants, white chef’s jackets and their knife cases. We walked around for a bit, peeked in on a lecture on mushrooms where the chef was peeling off bits of mushroom (huge – maybe portobello?) and handed these off to students in the hall, saw many culinary students prepping various meals through huge windows and had a lovely lunch at the Apple Cafe. Now, there are several great restaurants on the property, all staffed by students but since we didnt have much time, we grabbed a quick lunch at Apple Cafe which was ok BUT Apple Cafe has a most delicious looking dessert display that always lures me in. Like a moth to a flame.

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She had strawberries and cream cake and I had Modern Parisian something. Both beyond beautiful and delicious, if really sweet.

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And I ordered these raspberry brioche donuts for girls. They loved it, surprise, surprise!

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There’s also the world’s largest pedestrian bridge across Hudson nearby but we just didn’t have time and sort of felt some altitude sickness just imaging walking over it. But it did look cool and I bet the views are amazing. If you are in the area, give it a try!

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-h

Getting ready for overnight guests.

Quick primer on getting guest rooms ready and making sure both you and your guest(s) have a great time and feel comfortable.

Empty a few dresser drawers or if possible, some closet space, and add some extra hangers. Same goes for the bathroom drawers. If you have extras, robe and slippers are much appreciated.

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Leave out the following:  water, tissues, Advil (PM), wi-fi information, some books and magazines on a nice tray or on the bedside tables. A throw or a second blanket on the bed is always handy.

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Set some extra towels in the bathroom along with toothpaste and extra tooth brush, I like to use the extras we get from the dentist. Leave some extra toilet paper in there so they dont need to come looking for you when it runs out, add some shampoo-conditioner and body wash by the shower.

Light a candle in the room before they arrive or leave a diffuser there so the guests will feel welcome as soon as they enter. Clean and you are done!

Favorite loungewear.

First of all, I rarely lounge. I am very type A and a little OCD what comes to cleaning and organizing, so even when I plan to sit down with a cup of tea and a good book, I somehow end up doing a project or cleaning or, well to be fair, waisting my time on Pinterest. And whilst doing all that I always wear leggings and some random top with my hair in a bun and if I am really on top of things hair or face mask as well. So the idea of lounging around the house with my hair perfectly blown out and down, spritz of perfume and bit of lip gloss holds tremendous appeal. Ah yes, the calmer days lay ahead. It’s just that the house would need be clean for me to be able to relax and preferably someone has whittled down my to do list as well.

I did try the jogger pants and while I thought I looked pretty good, hubby’s reaction was less than flattering. I think he asked me to go back to leggings as they are at least fitted. 🙂

Here’s some options for in between.

I really like Barefoot Dreams brand. It’s priced well, cute and warm for lounging around the house.

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Barefoot Dreams Circle cardigan $116

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Naked Top $58 and Pants $68

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Calvin Klein sweatshirt $68 and pants $58

And in case Santa is listening, I really want this cashmere set as I am always freezing!

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Neiman Marcus Cashmere collection Jogging Set originally $650, now $230

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-haiku