My picks from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Lest any of you think otherwise, the Nordstrom anniversary sale is running at full tilt. Cardholders can shop early, and the store is full of curtained-off sections that contain the sale items. You really can just walk behind the curtain and go for it. Cindy and I spent six hours yesterday stocking up on fall basics. It was a glorious cloudy day, and we bought boots and coats. I swear I could almost taste pumpkin pie.

My picks from the sale:

We each brought home a pair of these Tory Burch boots. Cindy’s are brown. Mine are black. They’re gorgeous things, and I’ll be wearing mine every day come November. $299, regularly $500.

Tory Burch 'Brita' Riding Boot

Dear anonymous benefactor, please send this rabbit-lined leather jacket, post-haste. I’m in mourning over it. Soooo yummy. $465, from $695.

Rudsak Genuine Rabbit Fur Trim Leather Jacket

By day two, the Scottsdale shop had almost sold out of this Halogen leather dress. It’s sexy. $198, down from $298.

Halogen® Back Zip Leather & Ponte Dress

Behold, Cindy’s new Mackage coat. I’d have bought one, too, but it was meant for someone with a longer torso than mine. If you have one, please try it on. It’s collar-rific. $395, regularly $590.

Mackage Leather Trim Double Breasted Coat

Remember when I told you about the best leggings known to womankind? I was wrong, and a post dedicated entirely to my new discovery is forthcoming. I’ve been holding out on you all summer. The very best leggings are Lysse, and they’re on super sale. $38, regularly $58. They hold you in, and you don’t even realize that your top is being controlled.

Lyssé® Control Top Leggings

I am courting this handbag by Pour La Victoire. It reminds me of the Celine bags that I covet. $329, from $495.

Pour la Victoire 'Butler - Large' Snake Embossed Leather & Suede Tote

Are you sensing fall’s color palette? Black and cognac, everywhere. This Laundry leather jacket is three trends in one: color-blocked leather with motorcycle styling. Glorious. $199 from $300.

Laundry by Shelli Segal Two Tone Leather Moto Jacket

And now for the non-sexy essentials that you can’t miss:

A pack of my favorite Zella cushioned-heel athletic socks is $13, down from $22, in black and white. How’s that for an exciting purchase?

Zella Tab Back Socks (3-Pack)

New pajamas are in order. These Make + Model pants are just $20, from $32, in fun solids and stripes. I bought black. Snore.

Make + Model 'Vintage Sleepy Time' Lounge Pants

The softest T-shirt you will ever touch is by Majestic. $79, down from $135, and you might try to wear it every day.

Majestic Long Sleeve Crewneck Top

Lastly – isn’t this little Kate Spade wallet cute? I’m so tempted, but I can’t decide between fuchsia and black and white. $64, from $98.

kate spade new york 'hancock park - small stacy' leather wallet

kate spade new york 'hancock park - small stacy' leather wallet

What did you buy?

P.S. If you’re not a Nordie’s cardholder, and don’t want another credit card, try this: I have a Nordstrom debit that’s linked to my checking account. This way, I still get all the benefits of being a Nordstrom cardholder (points, reward $$, and early shopping at the Anniversary Sale.)

By |2013-07-12T07:03:22-07:00July 12th, 2013|Style|4 Comments

Easy Sticky Buns for Birthday Breakfast

For Tyson’s birthday, I like to make him a cake. We talk about it, plan it, and then when he’s out of the house one afternoon I bake it and surprise him. It’s our small, dorky tradition, but I love doing it. This year, he wanted a cheesecake from Tammie Coe (humph), so I baked him a birthday breakfast instead. These pecan sticky buns are so fast, and so easy, that I made them while T was sleeping in.  I ran to the grocery store, bought puff pastry, threw these together, and they were coming out of the oven just as he woke up.

You’re there with me now, right? They’d be excellent for easy desserts, the perfect thing to bring to brunch, and easy enough to have on hand in the freezer for Domestic Enthusiast emergencies.

By |2012-10-08T07:07:15-07:00October 8th, 2012|Recipes|0 Comments

Fall Must-Have No. 2: Le Smoking Slipper

There’s a lot of hyperventilation in fashionable circles these days over the autumnal arrival of the smoking slipper. That’s a loafer, unless you’re fancy.

“Smoking slipper” is even a shopping category now on Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus’ websites. Since when did smoking get a fashionable connotation? Did smoking get its groove back? I blame those smoke-less electric cigarettes. And the Great Gatsby. And Lindsay Lohan, just because it’s fun to blame her for many things.

Let’s peruse the trend. These are the smoking slippers of my dreams: Valentino, $795, Neiman Marcus, and clearly not happening.

First runners-up — black and tan and tasseled and perfect — save the $238 price tag, J. Crew. They’d go with everything, you know?

These are a GET: a knockoff of the DelToro slippers that started this all and the Alexander McQueen ones that came next. So Yale. $125, at Footnotes — a great online shoe store, but if you’re ever in Napa, DO go to the actual store. It’s a fun one.

Burgundy-red bliss by Marc Jacobs, $275, Nordstrom. (They also come in a deeper burgundy shade – yum.)

Leopard smoking slippers – PLUS studs. $99, Nordstrom.

Nine West classic and cute: $69.

Topshop studs, $56:


Classic enough to see you through this trendy season – and many others hence: at Nordstrom, Dolce Vita, $159:

Gap has brilliant versions under $50 — in calfhair and suede,even — to assauge any guilt about sneaking into this season for a drag or a puff.

Sam Edelman, $145 at Lori’s Shoes — my favorite shoe store in Chicago — in black and blush.

The ones I will probably buy: $139, Nordstrom, by Steve Madden.

And these are the shoes that started the craze: velvet monogrammed blue-blood creations from DelToro. I have wanted them for approximately 1.5 years. They are $455. In my mind, I’m wearing them in a Connecticut cabin in a Ralph Lauren ad, and Nacho is reading me Emerson, while wearing a matching pair.

Will you be delving into this world of velvet carcinogen chic?

By |2012-09-13T08:29:27-07:00September 13th, 2012|Style|3 Comments

My mother’s pumpkin ode to Jonathan Adler

My mother and I have a penchant for white marble sculpture  — anything that looks like it came off of the David, Venus di Milo, or escaped from the Louvre. Either we have romantic, Renaissance leanings or we think that filling our homes with the ideal human form could help us lay off the chocolate. You decide.

During the Rose girls’ pumpkin fest, I floated the idea  of Jonathan Adler-inspired pumpkins and my mom’s eyes lit up. We went back to the craft store for tall, thin pumpkins and modeling clay, and then she did this:

Inspired by this: Adler’s Misia and Salvador vases, $98 each, at Neiman Marcus.

And also this, the pitcher — lips on one side, mustache on the other:

It is something to be continually impressed by one’s mother.

To make them, procure pumpkins. (If you want to upgrade the stem on faux pumpkins, my tutorial is here.) You also need white modeling clay (from Michaels) and spray paint: Krylon Fusion in Dover White, satin finish.

First, paint the pumpkins. Next, form the clay into a mustache and lips with your fingers. It isn’t as difficult as it looks. Summon your Play-Doh skills.

Press your clay creations against the pumpkin to get the curve right on the back.

Next, dry them out in the oven according to package instructions. (Really simple.) Then, spray paint them the same color as the pumpkin. Using hot glue, attach lips and mustache to the pumpkins.



Clearly, I am a very mature person.

By |2012-09-11T07:43:40-07:00September 11th, 2012|DIY + Projects|3 Comments

September is for soup on Sundays: cheddar corn chowder recipe

Come September, I play a little game with myself. It’s called Fake Fall. It involves sweater-buying, soup-eating, pumpkin-stalking and all activities that help me forget the actual weather outside. (Where I live, autumn arrives at the end of October.) Making cheddar corn chowder on a Sunday is one of my favorite activities. The house smells autumnal, Tyson watches football on TV, and we nestle in with bacon-topped bowls.

I started with the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe and lightened it considerably so that I could fit in my sweaters and have my soup, too. I halved the fat, replaced the cream with milk, and amplified the corn flavor instead. I like it better than the original.

Recipe: The Barefoot Contessa’s Cheddar Corn Chowder, Lightened Up

  • 6 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 2 T good olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons  unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups medium-diced yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled (1 pound)
  • 5 cups corn kernels, fresh (5 ears) or frozen (1 1/2 pounds), cobs reserved if you’re using fresh corn
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, grated, plus more for topping


In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Pour off and discard the bacon drippings in the pan, except 1-2 tablespoons. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and reserve the corn and the cobs. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, potatoes, and corn cobs, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.  Remove cobs and discard. Add the corn to the soup, then add the milk and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon and additional cheese.

Trick: if you lighten up the Barefoot Contessa’s Cheddar Corn Chowder for dinner, then you can absolutely have her peach-raspberry crisp for dessert. And that — that is worthy of every smidge of butter you can cram inside.

P.S. Remember that time I received a thank-you note from the Barefoot Contessa herself? Every time I see it in my drawer, I want to order orange-script stationery.


By |2012-09-05T06:44:09-07:00September 5th, 2012|Recipes|2 Comments

And now for some Louis Vuitton handbag pornography

Have you seen this — the Louis Vuitton fall advertising campaign of cruelty and doom?

The leopard. LEOPARD. It’s making my heart beat like I’m at an 8th grade dance.

The sequins.

The buttons on those freaking amazing ’40s coats.

And look at this gold buckle.

These bags cost $3000 to $5000.

Marc Jacobs, you are mean and cruel.

Marc Jacobs, those goat hair bags are creepy.

But the coats, shoes and hats are heaven — everything I want to be and look like for fall.

Freaking sequined handbags.

Freaking Marc Jacobs and his $3000 purse porn.

The bags come out mid-September.  I ache already.

(I spotted the ads in The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Go newspapers. Three cheers for my beloved NYT.)

By |2012-08-29T16:35:29-07:00August 29th, 2012|Style|1 Comment

Fall Craft Week: But wait, there’s more

We are getting to the place in Fall Craft Week where someone needs to come over and take my hotglue gun away. I’m too excited, too ambitious, and I already have too many pumpkins.

And yet, I am plotting a Saturday spent creating this pumpkin by Sweet Paul, who I believe to be the most inspiring person to grace the planet since Martha Stewart.

My mom and I want to try Country Living’s decoupage pumpkin crafted from Pictorial Webster’s — a book that has been high up on my wish list since I saw it in San Francisco. Photocopy the pages, tear out a few pictures, get out your modge podge. (I’d add a real stem.)

Isn’t Pictorial Webster’s gorgeous?

Also from the latest Country Living, this quilt-inspired pumpkin, which is decoupaged as well. I considered it, until I realized that every. single. tiny. piece. of that quilt was separate and had to be cut out, lined up, etc. Ugh. Download the pattern and find instructions here.


I sent this email to my friend Ricki early this morning: PRETTY PLEASE can I come over so we can make these? Ricki has a Silhouette craft machine, which makes these pillows as easy as ironing the letters on to IKEA cases. Fantastic. From Tater Tots and Jello.

I love this mantle in my preferred Halloween hues: black and white. (Maybe I bought an orange pumpkin, and maybe it annoyed me so much that I put it outside.) The chains are the best part. Created by Kate at Centsational Girl.


Did you see this Pac-Man Halloween garland? I’m hearing Pac-Man is suddenly hip. Kate of Mini-Eco tells you how to make it here. (Spotted on Popptytalk.)

A Missoni-meets-nailheads pumpkins. Directions here.

I’ll have a few more crafts coming next week . . . because can you believe it? I STILL HAVE MORE.

Which of this week’s spoils are you most excited to try? (Pretty please leave me a comment. I know it’s a little fussy, since azcentral requires its own login, but I miss hearing from you all! Part of the fun of this blog is hearing about what you’re doing with all that we discuss. Email me if that’s easier:

By |2011-09-30T17:08:47-07:00September 30th, 2011|Style|0 Comments

Fall Craft Week: Your Creations, all made in Arizona

Look at all this cool stuff you made.

Kim at TomKat Studio put together the cutest cupcake decorating party, complete with downloads like cupcake toppers and spooky buffet labels. (Kim, where did you get those place mats?)




Susan Crabtree imagined glittered coffin party invitations, and who could miss a party that begins with this? Instructions on her blog, Poca Cosa.


Susan, what is that bone paper? I need that, too.


These pillows were made from repurposed men’s suits by Bev Burch, who owns the Willows in Phoenix. These are for sale in her shop, but they’d befun to try at home, too, after a spin through a thrift store.


PinkSlipStyle‘s Ginger Murphy made thils killer spooky tree, which even has candles you can light. Find it at The Willows.


Cindy Lewton set the tab;es for a Ryan House fundraiser with style: a Mad-Hatter-in Autumn theme. She MADE that doll, people.


Alice in Wonderland meets pumpkins. That sounds like a good theme to me.


Kelly Ettenborough — who was my editor here once upon a time — crafted a chalkboard canvas with her tween-aged daughter, Ivy.

Kelly: “The front and all the edges were painted. (The glare on the photo looks like it isn’t.) Then, since we recently had seen The Help, this is what Ivy wanted to write on it with blue chalk. We also have a three-foot by three-foot canvas hanging in the hallway. It’s like a rotating art exhibit. Guests write messages and draw pictures.

By wiping away the chalk with a damp washcloth, you can change it to anything you want.

We hung Ivy’s “chalkboard” by her mirror in her room as she spends a lot of time there these days fixing her hair. A lot of time.”


And Shauna at JAM made glittered pumpkins, which are still one of my very favorite things to do in fall.


By |2011-09-29T17:11:04-07:00September 29th, 2011|Style|0 Comments

Fall Craft Week: Sweets and a Cupcake Contest

What, you thought we were going to get through this week without a calorie fix? Sacrilege. Sugar is my favorite medium.

How about a Candy Corn Milkshake, as imagined by local Susan Crabtree? (Mini versions would be perfect for my mom’s Halloween bash.)

Candy Corn Cheesecake Mousse from Glorious Treats, which gloriously does not taste like candy corn at all. (Hey, I love it, but only in its original form.)

Brain cupcakes from Martha, of course. In my family, we believe in gross-out food.

Ghost cupcakes, draped in rolled fondant — genius, because you can buy it at Michaels.

Rice Krispie treats that pay homage to the pumpkin. (Rolled fondant leaves and Tootsie Roll stem!)

Cupcake liners turned into witch hats from Half Baked:

Licorice trees with a candy corn fence, from Parents Magazine:

Are you ready to get your treat on? Assemble your sprinkles and get decorating. AZCentral’s first annual cupcake decorating contest is officially ON, and the deadline is Monday, Oct. 10. GET THIS: There’s no taste test. This contest is about looks alone. (I think this means you can go buy a box of muffins and have at it.) Email photos of your frosting achievements to  Details here.

By |2011-09-28T17:13:50-07:00September 28th, 2011|Style|2 Comments

Fall Craft Week: 11 Awesome Wreaths

What’s a change in season without a new wreath on the front door? (Did your mom do that, too?) I’d always feel a spark of joy when the Autumn wreath went up, and then the Christmas wreath soon after — it even played Jingle Bells when someone opened the front door. (Yes, have I not clearly documented that my Mom is actually the Spirit of Christmas?)

Once upon a holiday break from college, I tried to make Martha Stewart’s fresh cranberry wreath, which involves skewering hundreds of Ocean Spray berries with toothpick halves and sticking them into a styrofoam form. After the first hour, when I was grumpy and only 1/8 done, my mom reminded me that Martha’s cranberries froze outside, and the Arizona heat would turn mine into cranberry sauce.

Yeah, so these 11 wreaths are awesome and easy.





The burlap moment continues to engulf us, and I think we’ll never be able to let it go. (Where has it been all these years? How did we not know?) Phoenix’s Kelly Bird turned burlap and tulle into these lovelies, which she’ll help you make on Sunday, Oct. 9, at JAM, the artisans’ boutique in Scottsdale. You can also buy them at JAM (burlap is $45, tulle is $25) or follow her directions below. Thank you, Kelly!


To make the burlap wreath:

Cut three yards of burlap into strips that are about 10 inches long & 2 inches wide. (You don’t have to be super precise — just eyeball it). What I did was cut the burlap in half (where it is naturally folded from the bolt) and then cut 10 inch sections & then broke those down into 2 inch sections.

Using a 12 inch wire wreath frame (found in the floral dept.), tie each strip onto the wreath frame in a single knot. Make sure to fill each section as full as you can get it so the wreath is puffed and full.

Add the ribbon of your choice.

(Note from Jaimee — I’ve seen a great burlap colors at SAS FAbrics on Indian School in Phoenix. You can also buy it at Jo-Ann Fabric Stores.)




To make Kelly Bird’s tulle wreath:
Buy two rolls of tulle (found in the wedding section at JoAnn’s). Cut those into 13-inch strips.  (You will need about 1 & 1/2 rolls.)

Purchase an eight-inch wooden embroidery loop. Ddiscard the top portion that has the screw.

Tie the strips of tulle around the wreath in a single knot and fill the loop as full as you can for the prettiest wreath. Add the ribbon of your choice.

FOUR: Let us continue the zigzaggery. I love this REALLY easy wrapped fabric creation from  Tater Tots and Jello.

FIVE: Yarn balls en masse from Write it Down (spotted on Casa Sugar).


SIX: Wrapped yarn with a felt Halloween scenes from AnnaHailey’s Etsy shop. Yarn wreaths are simple. Here’s a tutorial to get you started.


SEVEN:  Mesa’s Laura Ingalls Gunn crafted this felt mum and leaf wreath, and then made napkin rings to match. Directions are on her cute blog, Decor to Adore. Be sure to scope out the snowball felt wreath for that mythic day when it’s cold here.


(Also, Laura Ingalls Gunn is actually related to Laura Ingalls, and Mrs. Gunn is worthy of the name. She is impossible not to adore.)


EIGHT: Katydid made this Raven-inspired piece with crepe paper from the dollar store. And now I’m quoting Edgar Allan Poe in my mind.


NINE: From Club CK’s Shannon, paper cones and skulls.


TENCinnamon stick wreath, spotted on Maddy Muse — a local blog.


ELEVEN: More wrapped yarn, but I love the preppy argyle touch. This is also for sale on Etsy, but I thought it also might inspire your own. Directions for a similar wreath here.


(This Rosette wreath is from the same Etsy shop, and isn’t it pretty? Rosette tutorials are all over the web. Or you could just order this one, $60.)


P.S. This is that Martha Stewart cranberry wreath. I still love it, but my fingertips remember it differently.


By |2011-09-27T17:15:57-07:00September 27th, 2011|Style|3 Comments


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