How to

WHAT TO LIKE NOW

A SERIES OF THINGS TO GET YOU CLOSER TO HAVING THAT JE NE SAIS QUOI

My Favorite Five 5 Dec 1 '14

1_

QUILTED DUVET COVER

- Not only has nesting set in, but so has winter. I foresee a lot of time spent in bed (even if not necessarily sleeping) I think West Elm has some of the most stylish bedding options. This quilted duvet cover in Grey is incredibly cozy.

2_ HEALTH ESSENTIALS - These whole food supplements have kept me incredibly healthy through out my pregnancy. I thought they were great supplements before I was pregnant but very happy to have them available during this prenatal time. I want to make sure the baby is getting all of the nutrition it is supposed to and this gives me peace of mind that I'm offering it everything I can when my diet does not. Get

Juice Plus here

3_

PRINTED SHEETS

- Some people love white beds, and I get that. It's like a big fluffy cloud. But I love getting into multiple prints and textures and colors. Hence, I love these dot sheets from West Elm in Slate to go with the light grey duvet cover. Ready for bed!!!

4_ EURO PILLOWS - I am a little late to the game with this one, but better late than never. Euro Size Pillows are my new bedding essential. They are great support when laying in bed reading or watching a move, and they look fantastic. These

shams in a grey clover

like pattern are another addition to the nesting project.

5_ WINTER BOOTS - come in many shapes and sizes. But since slipping these on, I don't know that I will take them off. They are so comfortable and look great with everything. These are definitely worth the splurge.

Fiorentini + Baker Elf boots 

WHAT TO LIKE NOW

A SERIES OF THINGS TO GET YOU CLOSER TO HAVING THAT JE NE SAIS QUOI

My Favorite Five Oct 20 '14

1_ NESTING is certainly what I'm doing at 33 weeks pregnant. The maternal instincts have kicked in and I'm making a cozy, comfortable place for the baby to be. In Brooklyn, even tho it's a little roomier than Manhattan, savy space saving skills are still required. I have searched all over for furniture from antiques to crate & barrel, but Ikea still rules when it comes to space saving furniture. The

HENNES 

shoe cabinet actually looks nice/ grown up and is perfect for some quick storage by the doorway for things like winter accessories as we head out with our winter baby. 

2_

FADING GIGOLO

needs to move to the top of your moving watching list, pronto. If you did not see it in theaters this past summer, Autumn is even more apropos. I don't want to spoil the plot but I fell in love with John Turturro after watching this. It's the kind of movie you wish would never end. 

3_ MATERNITY COATS =

CAPES

is what I discovered this week. As I head into the home stretch with an already big and still growing bump I had to figure out how to face the elements, stylishly. I used to not like capes so much because I thought they made me look pregnant. But when you are pregnant - they look really cute over the bump! 

4_ 

SPACE ODDITY

is rocking my world right now. I wake up singing it. Maybe it's because so many people reference babies moving in your stomach to aliens. In some ways it is very "alien", but more than that it truly is one of the sweetest feelings in the entire world. In any case, David Bowie rules. 

5_

BABY FURNITURE

doesn't have to be so baby. I love this item from Pottery Barn Kids (and I didn't know I liked stuff from Pottery barn ?!?!) I love the open design for items pretty enough to display along with drawer space. Great Concept. 

WHAT TO LIKE NOW

A SERIES OF THINGS TO GET YOU CLOSER TO HAVING THAT JE NE SAIS QUOI

My Favorite Five - 10/10/14

1_

RACHEL COMEY CHECKOUT ZIP CLUTCH

 is so cool. As you know, I lived in my Rachel Comey Comrad Shoeties all summer and now excited to see what she is doing in the bag arena. It stays in line with her "offbeat charm".

2_ 

KUNK FU HUSTLE

by Stephen Chow is a cult classic must to add to your list of great films. It was playing at

BAM

over the weekend so I had a date with my baby's daddy to see it since he loves Kung Fu and I love anything Chinese. You know it's good when you walk out and see everyone mimicking the kung fu moves from the movie - us included. My move was the "Lion Roar". Now you have to watch it to find out :)

3_ EMBELLISHED SWEATSHIRTS are even better than plain sweatshirts! Thank god for this trending staple. It's so comfy, warm and fits bumps. Then you have designer brands like

Christopher Kane

which make this "CutAway Shoulder Embellished Sweatshirt". It's one of my favorite things right now. 

4_

THE WHITE ALBUM

is another cult classic that will never get old. I cleaned out the house all weekend or what some call "nesting". The White Album was part of the cleaning soundtrack so it's on my mind. It's also special to me because there is one song with the baby's possible name (if it's a girl)  Any guesses???

5_ SUEDE SNEAKERS from

Tod's

are one of my new favorite shoes this season. The designer sneaker trend is right up there with the sweatshirt trend -- BRING IT ON! 

How to PACK FOR LABOR DAY WEEKEND

SERIES | HOW TO HAVE THAT JENEE SAIS QUOI 
ALL ABOARD! It's time to get out of the city (which ever city you are in) and take full advantage of summer's last long weekend. In NYC the nights are already chilly so it truly feels like summer is on it's way out. Getting out of town involves the dreaded task of ... PACKING! But once you learn to be a good, practical  packer this gets easier - Good packing is having that Jenée Sais Quoi !!!

#1: Stick to a color palette. This way different pieces will mix and less shoes and accessories are required. 

The color palette depends on the locale. In this particular series I'm going to East Hampton so I chose a Sophisticated, Preppy combo of Summmer White, Black and Navy. 
Note* for my weekend in AC is was all about Gold and Bright color.


| White Linen Pants - Joe Fresh, Black Tank - James Perse, Straw Hat- Olive & Pique (White zip-up sweatshirt - not shown) |
This is a great travel outfit. Remember that if you are using public transportation: trains, buses or planes - the air is a bit high in the summer. So don't dress for the beach quite yet. 

Later, this outfit was perfect for a casual dinner in the Hamptons. 




and this is how sticking to a color palette plays out:
White linen pants pair with Navy Stripe tank.
Navy Stripe Tank pair with White eyelet skirt....

#2 Tasteful yet fun jewelry. Like big gaudy jewels are great for the holiday season, kitschy summer pieces make summer that much more playful. These pieces are all from Kenya. The shell necklace is a gift from my friend who lives there and the double strand beaded necklace is by Kustawii: an empowerment program teaching women artisans to be self sustaining. 

Bracelets in bright gold add a touch of fancy to simple cotton outfits. Watch bracelet from Michael Kors and Brass Bracelets from Calypso. 


#3 Sensible Sleep Wear. If you are staying at a friend's house or even a B&B where you might be seen by others in your nightie, keep it tame (or at least have a nice robe to cover up). These chinoiserie printed silk pajama pants are incredibly comfortable for sleep and are chic at the breakfast table too! 



#4 Sleek Dress. Though summer beach weekends are usually very casual, always bring one dress which can elevate your look for dinner beyond a clam bake. You never know. A dress like this is perfect because it's simple enough to be casual but sleek enough to look special. This one packs up small too! 
It's a great Maternity (non-maternity) dress too - J.crew

#5 Accoutrements - A few more necessary items (not all pictured here) which are smart for a Hamptons weekend - or almost any summer haven.
A) Bathing Suit & Sarong or SunTaker Towel
B) Summer Sweater (or in my case a white Zip up sweat shirt from a gift shop in Montauk)
C) Sperry Boat Shoes
D) White Tennis skirt

HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND
The red bathing suit is a perfect accent color to my color palette for easy cover up options. 


HOW TO GET INVITED AGAIN

SERIES | HOW TO HAVE THAT JENEE SAIS QUOI 
Home decor, Carnations, Bay Window decor, Initials, Brownstone

Being a House Guests comes with some Responsibilities, well if you ever want to be invited back. Summer is a time for long weekends away. Sometimes "away" means going to stay at a friend's beach or country house. Mind your manners and maintain your "jenée" sais quoi with a few simple impressions.

1. GIFTS - It is best to not show up empty handed. A small gesture goes a long way. Something for the home is most appropriate: flowers, a bottle for the bar,a scented candle or something you've baked. Though, if you do not know the taste of your host so well, it's ok to send a gift right after your departure once you have a better sense of what they might like. Also, you can pick something up during the weekend while shopping that you find suitable and present it on your last day.
lillet, lillet rose, apertif, french, summer drinks

One of my favorite gifts in the summer which is always fun and unique is a bottle of Lillet (Rosé if you can find it!) Gifting wine can be tricky but Lillet is a perfect summer aperitif enjoyed by anyone with the slightest sense of adventure or culture. Sometimes I order mine from Aster Wine. 
Lillet Rosé Cocktails


2. THANK YOU NOTES - Always always always send a handwritten Thank you note no less than 2 days after leaving your host. Done.
stationary, etsy, personalized startionary, snail mail
There are many great stationary option on Etsy, like this one

3. MAKE YOUR BED - What ever you do, don't be a slob. The simple gesture of making your bed each morning goes a long. If you don't get what I mean, Leave a comment. We can discuss :)


It doesn't have to be perfect, but at least a very good attempt - I love this one. 

HOW TO HAVE THAT JENEE SAIS QUOI: EPISODE 5

Quick Decorating Tip - Bodega Flowers in Unusual Spots
SERIES | HOW TO HAVE THAT JENEE SAIS QUOI

One of my best tips for a quick spruce up around the house is FRESH FLOWERS. 

This weekend I had guests coming to stay so wanted to add some special touches around the house to make it more pleasant for them. But don't forget to just treat yourself to some floral decor even when guests are not coming over.

I know this information is not ground breaking, but what you will find below is what gives my flower decorating that special Jenée Sais Quoi

A RANDOM BOUQUET OF MIXED FLOWERS: They are simply flowers from the Bodega - Nothing expensive though good quality. Being bodega flowers their bouquets are quite a mixed bag of flowers - they don't really harmonize together the way a professional florist would put together a bouquet. But this will not matter... Get 4 arrangements out of one bouquet (for about $15)
With a bit of creativity, you can group the flowers yourself that actually do go together into smaller arrangements. Some are also great alone in a bud vase. 

PUT FLOWERS IN UNEXPECTED PLACES: Many people know that flowers are great on a dining room table, but forget about all the other unusual places they can add charm like: the bathroom, your desk, and a night table.


BEFORE



AFTER
Funny colored dyed daisies as a trio




BEFORE
Just an arrangement of vases on the mantle



AFTER
Keep interesting bottles around. They make great unique vases. This was once an oil diffuser. It's also called UpCycling













BEFORE
A messy work station


AFTER
A single Gerby Daisy in a Pink Vase. Oh, and a little cleaning up goes a long way too. 




BEFORE
La Salle de Bain (the Bathroom)

AFTER
Use not only flowers to decorate in the bathroom but display your beautifully packaged cosmetics, lotions and poo-pourie



BEFORE
A bedside table (or book case in my "case") with the usual: books, earplugs, calming oils, a night guard and some books

AFTER
A bright Gerber Daisy and Carnations in a soda bottle from Thailand add a sweet touch to waking.





HOW TO HAVE THAT JENEE SAIS QUOI - EPISODE 4

Do Your HoneyMoon Right - Romance, Relaxation & Adventure
SERIES | HOW TO HAVE THAT JENEE SAIS QUOI

On our two year anniversary I am doing what I did last year and probably every year to come: reliving the wonderful memories which were our wedding weekend and honeymoon. 

Ari and I bonded over our sense of adventure. Thus, our honeymoon certainly had to include aspects of adventure that would provide the kinds of thrills we are accustomed too. Yet, a honeymoon should still be a honeymoon. 

As a world traveler and veteran bride, here are some tips that I feel very strongly about when it comes to planning your honeymoon:

1) Take it right after the wedding. If your schedule permits, this is the ideal time for basking in your wedding glory. Wedding planning is hectic and the wedding is absolutely exhausting. In fact, you and your husband may have been so busy entertaining guests, it's time to be alone and reflect on your life together.

2) While you may feel it's the time to go over the top and plan for a far away exotic location, a place closer to your time zone is a better option. You will be so exhausted from the wedding, an international flight just seems like torture, not to mention getting used to a completely new timezone. If you have a month off for you honeymoon then this does not apply to you. 

3) If adventure is your thing then definitely plan for it. But, IT'S YOUR HONEYMOON! Leave plenty of time for Romance. Splurge on a deluxe hotel room with beach views / hot tubs / butler service - whatever!

4) In order to make the most of your romantic suite, don't forget sunblock if you are on a sunny trip. Nothing like not being able to touch each other due to a sunburn :)

5) Make sure your husband takes lots of hot bathing suit pictures of you. It might be the best shape you'll ever be in post wedding diet and work out regime!

6) When your girlfriends offer to throw you a lingerie shower - take them up on it! or just combine it with your bachelorette party. If you are like most modern couples, you probably already live together... I strongly recommend bringing all never been seen before, hot panties, nighties, see thru robes etc. As the days near to your wedding the last thing you have time for is lingerie shopping, which is why it's great when you already have your stash from your lingerie party.

7) Planning the honeymoon is a great job for the groom. Brides, you have enough to do planning the wedding. Let your husband-to-be show you how romantic he can be. You can just give him these few guidelines and let him woo you.

Our Honeymoon to Costa Rica was a perfect mixture of Romance, Relaxation and Adventure. From America, Costa Rica is just close enough to not spend too much time in transit yet a world away in it's tropical climate. We started our adventure at the base of a volcano in a resort tucked into the landscape. After a day of lounging pool side and eating tons of fresh fruit we embarked on our first adventure: a hike up to a former volcano crater now filled with water. This intense hike ended with a mystic swim. 

Then we got into our Toyota Rav4 and drove into the Rain Forest where we encountered Sloths and hanging bridges. Here we tried zip lining for the first time (though I rode tandem with the guide as I was to nervous to fly over the cloud forest on my own). Ari understood.

Lastly, we drove to the seaside where our room was situated over looking the Pacific Ocean. Ari learned to surf, I lounged on the beach, We saw a Toucan and Baby hummingbirds!!! and monkeys and iguanas and...Ari got a sunburn... :) We even met up with other honeymooners and went on our first married double date for an afternoon sail into sunset. 

HERE'S TO LOVE AND THE LOVE OF ADVENTURE

The pictures really say it all:



BABY HUMMINGBIRDS


LAGOON SWIM IN THE MIST


MR. FITNESS


VOLCANO HIKE

THIS RESORT HAD A BUNNY!



NECESSARY SWIM UP BAR 

HEADING TO THE LUSH CLOUD FOREST 




HANGING BRIDGES




KISSING IN THE CLOUD FOREST

ZIP LINING UPSIDE DOWN


ROOM WITH A VIEW


ALL MEALS ARE OUTSIDE 



TROPICAL FRUIT IS BEST IN THE TROPICS



TRY OFTEN TO LOOK SEXY FOR YOUR HUSBAND

AND HE MIGHT RETURN THE FAVOR (UH OH: SUNBURN)

DOUBLE DATE 
SURFING LESSONS



BUY LOCAL
REMEMBER, MORE BATHING SUIT SHOTS 
ALWAYS LOOK LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING


WILD ANIMALS

TOUCAN




SEND POSTCARDS TO YOUR PARENTS 
COSTA RICAN BREAKFAST




KISS OFTEN

HOW TO HAVE THAT JENEE SAIS QUOI - EPISODE 4

Wine Cliff Notes with Sommelier - John Slover
Series | How to have that Jenée Sais Quoi
After my excursion to the Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting at the Waldorf a few weeks ago, I was influenced to seek out a bit more wine knowledge to share with fans of JSQ. 

As part of the series on "How to have that Jenée Sais Quoi", knowing at least a little about wine is having "that certain something special". 

Thankfully I have a good friend, John Slover, who is a wine expert, also known as a sommelier. We had a quick chat about what I thought were some wine etiquette essentials and he obliged me with a wine opening demonstration. It's a performance he has perfected after almost 20 years in the wine business working at places such as Blue Hill, Cru, Le Bernardin, and Daniel.

Luckily for us, this private wine consulter who manages some pretty impressive wine collections, shared his knowledge with JSQ pro bono.

See Interview below:



INTERVIEW WITH WINE EXPERT, JOHN SLOVER

JSQ: If u are clueless about vineyards, grapes and regions, is it ok to buy a bottle based on the looks of the label?
JS: Well there are no rules, but how about maybe learn something and make an informed decision, or build a relationship with someone in a wine store and ask them for recommendations. You don't taste the label, although licking it to be sexy can be fun. 

JSQ: How reliable is the person working in the wine store ? 
JS: It depends on the store and the worker. I would suggest to anyone if they want to learn about wine (and you learn by drinking and tasting) to find a good wine store (Chambers street wines, Astor wines, Crush wines and spirits in manhattan, Heights chateau in brooklyn heights, and there are many more), find a worker, and tell them you want a case of wine split between white and red, name your price range, take the case home and drink it over the course of a few weeks. Take some notes as you taste and drink - you don't have to go crazy and write a novel, just what you like and don't like, and if you can articulate why you like or don't like, and when you're done with the case go back, find the same worker and share your notes and let them pick out another case, always naming your price range. After a round or 2 of this, you'll know whether the worker is a good person to have a wine relationship with.  

JSQ: How important is it to store my wine on its side at my home? It's not laying down at the store.
JS: very important!

JSQ: Would u ever mix coca cola with red wine?
JS: Next question. (he actually said something else)

JSQ: Which kind of red wine makes the best sangria?
JS: Something cheap and fruity, like $4 a bottle or less


JSQ: Do u have a favorite brand of wine glasses to recomend? High end/ Low end
JS: High end - Zalto. Low end - Cardinal arcoroc

JSQ: Are there any tricks to not getting purple teeth?
JS: Nope - stainability is genetic. Keep a tooth brush handy. Or drink white wine


JSQ: I find the world  of wine and the world of fashion very similar in that a select group of people actually fully understand it -those that work in it or those that spend the time getting to know it. There are some steadfast rules in fashion to help the less daring always get it right. For instance a black cocktail dress is always chic. Pearls are always sophisticated and black pumps with a slender heel will always be stylish.

For normal people just trying to to by a decent bottle of wine or choose a glass with dinner. What are 3 tips to make this process more successful?
JS:
1 - try and get a simple understanding of what you like and don't like so you can give them simple information (full bodied or light bodied? fruity or not so fruity? etc)
2 - ask for help and trust your sommelier or bartender
3 - name your price range, and don't be ashamed if its low. Sommeliers out there would prefer direct communication about that

JSQ: Also like fashion, there are some ridiculous prices. Or are they ridiculous? In fashion some items are prices far beyond the value of the product. Much of the price inflation is about the status of the brand. Does wine pricing work in a similar way ?
JS:yes, status, brand, but also in wine rarity is a big factor that drives prices up. Maybe thats the same in fashion too.

JSQ: How about this wine you are using in the demonstration - It's huge! This is not a normal bottle of wine.
JS: Yes, it's large. It's called a Magnum which is = 1.5 liters. This wine is from Piedmont, Italy. Piedmont reds, particularly ones made from barbera are good pizza wines, and it turned out to be pretty good with chinese food too!!

JSQ: Thanks for entertaining my questions and adding to our "je ne sais quoi"  Looking forward to licking more labels with you soon.

HOW TO HAVE THAT JENEE SAIS QUOI - EPISODE 3

RELAX, RECOUP AND REFLECT
Series | How to Have that Jenee sais quoi



Recently I was having a conversation with a doctor of Chinese Medicine and he spoke of the need to adjust ones routines and regimes according to the season. It's all quite rational, really. In winter one should relax more and recoup from what should have been a vigorous summer.  This reminded me of another conversation I had years ago with a guy at a dinner party during the winter . I knew him to be a very active person and when I asked him what he was up to he said that he took winters to stay in more, read more and reflect more.  He happened to be a doctor of Western Medicine...

So this weeks advice on how to have that (jenée) said quoi is not only my personal recommendation but apparently "medical" advice too. Winter is a great time to get wrapped up in a long novel or several short ones. The background noise of wind and rain is the perfect soundtrack for the printed word. Then, for those inevitable sick days, getting lost in a character's adventures or misfortunes should be able to make you forget your own ailments. 

My top 3 Book recommendations to aid in your hibernating this season are:


THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE
by Julie Orringer

This is certainly a book to get lost in and got me through the worst cold last winter. 

The summary:

Paris, 1937. Andras L vi, an architecture student, has arrived from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver to Clara Morgenstern a young widow living in the city. When Andras meets Clara he is drawn deeply into her extraordinary and secret life, just as Europe's unfolding tragedy sends them both into a state of terrifying uncertainty.
From a remote Hungarian village to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the despair of Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in forced labour camps and beyond, The Invisible Bridge tells the story of a marriage tested by disaster and of a family, threatened with annihilation, bound by love and history.



Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
by: Dai Sijie

This book I read many years ago as I became more interested in Chinese culture. Through these fictional characters I could better understand this exceptional period of Chinese history in the not so distant past. Like "The Invisible Bridge", it adds a human element to the harsh facts of historical data.

The summary:
The surprise literary bestseller of the year, this is a beguiling fable that shines with the wonder of imagination, the beauty of romance, and the power of storytelling. Set during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the novel tells the story of two hapless city boys sent to a remote mountain village for reeducation.

HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY
by: Kelsey Osgood

This book I plan on starting immediately. While I can't give a personal testament to how good it is, I can attest to how incredibly entertaining and thought provoking Ms. Osgood is. If this book is as well written as her emails are to me, then I feel confident recommending this for winter's hibernation.
More here about how we celebrated the book being published.

The summary:
With attuned storytelling and unflinching introspection, Kelsey Osgood unpacks the modern myths of anorexia, examining the cult-like underbelly of eating disorders in the young, as she chronicles her own rehabilitation. How to Disappear Completely is a brave, candid and emotionally wrenching memoir that explores the physical, internal, and social ramifications of eating disorders and subverts many of the popularly held notions of the illness and, most hopefully, the path to recovery.



HOW TO HAVE THAT JENEE SAIS QUOI - EPISODE 2

Update your Wardrobe without Buying anything New
Series | How to Have that Jenée Sais Quoi

This is usually a video series which aims to enlighten one on the tips and tricks to having "that certain something special" or as I like to say, "that Jenée Sais Quoi". But today the story will be told in photos.

This weekend was filled with the daunting task of changing out my seasonal wardrobe - this includes taking all of my winter stuff out of storage bags and boxes, packing away the summer stuff and re-introduing the winter wardrobe to it's home for the next 6 months. It happens twice a year and I dread it almost as much as doing my taxes. But when you have that je ne sais quoi, your wardrobe is a small job in itself.

While rediscovering some of my winter wardrobe, it was a great time to make improvements to some favorite pieces. This is how to update your wardrobe with out buying anything new.

Resoling shoes 



Some shoes are classic and never go out of style like the ones above: Black boots, nude ballerina flats and camel oxfords. When shoes are this classic and you have already gone through the trouble of finding the perfect style don't let a worn out heel be your reason for throwing them out. For your favorite shoes simply bring them to a shoe repair shop for new soles/ heels/ and shining. Shoe repair shops are great places to also fix handbags and almost any leather accessory. 

Turn a summer look into a Cozy one

Before putting away all of my summer dresses, I paired some with winter sweaters for new outfit ideas. Simple summer dresses make great winter skirts when worn with a wintery top (as long as the color and print do not scream island vacation).

While you are reorganizing everything...
Accessorize some New Looks

I threw together this Jim Thompson silk scarf Ari bought me in Thailand with this new sweatshirt from Old Navy. It's a great example of mixing High and Low. A silk scarf and sweatshirt are also a very unexpected combination which = instant fashion ensemble. 

Alterations

I've had this yellow taffeta skirt for years (OK maybe a decade) and it never got any use because it's long length prevented it from being very wearable. So I had it altered by shortening it to what I call "the Dior" length ala the New Look and now it's ready for cocktail parties and more. If you don't know how to sew, your local cleaners usually offers this service. 


Updating your wardrobe doesn't have to to mean buying anything new, but knowing how to work with what you have by making it new.