I Keep on Truckin’ in Door Knockers & Chanel

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April 2017. Somewhere in California…..Keep on Truckin’

Love the patches, especially since I now live in Grateful Dead country, and that’s an original patch – little did anyone know, it would be worn with stilettos and a large classic Chanel bag.

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This 70’s jean jacket was hiding in between two vintage hawaiian shirts at the vintage flea market in Oakland. You would think I won the lottery, I was so excited – – -and for $70.00, it was mine. Oversized, original patches, perfect color and rips in all the right places – I landed on vintage denim perfection. Sunglass are from Madewell, www.madewell.com

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These amazing door knockers are personalized with my name – from Melody Ehsani, https://melodyehsani.com and my chandelier earrings are from Neiman Marcus by Oscar de la Renta

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My heels are from the Off Fifth, the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet store – they were maybe $20. The sun dress was also a random and very inexpensive find. Most people, would say it’s really a top!! The bag, Chanel – not inexpensive, but I like to think of it as an “investment” piece, investment in my style 🙂

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The oversized jean jacket, makes a mini-dress seem more comfortable. I can wear it open or hide behind the bagginess.

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Seeeeee I can hide under this huge jacket!

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Photos: T. Palmer, Styling: Me..

 

 

 

 

REI saved my Chanel Bag, & more Deep Thoughts….

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Napa County. California. October 2016. Soccer Tournament.

When we first moved to Marin County three years ago, my son joined a traveling soccer team. I showed up to practices in my “Miami Glam” look, and learned quickly that the weather at games and practices require practical dressing. Being practical has never been my “thing”, but the other soccer moms openly accepted me, and continually (three years later) take care of me, in all weather conditions. But besides that, we’ve developed  friendships and bonds while watching our kids play.

I don’t like to show off about kids, but these amazing parents are always telling me positive things about my kid’s soccer skills, I always say I can’t reciprocate, because I have no idea what to even say, it’s the other soccer moms who point out when Neal does some amazing move – and I later tell him things like “Neal, awesome hat trick” – to which, he says “yea mom, and describe what that is?”

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Here I am today, watching the game in the pouring rain.  Shannon, my friend who is organized and efficient – she’s married to a rock star photographer and spent her life being the practical one, in a world of artists. So Shannon runs back to her car, and provides all of us with some shelter from the rain.

Because she rules, Shannon grabs my Chanel bag, and holds it on her lap. It’s being protected by rain equipment from REI.  Because of this, I would like to I formally thank REI and its outdoor material engineers for creating products that protect designer handbags. I’m sure that’s what the material designers had in mind when creating REI’s outdoor equipment. No matter, they did a great job.

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Shannon and my Chanel Bag..

My point in all this writing – is that as the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah approaches, I’m reflecting more than my usual neurotic self. I feel so grateful, for the little things – like watching my kid play soccer, and feeling the pouring rain on my body. I’m amazed at how accepting humanity can be…in my hippie home of Marin County, my soccer mom friends find something shallow like protecting my Chanel bag in the rain, funny and don’t judge.

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We all enjoyed life this morning, we laughed, smiled and watched our kids kick a ball around. And I looked down at my phone after the game, with a text from my mama, “So grateful for having you”…. Happy and Healthy New Year!!

Sock Action is Haute…

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Marin County. April 2015.

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This mom works at a very cool clothing store, Erica Tanov, http://www.ericatanov.com

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Love these matte ankle rain boots paired with socks up to the calf. I’m a huge fan of pairing socks with any type of shoe, I get made fun of for it – but I don’t care. My theory is if Parisian women are pulling it off – so can I.

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All black is always chic – but adding these socks makes this look funky and stylish. With summer coming soon, throw out your levi cut off’s with ankle socks and flats.. it’s a great way to take away from the sexiness of the short shorts. Here’s an example:

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Fashion Notes: Seven jeans cut by me, Chanel Flats, Black ankle socks, Bohemian bag from Barcelona, Top from Anthropologie, Glasses are Ray Ban in green, earrings from India

My Chanel flats were stolen in my luggage at JFK  – I miss them. You can wear them with anything and automatically it adds some chicness to an otherwise grungy outfit (which is usually my look). Just ask Alexa Chung, the hip British model and style icon. Alexa wears her Chanel flats with everything – and still manages to look edgy/Downtown and not Upper East Side.

Patagonia Doesn’t Make You a Better Hiker….

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Me. Roy’s Redwoods. Marin County. January 2015.

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So I wore this at a birthday party in the Redwoods last week. I know, I’m very practical and when it comes to clothing it’s all about function and comfort… obviously not, my moccasins were horrible shoes to trek through mud and water – my exposed legs brushed up against poison oak, to which I neurotically had a mom get me a baby wipe to remove all traces of the “so called” poison. The other parents at the party, were so much more prepared, but they did not judge me  – they merely helped navigate me, due to my poor choice in shoe attire…

In actuality, I am surprisingly outdoorsy  – it’s more because I don’t care if I get dirty.  My close friend, who I will protect by not using names, once made fun of my ankle boot choice to hike up a mountain in Ireland. She was decked out in top to bottom Patagonia – she had a vest and then a jacket to go over the vest, hiking boots and a monogrammed back pack. I was less embarrassed to be seen with her in Ireland, it was in Paris where I made her walk 10 feet behind me – come on, she was wearing head to toe fleece!!!

I was prepared for this hike, dressed in all black, with lots of accessories and heels, this friend mocked my outfit and my ability to actually hike.  I kept repeating that I did the teenage version of “Outward Bound” – she laughed and laughed. Let’s just say it all ended in my favor, I ran up that mountain – and “someone” had to stop several times to catch her breath.  Apparently, wearing Patagonia doesn’t make you a better hiker, it just makes you look like a better hiker…

My point in all this..I may not look the part..but maybe, just maybe..I actually can play the part…..

 

Rome Parents = Sex Appeal.

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North Miami Beach, Florida. December 2015.

This was taken at Miami Beach’s famed Bal Harbour Shops, http://www.balharbourshops.com.  Bal Harbour Shops is home to luxury brands such as; Chanel, Gucci, Goyard, Intermix, Miu Miu, John Varvatos etc..

Growing up in Miami, we would come to Bal Harbour because Saks Fifth Avenue always had the best sales..it was also a bonding time with my mother (and usually brothers) to walk around, eat a big lunch and feel like a slob among Miami’s “well dressed”. I say that in quotes, because you will also see some amazing outfits, where every single designer is displayed on their bodies.

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If you ever want to get a semi-understanding of Miami, and its people – visit Bal Harbour shops. Yes, it’s not totally representative of this city, because most people can’t afford to walk into Chanel and spend $12,000 on two handbags. Oh and usually, that’s in actual cash.  Bal Harbour Shops is Miami’s version of Rodeo Drive (only in an outdoor mall form) and apparently is more successful.

Dressed in cut off’s, a plaid torn shirt, moccasins and a bikini peaking through – I looked like the official “Bal Harbour Slob”.  Oh, did I mention my hair was larger than Gloria Estefan’s in the late 80’s… (thank you ocean water). It’s an inside joke, between me and well, me – that I always look like a mess when I should look “stylish”. I think it’s the rebel in me, saying I don’t need to conform to your fashion standards – or maybe it’s bad time management. I walked into Chanel, and everyone looked gorgeous – like they all got their hair blown out for this expedition. I stood there, and waited to be helped – and observed the mind blowing idea that there is such a discrepancy of wealth in this Country – but quickly I realized most of the shoppers were tourists – with lots of cash.

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As I walked around, I met this fun, stylish Italian family – who moved from Rome to Miami. The Italian fashion sensibility is natural and always comes with a smile.

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The little boy wanted me to capture his remote control car. Italian men can even make sneakers look chic.

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This is how we shop – practical shoes.

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This mama, like me was super excited about her new Valentino mini-backpack. Remember, I told you these are huge again. Jump suit by Missoni (obviously).

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Happiness right there!! And I hear happiness makes your butt look better in photos!

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The thing I discovered, which differed from my younger self – I didn’t care about looking like a slob in a designer obsessed land. I’m pretty darn comfortable in my skin, even when it’s not dressed “cool”. Obviously, it’s because “cool” comes from within, and part of that is having fun, being spontaneous and living life without the worry of always having to look your best.

 

Love Hangover? This Mom has a Cure.

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Melinda Alexander. Mother. Stylist. Photographer. Los Angeles. November 2015.

Melinda helps women in transition heal and look stylish, If you are in LA, her next workshop is January 15: Love Hangover–Releasing Him and Rebuilding Yourself, http://www.melinda-alexander.com

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Melinda works a lot with plus size fashion.  I know a little bit about the subject. When I ran Dress for Success in Atlanta, over 60% of our clients were plus sized. And it was nearly impossible to find quality, stylish clothing – most of the clothing looked like terrible house dresses, and were not acceptable for in the house, let alone at a job interview.

We had to buy clothing for our plus size clients, and it proved difficult – most of the stuff was made with the cheapest fabrics, with no stretch. I wanted to start my own plus size line, but I have trouble writing an article, let alone creating a company solo. So when Melanie explained that her jeans are from Mode Plus, to which she added holes – I related so much. She took a boring pair of jeans, and made them so hip.

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Those sexy red lips!! I’ve tried, but seem to look like a scary clown.

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Check out the holes and the white polish..which you will always see on my nails (or gold)

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Love those brows – and leather bomber.

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Melinda, like me is a fashion mix master..

Fashion Notes: Jacket from Ross, Jeans: Mode Plus, Blouse: Alternative Apparel, Bag: Vintage Chanel from a Paris thrift shop, Hat: Vintage Borsalino from Melinda’s Grandmother, Necklaces: Stella & Dot and a few from vintage shops. Kid Stuff: Gap shirt, Children’s Store pants, New Balance Kicks.

Fedora Baby. Soccer Drop-Off.

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Fairfax, California. Soccer Season. November 2015.

I’m on the soccer field a lot, this is true. I’ve learned to wear flat shoes, I’ve learned to bring sun protection and water – but the people around me, who taught me all of the above, have not learned how to have a little fun with clothing (well except one mom, who wore a bikini on the field) – this dad, although not dressed like a style icon, had some fun – and I give him mad credit.

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I loved seeing this dad on the sidelines of the soccer field. Maybe it’s because he brought a little personality to the somewhat blandness overtaking Marin County – don’t be all offended, but I think all of us, including me have no time to make an effort  -especially when we’re running from game to game.

This is what I wore to soccer this week, I’ve been very paranoid of the sun and its aging properties. Lets just say, I had sun gloves with me. Note my slight fashion effort – which is minimal, due to lack of time and lack of appreciation by the fans and soccer players.

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Obviously, this dad also is protecting his skin from the sun. I forgot to put on pants though – oops.

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Haute Style Profile.

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“Each month, we ask our stylish mamas and local tastemakers to spill their secrets and share their stuff. Here, the fashion blogger behind Haute Drop-Off, Mara Menachem, lets us in on the one thing she can’t live without. Read on!” (Southern Marin Moms Club Newsletter)

STYLE + BEAUTY

Favorite piece of jewelry: A cocktail ring my mom bought for my grandmother, when she was in Paris, and my grandmother watched the four of us.

One thing in your wardrobe you can’t live without: My jean jacket collection, loving my new grunge one from INTERMIX.

Style Icons: Lisa Bonet, Joy Bryant, Chloe Sevigny, SJP as Carrie Bradshaw, Patricia Field, Anna Dello Russo (editor at VOGUE Japan), Bill Cunningham, because he knows how to pick ’em, Dolly Parton & Tina Turner, the sexiest women in show business at any age.

Daily uniform: Floral shorts, Frye ankle boots, gold door-knocker earrings, jean jacket, and ankle socks (sometimes with Chanel flats).

Jeans: USED. They have to be worn in…or very tight. The butt is everything in jeans.

Swimwear: Brazilians always make the best suits. If you can wear a bikini, tiny floral prints are the most flattering. I always think a black one-piece is classic and elegant.

Favorite accessory: My white Lanvin bag purchased at a consignment store in Aspen, Acid wash jean jacket, gold door-knocker earrings in the largest size made, and my gold hoop nose ring.

Describe your personal style: I adore vintage, accessories, and old handbags. Your 90-year-old grandmother’s closet is an exciting place for me!

Skincare: I’m crazy about Fresh’s Rice Oil. It makes you smell amazing.

Scent: LaVanilla makes great smelling stuff. I admit to liking Patchouli, too.

Lipstick: I stick to clear. Want BIG lips without the surgery? Smashbox O Plump does the trick.

Who colors your hair: Sonja Avallone at Christopher Salon in Mill Valley.

Favorite store: Hidden Treasures in Topanga is unbelievable, the original Century 21, Jeffrey NYC for drooling purposes, Intermix, Goodwill, Zara (but they are now off my list due to some poor practices).

Where do you get a facial: Lisa Perkins 415-272-8108, leave looking dewy and gorgeous.

LIFESTYLE

Must-have: Sun, friends, social interaction.

Influences: I think I’m influenced by humanity, photography.

What inspires you: People inspire me, if I could talk to and observe people as a career, I would.

Item you keep purchasing over and over: Jean jackets.

Something no ones knows about you: I’m shy.

First thing you do every morning: Cuddle with whoever is around.

Signature staple: Short Shorts/Skirt/Dresses.

Pet peeve: Not a lot bothers me, but I would appreciate a nod or a thank you if I open the door for you.

Guilty pleasures: Donuts, talking to strangers & enormous earrings.

Favorite holiday: Halloween is so fun – and I love visiting my brother Seth in LA for Hanukkah, mostly because of the donuts.

Favorite workout: Yoga at Marin Power Yoga & Spinning.

Overrated: Being perfect.

VIRTUAL

Websites you always check: Humans of New York, NY Times, The Sartorialist, Facebook, Page 6 occasionally.

Bloggers you follow: The Sartorialist, Bill Cunningham.

Mama bloggers you follow: Scary Mommy, HuffPost Parents.

On your iPod: Lauryn Hill, lots of 1990’s R&B, Simon & Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, Run DMC, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, Neal Casal.

Favorite people to follow on Instagram: Afropunk

ENTERTAINMENT

Celebrity crush: Ben Harper, Louis CK and Larry David.

Favorite artist, past or present: Bill Cunningham. Not sure if people consider him an artist, but I do. He has made fashion into something that’s not snobby or inaccessible. Michael Moore. He created films that not only
rocked the boat and took major risks and exposed horror, but actually change occurred. I guess that’s not usually the expectation of art, but it’s one I admire.

Best place to hear music: Coming from Miami, Marin/San Francisco is heaven on earth for live music. I think Big Sur is a special place, Greek Theater in Berkeley, and I love The Sweetwater, and when I’m really wanting to be around the “jam band” crowd, it’s Phil Lesh’s place Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael.

Best show on TV: Curb Your Enthusiasm is my all time favorite. I also love Louis CK, and Sex and The City re-runs, I also love watching The Goldberg’s with my kids

Favorite magazine: Psychology Today, I promise they have the most interesting articles.

Favorite book: Animal Farm

Favorite podcast: NPR All Songs Considered and This American Life, and Ted Talks.

PLACES

Favorite museum: The Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Favorite restaurant: Zuma in Miami & my close friend’s husband Vinny Dotolo’s spot Son of a Gun.

Favorite domestic travel spot: Big Sur, Miami & Aspen.

Favorite international travel spot: Someplace new.

Best-kept secret: Rancho Nicasio, it’s an authentic Northern California bar in West Marin.

Favorite city: NYC & London.

Favorite hotel: The Ellerman House in Cape Town – where we stayed on our honeymoon.

Favorite hike: Aspen Mountain, it’s so hard, feels like it’s never going to end…and then it does.

KIDS

First-year must-haves: Friends to tell you it gets better, and lots of nights out to remind you of your life before…

Best day with the kids: The best night for me, was getting in late from the airport on our way to camp, and hanging out in one of those super gas stations drinking slurpees, and talking to people. Taking them to see Super Diamond, the Neil Diamond cover band in Aspen.

Best place to see a movie with your kid(s): Fairfax in town, and Larkspur, my youngest and I had the best date their ever, I took him to see Chef, a little inappropriate.

Kids’ fashion brand: Trunk vintage concert T’s.

Favorite ritual you have with your kid(s): Dance parties, late night desert outings, playing card games, hang man..just being spontaneous, because that’s the mom they got.

Best park: Berkeley Playground or Golden Gate Park.

Favorite children’s movie: Jerry Lewis and Peter Sellers,.. so fun to watch with them, and Vacation (kind of inappropriate).