Tuesday, August 12, 2008

DIY couture

I am very vocal about how much I love Alabama Chanin. Natalie Chanin, the founder has based her technique on quilting stitching ( used by her ancestors ) beading and appliques to create one of a kind couture pieces ( the skirts are over $1000 ). Her original pieces were made from recycled t-shirts and Alabama Chanin now shares this technique with us in their book the "Alabama Stitch Book".

Fall '08 for me - coming soon!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Daily Spa

The rich don't just drink water, they hydrate. In my opinion, hydrating usually happens in a spa.

One of the best spas on the west coast ( if not the world )is the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. They hydrate you with glass jars filled with chilled citrus cucumber water that is available in almost every corner.

Have this handy in the fridge at home. This will make that recommended 64 oz. a treat.

Cucumber Citrus Water

Fill a glass ( no plastic !) pitcher with water.

Add slices of lemon, oranges and cucumber. Don't overdo it, just a few ( say 4 slices ) each. Let the infusion of the citrus and cucumber permeate the water for about an hour before serving.

Don't forget to use a really nice glass...why not crystal?

Make this a glamorous daily beauty ritual ...go ahead -you deserve it!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Trade secrets - Be your own decorator

Since the rich like to entertain at home a lot, making sure your home ( or apt. ) is tastefully decorated is a must. The New York Times came out with this article uncovering all the trade secrets in the world of home decor, allowing the inner decorator in you to flourish. The sources are from L.A. to New York and all over the internet. Don't have the dough? No problem, pretend like you do and share those "trade secrets" at your next soiree. I'm sure you'll make afew tongues wag - and provide plenty of water cooler talk for next week!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Very Versailles

The French know how to make anything look expensive and sound expensive.
So voila, here are some good examples of how to make your furniture look rich. White is a great color to choice for any piece of furniture that is being re-finished. It's the gold detail that makes the difference of whether it looks expensive and impressive... or just "shabby chic".
Don't get me wrong, "shabby chic" is good, but screams "my kid's can just jump all over the furniture and all I have to do is wipe it down." The gold detail on these pieces say" I went to flea market in Paris to get these heirloom pieces". Tres chic.

My headboard right after I finished

Close up of one of the posts

My first "Versailles" piece. I looked for three months on Craigslist to find a four poster king size bedframe for me to refinish. We have a large bedroom so any other size looked like a twin bed in there. Finding a four poster king size is not the easiest thing in the world, but I scored on this one. The lady I bought it from paid $1100 for it at Eddie Bauer. It was maple when I got my hands on it. Guess how much I paid for it? Would you believe $50?! True story. I had the pictures for inspiration ( above and below ) in my archives from an old Country Living magazine. This house is gorgeous and if I had a chateau style house in New Orleans, It would look exactly like hers.

I used left over Ralph lauren semi gloss in in "Picket Fence" ( Two good coats ) and then layered it with a crackle medium ( Behr makes a good one ), then another layer of Picket Fence white. After that dried I used "walnut" colored stain ( that too was left over and I haven't been able to find a good eco friendly stain yet ), and rubbed it very lightly in areas to give the illusion of age.

The final steps included light sanding ( also to create age ) , then adding a decorative wood accent ( they have them at Home Depot or most home improvement centers ) on the headboard and adding the gold touches in the appropriate areas. I used Ceramacoat water based craft paint in "Antique gold".

Now I have to find the rest of my "bedroom suite", dressers as side tables ( the bed is too high for anything else ), a vanity etc... They will all get the "treatment" so it looks like we purchased them all together like in the picture at the top. Lot's of work, but these are now heirlooms.

Not to mention, it makes you feel like you have a little piece of Versailles...

Au revoir!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Time to dress up!

A rich girl's sanity starts with her vanity...and there's isn't a better way to address that than with a dressing table ( or vanity ). It's easy to create your own. Follow the directions here. Don't forget to add those special touches like small silver picture frames, silver or china pieces to hold jewelry and make-up brushes etc...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Collections that make you look like a collector

Designer Mary Macdonald knows a thing or two about stretching a dollar. You wouldn't know it though. Just take a look at that vintage photo collection on her walls. All of these photos were taken out of books. Nothing short of a trip to your local thrift shop or Salvation Army to create an arragement on your wall that looks like it's been there for years.

How to look like a million bucks

*These tips are courtesy of Allure Magazine's interview with Michael Kors in '05, so I have made a few updates:

Looking rich isn't about the yacht - it's about appearing as though you've just stepped off one. Once you've nailed the basics, it's all about the upkeep. Here's a primer.

1. Disregard the weather Strappy sandals in winter ( unless it's 30 below ), sunglasses on a cloudy day - these are all signs of the glamorous life. If you look like you should be in St. Barth's in December, then you are above the elements. But if it's snowing, wear mink gloves for goodness' sakes.

2. Fake it Start every season with a stack of little black tees. ( The pic below is American Apparel Sustainable edition $15 ea. )
Whenever you put one on you'll feel like a Bouvier sister. Then find a good pair of cubic zirconia studs and rings - it will seem as though someone gives you great gifts, you can afford the yourself, or they were in your family. All work in your favor. (* I personally like the gemstone earrings below, I found at Vivre, they were also in last this month's Vogue. These earrings are a steal at $225 and can be easily mistaken for yellow diamonds - from afar anyway. But they are real, classic gemstones, and anyone can wear them since thy are clip on ).

3. Own it Buy an expensive dress and wear it often. It let's people know you didn't borrow it. Classic socialites, such as Nan Kempner, went out in the same gowns over and over again because they were, in fact theirs. And save up for brown crocodile pumps. They can be worn with everything, and unlike black, brown crocs develop a patina that looks better over time. ( * No brainer - go to Ebay and scout for vintage designer frocks and shoes - nothing says rich like classic vintage - including this very summery Pucci dress below - hurry only four days left! ).

4. In the red A woman with money has beautiful skin. So make sure yours has little shine and stick to makeup in neutral shades, such as taupe or slate. The one exception is red lipstick. Wear this with nothing else for a full Katherine Hepburn moment. It should look very nonchalant, very throwaway - like you just woke up, washed your face and went out in red lipstick.

5. Polish up A rich girl always has beautifully manicured hand but doesn't act like she thinks about them. This means no French manicures and no bold colors ( soft pink or beige tones instead ) Keep the length short enough to suggest you go horseback riding. ( * use Revlon Quick Dry Nail Polish - it has one of the lowest toxicity ratings - inexpensive too )

6. Head for broke Nothing sets you apart like a gorgeous mane of hair. You want fabulous color and lots of shine. - so if you aren't a whiz at blow drying, spend the money on a blow out. And when you pull your hair back, us a tortoise shell comb - it's the scrunchy of the rich. ( * get the Barbar Eco 8000 this eco friendly salon quality hair dryer saves drying time and energy $150 )