Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Preppy's Autumn 2011 Stylin'...the classics with a dash of luxurious shine

Jones New York puts the new shiny-sheen perfectly into tweed
Shine, sculpture and deep neutrals add the-pretty to Burberry's neo Preppy
As always, Ralph Lauren gets-it completely right...the look, the lifestyling...

This autumn styling season relegates those thick boxy plaid flannel shirts and heavy tall leather riding boots we old school Preppies love to clunk around in to...well just clunking around the more rustic areas of the countryside as Fall Fashion"s classic staples have gone so wonderfully elegant this season.

Plaid flannel and wool tartans, cashmere cardigans and leather belts, denim and courderoy and all the fabrications of cooler weather classics have been elegantly reinterpreted oh so very prettily!

Shiny detailing such as metallic-sheen leather and the sparkle of a smattering of tiny bugle beads lend a going-out-for-the-evening excitement to the usually more staid wardrobe pieces like cardigan sweaters, high-heeled pumps and thin wool shawls. Animal prints are muted, neutrals are deep and rich, leathers are supple and the overall contexting is all about luxurious comfort. Tall boots have sculpted heels while the calf line is lean, molded to the skin. Blouses are silk shantung. Tweeds have silvery threads intertwined in the woven fabric. It's very day-into-evening without being tacky or too over the top. Finally fall fashions are getting the lighter, more feminine side of pretty that sometimes seems completely relegated to spring's wardrobe stylings.

I really like this direction...the Return To Preppy-Pretty Without Being Patronizing.... refreshing, how completely comfortable! How perfect for Fall: this year and every year.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Savannah Swish...some more spottings of it out n' about town

Savannah Swish is quite delish at an artsy cafe' with retro-leanings which is...
...the wonderful Gallery Espresso! Such indoor and outdoor high stylin'... well as spotting it while antiquing in our neighborhood...and while...
...happening upon an awesome band at a retro-bar where even...
...the ladies room is high-styling. Totally impressed me ;)

A little spot here, a dash of it there...

Savannah Swish sightings have been such fun to come across as I settle-in to life around this historic downtown area.

Above are a few more photos of this delightful traditional-meets-retro styling! Enjoy....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Savannah Swish...Southern styling with a modish-retro twist

Growing up in n' around Savannah and then returning frequently, for years and years and yes, years...the overall style was and still is traditional. Traditional with a "capital T". Tradition makes a Preppy's heart happy that's for sure.

Nothing much new was added-in to the styling parameters around here in my earlier Savannah days excepting the fun, bright patterns of purveyors such as Lilly Pulitzer and Vera Bradley. My first bikini was a Lilly one and my mother started me out on the "Black Walnut" Vera Bradley pattern of which I still have several pieces and pull out each autumn to enjoy using. That was bold-stuff back then... the swirls n' swishes of these distinctive prints! Now they're par-for-the-Preppy-course around here, Beaufort, Charleston and other southern coastal spots.

My style-eye's so used to these now that they're akin to plaids, polka dots and pinstripes.

However, there's a new fresh pattering in-town I've noticed crop up around these parts lately. It's not one particular styling or brand, it's more of a movement.

Some would call it retro but I like to think of it as, Savannah Swish!

It's a dollop of Artsy-Retro added into the traditionalism that's so Savannah. It's undoubtedly majorly influenced by the predominance of SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design. It's funky, fresh and pure fun. It's not really my style but I sure can appreciate it when I see it.

Savannah Swish is...kinda' Betty Boop meets Scarlett O'Hara!

Scarlett O'Hara on a good day that is. The flirty side of her rather than the manipulative one.

The flirty flounces of Forties kitchen colors and Fifties kitschy patterns n' prints and Sixties psychedelic graphic designs and Seventies haute hippy all collide together in a riot of lifestyle offerings ranging from refrigerator magnets to cocktail dresses to garden sculptures and beyond.

The colors are bright and bold. The designs are noteworthy. The feel is whimsical yet artsy.

It even translates into a street-scene vignette like the one I walked by today just off of Chippewa Square: a bright red mod designed scooter parked near an old wall and flanked by garden urns showcasing a simple flowering of white vinca. I snapped the picture above and smiled...

...I may have returned home to a whole lotta' tradition but I'm also discovering new things too!

P.S. when I have more time out n' about town, I'll add more pics of Savannah Swish styling ;)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Preppy Past Times...the pursuit is decidedly not towards perfection

Happily reunited with my grandfather's violin at the carriage house tonight!

My violins have been out on the island during our move-transitioning. Here I am caught-on-camera playing away a few years ago looking more serious than I ever am...

...since I've always played "just for the fun of it" since I was a young girl...

Ahhh, to pleasurably pass the time away with leisurely past times....

Playing around on stringed instruments, both the violin and viola, has been one of my favorite past times since I was in fourth grade. It's been over 30 years now with my screeching-away formally within an orchestra and informally with being a trio consisting of me, my mother and my younger brother and just happily alone in the living rooms out on a mountainside, an island and now here in a small Savannah carriage house.

I've never been too-serious about my violin playing but maybe it's because I'm a Preppy.

Yuppies (Young Urban Professionals) work hard and play hard, BOBO's (Bohemian Bourgeois) work hard and play hard but try not to look like it and Preppies, well us Preppies may or may not work, may or may not work all tooo hard and as for playing...

...well, let's put it this way, if you see what looks to be a dyed-in-the-100%-wool Preppy trying too hard while they're playing...then they're probably a Preppy Poser rather than a real Preppy.

Real Preppies are from WASP-stock or attitude where leisurely pursuits are just that, leisurely.

There's no trying to fit-in, there's no trying to prove anything or become a professional by perfectionist proficiency with Preppies.

If one's naturally talented in something that's one thing altogether but this doggedly striving to perfect one's game so to speak simply isn't within a true Preppy's cultural vernacular.

To some degree this has hindered present day Preppies as to predominating within today's culture of constant pursuit towards innovation, improvising, investing and ipo's n' such but heck, we're really all about generation after generation of "capital-T tradition" over change and the predominance of trust funds do foster a bit of complacency amongst us. Preppy millionaires yes, Preppy billionaires...not so much. Preppies eschew any 5-minutes-of-fame for the most part and think that our generations-old lifestyle becoming part of a purveyed lifestyle trend for the masses truly misses the whole point of what the definition and distillation of all-things-Preppy really is.... quite oxymoronic indeed!

We may have smart phones yes, but we're for the most part driving older cars, wearing even older cardigan sweaters and have no desires to turn our past times into mega-media-merchandising empires. Try as she might, Martha Stewart is not an authentic Preppy...sorry. Alexandria Stoddard is however and though I don't know the background of Charlotte Moss, just the way she cultivates her designs and presents her stylized proferrings as well as her personal self hood strongly suggests a patrician kind of Preppyness. There's an ease to the luxuriously-limited design worlds and lifestyles of Stoddard and Moss that has never been present in all that constitutes Martha Stewart's vastness, bless her ever-striving heart.

Yes, I'd like my decor'-inspirations and decorators to always be Preppies but I'd like my architect, contractors and plumbers to be decidedly non-Prep.

I'd like my florist to be Preppy but my jeweler, hair stylist, auto-mechanic and any surgeon needed in the future to be also decidedly non-Prep. This being said, some surgeons as well as airline pilots, bankers, lawyers, professors etc. are true Preppies who have an innate talent for doing excellent work and truly enjoy having careers however these kind of Preppies are fewer than the majority-Preps out there in the world.

I am in a true minority within my family n' close friends as to being a Preppy female who enjoys managing people, projects and products; whose few years of being a stay-at-home-wife about drove her crazy even with doing a ton of volunteer work and having plenty of writing projects going on until she could segway her "free time" into a graduate degree, wheh. Now that this ole' gal has returned to her business management career, I am so much happier a person and only would add-in working on a doctorate as any further addition into my life. However, the various pastimes I enjoy such as string instrument playing, watercolor painting, needlework, jewelry making, fly fishing and kayaking and skiing and yoga stretching along with gardening, well.........'ll find me relaxing and laughing because leisure is always Preppy-leisurely with me ;)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Society-soap...Town and Country's fun blowing-of-bubbles at hotel soap theory

Soap Bubbles... an oil painting by Charles Joshua Chaplin (1825-1891)

Every month my subscription to Town and Country magazine provides delightfully relaxed sittings of reading (with a cup of tea alongside) a bevvy of witty writing as well as gleaning the latest wearable fashion information, being inspired by the beautiful page after page of photographed interiors and seeing new ideas for current and future gardening projects I find myself mulling over.

Last month's and this month's issues have been especially fun to read with the addition of a series they're titling, "What The Rich Love To Steal." Hilarious!

The first article is all about hotel soaps. My favorite line in this tongue-in-cheek essay (titled, A Slippery Soap) as to the syndrome now recognized as HSS, Hotel Soap Syndrome is the recognition that, "They are a madeleine for the groomed set, a sensory magic carpet to a time out of time." The author, Vanessa Friedman, does a wonderful job of peering into this purveying for the posh. I laughed throughout it because though I'm not a collector of soaps so to speak, I will throw into my airport regulation-sized ziplock plastic bag half-used hotel amenities such as shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and definitely those cute little containers of hand/body lotion.

It's part Scottish-ingrained frugality on my part with wanting to not waste things and thus bringing them back with me to complete the use of them when returned home and part... well, partly I guess my desire for extending the experience-feel of staying amid the various truly-lovely hotels n' resorts I've been fortunate to enjoy spending some time around.

Some places I've returned to because I enjoy them so much like the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan and the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Scottsdale. Other places are within a group of well-run hotels and resorts...James and I particularly like the Hyatt properties around the globe for consistency, high level of service and simple-elegant design n' decor for the most part. Then there are stand-alone classics like The Grove Park Inn and The Homestead: two timelessly elegant places where their spas still rank at the top of any spas I've ever experienced!

James and I agree that where we stay is as much importance as where we're traveling around.

We can budget with the best but of course however... as for travel experiences, we try to stay at the best the area we're within offers or close to it. Sometimes it's fun for us to try-out a smaller boutique hotel like we did when in London a couple of years ago: it was right on Trafalgar Square and super-modern. Not "us" but a blast to be in for a long weekend together we enacted at the last minute. Other times, like the week we spent in Paris, it was well-worth staying in a drop-dead elegant place flanked by Tiffany's, Cartier', Louis Vuitton and other fine purveyors not to mention amazing art galleries, gardens, restaurants, petite' cafes, boutique-styles bakeries with the best madeleines and so forth and so on.

This past spring we took off for two weeks and took our kayaks, fishing rods and snorkeling gear with us down to the Florida Keys: dividing time between Key Largo and Key West. I still have some of the half-used hotel amenities from that vacation and am now using them up here in the Savannah carriage house. The tropical scented lotion evokes key-laced sun, sand and sea bliss.

For some reason, it's the lotions which connotate memories the most for me. I enjoy this...

...soaps? Who needs soaps when a small, neat tube of hand lotion will suffice?

Ahh, the lingering pleasantries of hotel toiletries! Just gotta' laugh at ourselves because yes indeed, it IS sometimes the smallest of things which are indeed ever so impactful in life!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Green Marble and White Fluted-Wood Coincidence...

Mother and Daddy off to a Holiday party circa 1960's Savannah

I am obviously thrilled to find an Easter basket circa 1970's Savannah

...and thrilled to find another similar fireplace in Savannah circa 2000's

It's funny when something just "hits you" that should have perhaps been quite obvious from the beginning...

...take a look at one of my childhood's fireplaces in these pictures and then take a look at the fireplace in the carriage house here, hmmm.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Carriage House Living...Savannah Stylin'!

Carriage House styling: little flourishes make big impacts as with this urn...

...and a simple, balanced mantle-scape on a corner marbled fireplace... well as tucking-in a reading nook at one end of the living room...

...and seeing that a pretty bedroom just needs a little something-else like...

...creating a Parisian-influenced tableau in a tiny spot inbetween closets...

...and using the rest of the plaid french wired ribbon to top a tropical print!

There's definitely a different kind of lifestyle atmosphere going on when going from a rustic, remote island house tucked away by the water down amongst woods in a busy, eclectic section of Savannah's historic Victorian District where tourists, SCAD students, long-time locals, passerbys on bicycles and Vespa scooters and such daily intermingle.

I LOVE this...! I also loved being out on a tiny SC Lowcountry island as well for so many years (and we plan to keep a portion of the acres we were on as a spot to build a second-home-cottage on one day) but full time living out there was a long commute for my husband and was getting a bit retiree-ish feeling for me when, still in my early 40's, I am desiring to be out n' about more.

And so when this past spring an opportunity came up for me to jump right back into my old management career with the necessity for a Savannah-relocation...well, it took me oh, about 1.5 seconds to say "yes"! After a few months of commuting back and forth, here we are now: full time residents of my old childhood n' onwards stomping-grounds. What fun!

Not finding right away what we're looking for as to purchasing a new house, James and I decided to rent in a fun n' funky part of the historic area for a year thus using our pied a' terre as a base of operations for exploration into yet more houses n' areas to look into in the coming year. I didn't want to have to be dealing with an entire house during this time even with renting and apartments seemed too small so it was quite fortunate that we found this darling carriage house!

It's tucked-away behind a big Victorian house set back on a quieter side street and yet we walk down sidewalks less than 500 yards from our place to enjoy restaurants and antique shops. SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) students are everywhere, old local guys congregate at the nearby classic ole' barbershop and the aging hippies in a dilapidated Victorian house on the corner no doubt go to the acupuncture place in a 60's-modern-retro look building on the next corner. I really like the vibrancy and diversity of this neighborhood within the city we're in...

It's been fun this week to move some of our household items into the carriage house and start getting all set-up in it.

Decorating, gardening, entertaining and just plain ole' relaxing will be a bit different within this new environment here but already I have sooo enjoyed having a house guest over, puttering around with potted plants in our courtyard and hanging curtains, embellishing paintings by topping off some of them with big bows of french wired ribbon and alla' that good stuff!

Here's to pied a' terre carriage house living...a petite vignette lifestyle to enjoy while it lasts ;)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Savannah Southern Belle Returns... Home...

Why yes, it's sweet iced tea all year long about every restaurant...

...and Savannah River sea-salt breezes blowing non-stop...

...and beautiful parks n' squares n' tucked-away gardens all about town...

...and Leopold's icecream my parents used to eat as teenagers on date nights...

...and returning to worship at the church my ancestors helped build...

It's official...James and I moved into a darling carriage house in the Victorian District of Savannah last weekend and are already so enjoying our new home return home!

I can't begin to express how wonderful it is to be in a city where around almost every turn in-town and out on the nearby islands there's a pleasant memory waiting from my childhood, teenage years, college years and ongoing adulthood years. Both sides of my family have been around these parts for generations, my two sets of grandparents were best friends and I still have a bevvy of aunts, uncles, cousins to the 'enth degree living here so my own adulthood return to become a resident in the historic district this month feels, well, completely natural.

I pass by, just minutes from our carriage house, the Presbyterian church where my great-grandfather was the minister and a few blocks over is another church which earlier ancestors funded its building and where our various family members have attended generation after generation. I shop at the Cottage Shop just down from our place where, during my debutante season, many little gifts from family and family friends were awaiting pickup. I bop around Daffin Park where my one of my grandfathers used to walk us little grandkids over to from his house for hours of play. I eat in the Olde Pink House restaurant which one of my ancestors built for his wife as a home back in the 1700's then my grandfather used as his business office almost 200 years later before selling it and where my mother and I had our last meal together in Savannah many years ago. I look into the glittering jewelry cases of Levy's Jewelers feeling my grandmothers by my side and I remember Broughton Street when it was filled with wig shops back in the 1970's. I grocery shop where we'd stop into from time to time if on this side of town and on the other side of town, I work in not only the very first mall I grew-up going to but also the very first major department store I ever experienced! Shopping for school, church and party dresses with my mother began at Lad n' Lassie and then moved over to Fines when I got old enough and of course we also purchased at the mall as well. Sunday lunches at the Oglethorpe Club, long afternoons being obnoxious kids bumming around the pools at the Savannah Yacht Club and joy-riding my uncle's boats off of Tybee Island with my older brother and our equally-young cousins....and so forth n' so on and on... so many, many wonderful Savannah-living memories!

Already we're making more good memories, James and I, with living here all of, oh a week ;)

Life is indeed circular in so many ways, God is indeed good and family is indeed a tie that binds! We may not be here forever but for now, returning to Savannah with my husband, my career and my heart full of gratefulness as to how life can wonderously, it"s amazing!

Coming Up in the Next Post: "Carriage House Living...Savannah Stylin'"