Lucky 13!

Farewell, 2012.  (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Farewell, 2012. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

I know, this post is a teeny tiny bit belated. But see that balloon in the above photo? I brought it home with me on New Year’s and it’s still floating! (I even have photo evidence, taken this very evening – see below!) And since we all know that helium balloons never last, it can’t be too long after New Year’s, can it?

New Year's Balloon - still kickin' over 3 weeks later!

New Year’s Balloon – still kickin’ over 3 weeks later!

Even though it’s a bit late in the telling, I feel like I got the year kicked off on the right foot. For New Year’s Eve dinner, my husband and I made a lovely dinner consisting of shrimp cocktail, homemade bread (made by my husband – he’s an excellent baker!), and an avocado, grapefruit, and watercress salad. Plus a bottle of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc – a favorite introduced by our friend Rich.

New Year's Eve dinner

New Year’s Eve dinner

And then we headed off to Davies Symphony Hall for the New Year’s Masquerade Ball. We went last year and had such a fabulous time that we decided it should be a tradition.

I donned a coral Armani Collezioni silk chiffon gown that I found several months ago at Nordstrom Rack and hadn’t yet worn. It’s one of those things that you’ll never find if you’re looking for it . . . I just happened across it one day, tried it on a whim, and found that it fit beautifully and felt lovely. And, at over 90% off, it was totally affordable!

Decked out for the Masquerade Ball (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Decked out at the Masquerade Ball (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Pat wore the tux he bought last year, along with some vintage octagonal studs and cufflinks. (FYI – if you’re looking for studs, check out Etsy! There are some great, really affordable vintage sets – often more interesting, higher quality, and lower priced than what you’ll find in most men’s formal wear stores.)

My dashing escort.

My dashing escort.

We had a wonderful time listening to the symphony, eyeing the gorgeous gowns (okay, maybe I was the one really eyeing the gowns), and enjoying the high spirits of the crowd.

Well hello there! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Well hello there! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Before 2012 ended, we danced to the tunes of the Peter Mintun Orchestra . . .

The Peter Mintun Orchestra

The Peter Mintun Orchestra

. . . and I had the honor of meeting the enchanting Susanna Phillips, the Symphony’s soloist that evening.

With the lovely Susanna Phillips. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

With the lovely Susanna Phillips. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Soon enough it was midnight – heralded by a balloon drop . . .

New Year's Balloon Drop at Davies Symphony Ball

New Year’s Balloon Drop at Davies Symphony Ball

. . . and celebrated by balloon clutching!

AHHHHH it's 2013!!!!

AHHHHH it’s 2013!!!!

Happy New Year! I hope y’all have had a fabulous 2013 so far!!

What I wore:
Dress: Armani Collezioni silk chiffon gown, an absolute steal at Nordstrom Rack
Shawl: pashmina via Nordstrom
Necklace: vintage Coro
Bracelet: Victorian mourning bracelet

[All photos by me except where otherwise indicated.]

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Not Quite a White Christmas

I hope y’all have been having a lovely holiday!

Around here, it’s been doing the winter precipitation thing. Alas, not of the white and fluffy variety . . . more of the grey and rainy type. But for native Northern Californians, like my husband, it’s traditional holiday weather. The upside is that there’s lots of rich greenery around.

Tut, tut, it looks like rain. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Tut, tut, it looks like rain. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

In celebration of the season, I donned a little greenery myself . . . that is, this green cardi by Darling. I thought it perfectly complemented the copper tones of my holiday-ready skirt from Bettie Page.

Copper and evergreen. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Copper and evergreen. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

And although I stepped outside briefly to take these outfit photos, I spent most of the day cozied up inside with my husband, in-laws, and pups. Because that’s what the holidays are all about, right? Staying warm & cozy with your loved ones?

Enjoying the holiday! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Enjoying the holiday! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Hope you had a lovely Christmas! Any special plans for the New Year?

Skirt: Songs by the Fire Skirt, Bettie Page via ModCloth
Cardigan: Game of Chance Cardigan, Darling via ModCloth
Shirt: Banana Republic
Earrings: vintage (Christmas gift from my step-mom, originally worn by her mother)
Boots: Wonders

Le Fabuleux Monde de la Maison Cointreau

Take one part delicious orange liqueur, one part glamourous style icon, and a hearty dash of marvelous personalities. Stir (or shake, if you prefer!) and voilà! You’ve got yourself a taste of La Maison Cointreau.

Last week, Cointreau debuted La Maison Cointreau at Big Daddy’s Antiques in San Francisco: a fabulous world filled with decadence, glamour, music, and cocktails. As the evening opened, Dita von Teese made an appearance, posing for photographs and chatting with reporters. (Oh, for the record: she’s even more gorgeous in person!)

Dita von Teese poses for photos against a backdrop of Cointreau bottles.

Dita von Teese poses for photos against a backdrop of Cointreau bottles.

Dita von Teese chats with a reporter.

Dita von Teese chats with a reporter.

Throughout the evening, bartenders kept guests’ glasses full with Cointreau-based cocktails. My favorite of the evening was the classic Sidecar:
1 1/2 oz Remy VSOP
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz lemon juice
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled glass rimmed with sugar.

Preparing Cointreau cocktails.

Preparing Cointreau cocktails.

One of the things I enjoyed about the event was eyeing the fabulous style of the guests.

Guests posing for the camera.

Guests posing for the camera.

I was lucky to run into Meghan of Voilà!, who has a chic, ladylike style that I admire…

With Meghan of Voilà! (Photo courtesy of Meghan.)

With Meghan of Voilà! (Photo courtesy of Meghan.)

And I met Danielle the Dressmaker, who rocked a vibrant, flirty dress of her own creation:

Danielle the Dressmaker, wearing one of her own creations.

Danielle the Dressmaker, wearing one of her own creations.

But the highlight of the evening was the mini cabaret, which started off with a glass performance by Johnny Rodgers and kicked into high gear with a dynamic, retro vocal set by chanteuse Lady Rizo. Nicole Renaud added a fun French flair with her accordion.

A glimpse of Lady Rizo's energizing performance.

A glimpse of Lady Rizo’s energizing performance.

Enfin, Dita von Teese took over the stage with a playful and seductive burlesque performance set in a tropical Hawaiian scene. Alas, the audience was asked not to take photos, but Haute Living has a few shots online if you’re truly curious. :)

To be honest, I didn’t need much convincing to like Cointreau – it was already in my liquor cabinet since it’s a necessary component in Singapore Slings, and I use it in my version of the Boston Bog (recipes below). But I enjoyed the opportunity to try out new cocktails and soak in the divine atmosphere!

Cheers!

Cheers! (Photo courtesy of Meghan.)

What I wore:
Dress: vintage 1950s LBD via Eons Fashion Antique in Pittsburgh, PA
Earrings: Magicicada Earrings, Erica Weiner via ModCloth
Bracelet: Victorian mourning bracelet
Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti via The Outnet
Purse: Cole Haan Valise Archer leather satchel via Rue La La

Also check out Meghan’s post!

Singapore Sling:
1 oz gin
1/2 oz cherry brandy
4 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz lime juice
1/4 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz Benedictine
1/3 oz grenadine (I make mine from scratch – details in this post)
1 dash Angostura bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a Collins Glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a pineapple wedge.

Boston Bog (my variation on the original recipe by Misty Kalkofen; click here for the full recipe):
6 fresh cranberries (+ 1 for garnish)
1 1/2 oz aged or reserve rum
1/2 oz ginger syrup (a dash of Benedictine & simple syrup make for a good substitute)
2 tsp lemon juice (or 1/2 oz if using fresh lemons)
2 tsp Cointreau
Muddle cranberries, add remaining ingredients, shake with ice, and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cranberry.

[Photos by me except where otherwise noted.]

What to Wear to the Polls

This morning before work, I headed to the polls to vote. And of course I couldn’t wear just any old thing to the polls. So voilà, my election-inspired outfit:

All decked out at the polls, in red, white, and blue. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

All decked out at the polls, in red, white, and blue. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

And my necklace? A nod to my favorite political movie, which prominently featured a certain political catchphrase. Bonus points if you know the catchphrase, and double bonus points if you can guess the movie!

A nod to my favorite political movie. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

A nod to my favorite political movie. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

P.S. Just because elections are important doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with them . . . and involve your pup, too!

Rocky gets into the spirit. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Rocky gets into the spirit. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

So, did you cast your vote?

Top: Zara
Skirt: Streak Clearly Skirt by Rock Steady via ModCloth
Necklace: vintage watch fob
Bracelet: Nordstrom (a gift)
Shoes: Hit the Rodeo Heel by Miss L. Fire via ModCloth

[All photos by Pat Zimmerman]

Happy Halloween!

Things have been pretty crazy in San Francisco. I mean, things are always kinda crazy in San Francisco, but they’ve been more so with the Giants winning the World Series and all that jazz. (My husband, a lifelong Giants fan, has been walking on air these past few days.)

And, you know, there’s that whole Halloween thing.

On Saturday, friends hosted a Hallowine party… you know, where you dress up your wine bottle? Isn’t that what everyone does for Halloween? Anyway, it’s fun times. My entry was Audrey II.

Audrey II. Feed me!

(By the way, nail polish makes for an excellent hobby paint in a pinch. My collection of Julep nail colors sure came in handy for this project!)

But you know, you can’t have an Audrey II without an Audrey I:

Audrey I and Audrey II. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Okay, so that was Saturday. And today, on Halloween? Rocky and I did a little couples custom: he was Cry Baby and I was Wanda from that classic John Waters flick.

Wanda and Cry Baby.

(Oh, and if you haven’t seen Cry Baby, go fix that right now! Besides being a fine example of John Waters kitsch, Johnny Depp is the star. A young Johnny Depp. Yum!)

We joined other peeps at work who got dressed up, including Danielly, who came as one of the Wild Things…

Where the wild things are? Why, they're at ModCloth!

… and Anna and Ashley, who turned ModCloth and vintage dresses into Minnie Mouse costumes.

Anna and Ashley as Minnie and Minnie.

So how did you celebrate Halloween? Did you dress up? (Are there pics?) Do tell!

What I wore as Audrey:
Dress: Most Memorable Dress by Stop Staring!, via ModCloth
Cardigan: Grace via Ideeli

What I wore as Wanda:
Scarf: vintage
Top: Banana Republic
Belt: Calderon, vintage
Skirt: BCBGMAXAZRIA Scarlett Power Skirt in Black Combo

[All photos by me except where otherwise indicated.]

A Gatsby Summer Afternoon

On a warm, sunny day in September, Pat and I headed out to a picnic. But this picnic wasn’t just any old picnic; it was a step into the Gatsby-era world.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

The Art Deco Society of California (which I previously mentioned in a post about their Deco Ball) hosts a “Gatsby Summer Afternoon” every year at the end of the summer season, at the historic Dunsmuir Hellmann estate in Oakland. The dress code calls for 1920s and 1930s day attire for men and women, and period-appropriate accoutrements… right down to real glasses and porcelain, wicker baskets – and even a gramophone or two!

Pat decked out in menswear to evoke the deco era.

Pat decked out in menswear to evoke the deco era.

A working gramophone at the Gatsby Summer Afternoon.

A working gramophone at the Gatsby Summer Afternoon.

And in keeping with my usual style, I decided against the straight silhouettes of the 1920s in favor of the somewhat more body conscious style of the 1930s. But finding a proper ’30s day dress isn’t easy, so I bought a vintage pattern and sewed one up myself!

My 1930s dress pattern (photo taken when I was working on the muslin mock-up).

My 1930s dress pattern (photo taken when I was working on the muslin mock-up).

The end result: decked out in a 1930s day dress.

The end result: decked out in a 1930s day dress.

Prepping for this event was almost as fun as the event itself… but nothing quite beats dancing outside on a beautiful day!

Dancing at the Gatsby Summer Afternoon.

Dancing at the Gatsby Summer Afternoon.

For those of you in the Bay Area, I heartily recommend checking out the Art Deco Society! In addition to this event and their annual ball, they host walking tours of art deco buildings and publish information about related events put on by other organizations.

What I wore:
Dress: made by me from a vintage 1930s Simplicity pattern
Hat: ModCloth
Bracelet: vintage deco-era silver bracelet
Clutch: a gift from my husband

[Photos by me except where otherwise noted.]

Additional photos available on Flickr, here.

Swanky and Swingin’ at the Art Deco Preservation Ball

Once a year, the Art Deco Society of California puts on a fabulous deco-era ball. Pat and I went last year and had a fantastic time, so we just had to go again!

Everyone dresses up in deco-era-style formal attire from the 1920s through early 1940s. Getting dressed for it last year was super easy because I already had a vintage gown from the late 1930s/early 1940s (pictured here), but this year I had to figure out what to wear. I started thinking about it early and created a Pinterest board for deco-era formal wear several months ago. Then I stayed on the look-out for a formal gown that would fit the theme – and finally found a gorgeous Mikael Aghal chartreuse silk gown at The Outnet. The bias cut and waterfall pleats at the waist were reminiscent of 1930s gowns, while the beading and embellishments evoked the 1920s.

Arriving at the Art Deco Preservation Ball in a Mikael Aghal gown and vintage stole. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Arriving at the Art Deco Preservation Ball in a Mikael Aghal gown and vintage stole. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

But before we headed to the ball, Pat and I had dinner at Albona Ristorante Istriano, an absolutely delicious Istrian restaurant in North Beach.

Pat looking dapper in a tux at Albona Ristorante Istriano.

Pat looking dapper in a tux at Albona Ristorante Istriano.

In pin curls at Albona Ristorante Istriano. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

In pin curls at Albona Ristorante Istriano. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

And then we headed to the ball, held at Bimbo’s 365 Club – a North Beach nightclub founded in the 1930s. In addition to having a marvelous time dancing, enjoying the live entertainment, and sipping classic cocktails, we ran into Susan & Eric Koger from ModCloth. Events are always more fun when you get to share them with awesome people!

Clockwise from top left: with the lovely Susan Koger (photo by Pat Zimmerman); Eric and Pat share a laugh; the Deco Belles; the crowd at Bimbo's 365 Club.

Clockwise from top left: with Susan (photo by Pat Zimmerman); Eric and Pat share a laugh; the Deco Belles; the crowd at Bimbo’s 365 Club.

With Pat in the lobby of Bimbo's 365 Club. Photo by one of the lovely ball attendees.

With Pat in the lobby of Bimbo’s 365 Club. Photo by one of the lovely ball attendees.

Clockwise from top left: Susan with other glamorous ladies in orange gowns - a photo-op to commemorate the Golden Gate Bridge; Pat looking... debonair? mischievous?; Vienna La Rouge performing burlesque; a bouquet of orchids.

Clockwise from top left: Susan with other glamorous ladies in orange gowns – a photo-op to commemorate the Golden Gate Bridge; Pat looking… debonair? mischievous?; Vienna La Rouge performing burlesque; a bouquet of orchids.

If you’re in the Bay Area and love the deco era, definitely check out the Art Deco Society! They put on a few events throughout the year, including a Gatsby-themed picnic in September (I went last year and plan to go again this year). And they also host walking tours of art deco buildings and publish information about related events put on by other organizations.

What I wore:
Dress: Mikael Aghal Embellished silk-satin gown via The Outnet
Stole: vintage 1950s silver mink stole via Eons Fashion Antique in Pittsburgh, PA
Bracelet: Victorian mourning bracelet
Ring: family heirloom
Wristlet: brass mesh bag from the late 1910s/early 1920s (my great grandmother’s; when she gave it to me she said it was just the perfect size for lipstick and telephone money – all one needed for going out!)

[Photos by me except where otherwise noted.]

Additional photos – and full-sized versions of the collage photos – available on Flickr, here. More will be uploaded in the next few days!