Tiled Patterns

Patterns! I like ’em.

Patterns on patterns on tiles. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman)

Patterns on patterns on tiles. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman)

I have a special fondness for tiles, too. And this building had some particularly lovely ones. Can you believe this is a public middle school?!?

Posing outside Everett Middle School. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman)

Posing outside Everett Middle School. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman)

Pat and I were heading home from the Mission-Dolores area and happened across this beautiful building – Everett Middle School. Perhaps I risked pattern overload, with my geometric-print dress and black & white chevron shoes, but it seemed too good of a photo op to pass up. (Even if I only had a cell phone camera available – alas!)

(Photo by Pat Zimmerman)

(Photo by Pat Zimmerman)

Dress: Sugar Cubed Dress, Leota via ModCloth
Cardigan: The Dream of the Crop Cardigan in Black, Mak via ModCloth
Purse: Cole Haan
Shoes: High Hopes Wedge in Chevron, Seychelles via ModCloth

[Photos by Pat Zimmerman]

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A Little Bit of Inspiration

Howdy!

(Photo by Pat Zimmerman)

(Photo by Pat Zimmerman)

I’m starting this post out with a photo of my favorite comfy coat. It’s made out of sweatshirt material – really, it’s like a flirty, dress-friendly hoodie. I love that I can wear it around the house, on a bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge (just did that last weekend!), and over a cute dress. :)

But this blog post is really about the outfit I’m wearing under the coat. See, when I got up in the morning I was at a loss for what to wear. And then I perused ModCloth’s Style Gallery (one of my fave places for outfit inspiration), and was inspired by some great looks from fabulous gals like . . .

Jana G. (left) of Small Town, Big Smile! who added spice to a mint dress with a red belt and cardigan. And Ashley R. (right) of Not Your Average Ashley, who paired a red polka dot dress with a sweet mint cardigan.

And THEN I looked into my closet . . . and found a shocking dearth of mint. :(

But some of the other outfits that caught my eye incorporated lovely shades of aqua instead. Like the outfit posted by Amanda L. (left) of Modern June Cleaver. And the one posted by Katie M. (right), a.k.a. Amelia Jetson.

And I happened to have bought a charming aqua dress recently – it was sitting in my closet, just waiting for the inspiration to wear it!

(Photo by Pat Zimmerman)

(Photo by Pat Zimmerman)

Though I am thinking that I need to get some mint-colored pieces for the future. :)

P.S. You can see more of my favorite Style Gallery photos here!

Coat: Soaring Comets Coat, Effie’s Heart via ModCloth (out of stock, but still available directly from Effie’s Heart)
Dress: Front Perch Swing Dress, Retrolicious via ModCloth
Cardigan: The Dream of the Crop Cardigan in Black, Mak via ModCloth
Belt: Calderon, thrifted
Tights: Nordstrom Rack
Shoes: DKNY

[Photos of me by Pat Zimmerman.]

Wintry Mix and Match

Happy 2014!

Well, hello there! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman)

Well, hello there! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman)

For Christmas this year I visited my family in Pennsylvania. Yep, for 5 days I gave up the perfectly mild San Francisco weather for the bitter, blustery cold of the Northeast.

Except it wasn’t that bad. We got just a sprinkling of snow on Christmas eve and a light flurry on the day after Christmas. But still, I needed to bundle up a tiny bit with a merino wool cardigan (an old standby from Banana Republic) and super thick, fleece-lined tights that I picked up from Nordstrom Rack last year. Plus, it was the perfect opportunity to wear the sweater dress that I recently picked up at ModCloth’s internal sample sale!

The dress was actually about 2 sizes too large, but after I cut about 8″ from the waist and sewed it back up it fit quite well. And it’s super-dooper comfy to boot!

(Photo by Pat Zimmerman)

(Photo by Pat Zimmerman)

Hope you all had lovely holidays, and best wishes for 2014!

Sweater Dress: Always Adorable Dress, Bea & Dot via ModCloth
Cardigan: Banana Republic
Belt: H&M
Tights: Nordstrom Rack
Shoes: Wonders

[Photos by Pat Zimmerman]

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.]

Time for Sweaters

This probably isn’t news to most of the northern hemisphere, but… well, did you know it’s autumn? That means it’s time to start wearing tights and sweaters!

Sweater dress, cardi, and tights. Just in time for the fall weather! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Sweater dress, cardi, and tights. Just in time for the fall weather! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Okay, so I bet the whole “fall weather” thing is super old news for most of you out there. But in San Francisco, we’re in a perpetual state of the in-between. Not quite fall, not quite spring… certainly not winter or summer. At this time of year, one day it’ll be sunny and warm, the next it’ll be grey and cool – that is, if it’s not raining.

I generally prefer spring fashions and dressing for warmer weather, but it’s nice to have a reason to change things up from time to time!

And speaking of time…

Watch necklace from Park and Pond. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Watch necklace from Park and Pond. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

I love this watch necklace my husband bought for me at a local boutique, Park and Pond. We came across Park and Pond during an arts night – they feature products and crafts from local makers, including jewelry, like this steampunk necklace.

The brass hardware complemented this earth-toned chevron dress. And because the dress is short-sleeved (good for the office, not so much for outside), I paired it with a grey cardigan that echoed up the dress’ grey stripes.

Crisp weather and fall colors. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Crisp weather and fall colors. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Oh, and you know how it looks all grey and dusk-like in these pictures? Well, there were bits of bright blue sky here and there amongst the clouds. San Francisco weather can never make up its mind!

Consistently inconsistent San Francisco weather. Rocky is not amused. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Consistently inconsistent San Francisco weather. Rocky is not amused. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Dress: Seventies Wonder of the World Dress, Jessica Simpson via ModCloth
Cardigan: Trusted Essential Cardigan via ModCloth
Necklace: Watch necklace via Park and Pond
Tights: Hue via Nordstrom Rack
Shoes: D’Orsay at the d’Orsay Heel, Re-Mix via ModCloth

[All photos by Pat Zimmerman]

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.]

Can’t Hardly Wait to Take the Wine Train!

So I mentioned in an earlier post that I recently celebrated my 3 year anniversary at ModCloth – and I had the honor of having a dress named after me! It incorporates a few of my absolutely favorite things . . .

Wearing my namesake 'Can't Hardly Kate Dress'. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Wearing my namesake “Can’t Hardly Kate Dress”. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

    • Mid-century vintage style? Check!
    • Colorful? Check!
    • With lots of yellow? Check!
    • Illustrating one of my favorite cities? Check!
Detail of the skirt. I absolutely adore this 19th century New Orleans French Quarter scene! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Detail of the skirt. I absolutely adore this 19th century New Orleans French Quarter scene! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

    • With pockets? . . .
Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

    • YES! POCKETS! Check and CHECK!

Of course, a dress this wondrous can’t be debuted just any old place. Which is why, as eager as I was to wear it out the moment it arrived, I waited until the day Pat & I headed up to Napa and took an evening ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train.

All aboard the Wine Train! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

All aboard the Napa Wine Train! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

I mean, clearly the Wine Train was the place to wear this dress – it matched & everything!

About to embark on a sunset dinner on the Napa Valley Wine Train. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

About to embark on a sunset dinner on the Wine Train. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

. . . but besides that, I would recommend taking a ride on the Wine Train if you have the chance. It’s a really pleasant way to spend the afternoon (over lunch) or evening (over dinner), traveling through Napa Valley. I hadn’t thought to try the train out before (this trip was inspired by a gift certificate from Pat’s parents), but I hope to go again! Not only is the view fabulous, but the food is quite good! (Though if you do plan on taking the evening train, I recommend checking out sunset times and make sure to schedule your trip during a part of the year when you can catch the sunset.)

And as you might expect on something called the “Wine Train”, there’s a good selection of local wines, which always makes me happy!

Enjoying my time on the Wine Train! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Enjoying my time on the Wine Train! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Dress: Can’t Hardly Kate Dress, Trashy Diva via ModCloth
Necklace: Coro, vintage
Belt: Calderon, thrifted
Bracelet: Victorian mourning bracelet
Shoes: Hot for Hemlock Heel in Crimson, Chelsea Crew via ModCloth
Purse: Cole Haan Valise Archer leather satchel via Rue La La

[All photos by Pat Zimmerman]