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.]

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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.

A Little Bit Country

When I first picked up this dress I wasn’t sure I loved it. Something about the print just didn’t feel like me – maybe it felt a little too country? The only reason I bothered trying it on was the full skirt.

But when I did try it on, I loved how it looked. And since it was $15, it was easy to go ahead and buy it. Sure, there were some stains from age – it must have been packed between cardboard or something similar that left marks. But I’ve learned that those kinds of stains generally wash out (and they did!).

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Fast-forward a couple of years and this has become one of my go-to dresses. Since it’s from the early 1950s, I’ve had to take a needle & thread to it a few times – but it’s worth it! It’s super easy to wear and mix & match with accessories.

This time, I went with cheery summer brights – a pink cardigan (coming on the heels of my last post, it seems I have a thing for pink cardis!), yellow bangles, and lime green earrings.

Bright accessories add pop to a black & white print. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Bright accessories add pop to a black & white print. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Then I added some chic patent heels and did what any reasonable girl wearing a full-skirted dress should do – went for a spin!

Love spinning in full skirts! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Love spinning in full skirts! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Btw, I think sunny days make me giddy . . .

Full on cheese! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Full on cheese! (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

*ahem*

(I’m a serious fashion blogger. For reals.)

Being a serious fashion blogger. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Being a serious fashion blogger. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Anyway . . . What piece in your closet has become an unexpected fave?

Dress: vintage early 1950s dress via Eons Fashion Antique in Pittsburgh, PA
Cardigan: Banana Republic
Earrings: vintage
Bracelets: vintage (yellow bangles) and a gift (silver cuff)
Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti via The Outnet
Purse: Cole Haan Valise Archer leather satchel via Rue La La

[All photos by Pat Zimmerman.]

Professor Salt’s Coffee Truck

Check out this totally awesome truck I found!

Awesome classic Chevrolet truck. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Awesome classic Chevrolet truck. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

My husband and I went out to Port Costa for dinner with his parents and happened across this classic Chevrolet truck. I hadn’t planned on taking outfit pics, but the photo op was just too good to pass up.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

In addition to the old-timey “Prof Salt’s Coffee Co” sign, there were chicken plushies in the passenger seat! Rather irresistable, don’t you think?

Do you see that chicken plushie in the window? (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

Do you see that chicken plushie in the window? (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

My dress fit in quite well, given that it’s a handsewn vintage dress from the late 1940s or early 1950s. It’s got a somewhat unusual floral pattern, with abstracted black and grey vines amongst the green leaves and purple flowers. I paired it with a green cardigan and purple handbag, plus black shoes and belt for contrast. The black lace on my cardigan helped pull it all together.

The whole ensemble, framed by Professor Salt's coffee truck. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

The whole ensemble, framed by Professor Salt’s coffee truck. (Photo by Pat Zimmerman.)

So cheers! to Professor Salt. I don’t know what your coffee is like, but I sure do love your truck!

Dress: handsewn vintage dress, likely from the late 1940s or early 1950s
Cardigan: Game of Chance Cardigan, Darling via ModCloth
Bracelet: vintage art deco silver bracelet (a gift)
Belt: borrowed from another dress
Purse: Coach (a gift)
Shoes: Me Too (thrifted)

[All photos by Pat Zimmerman.]

A Birthday in Style! With Florals and Wine

Did you know that June is the best month ever? Lovely weather, tons of flowers in bloom, summer fruits and vegetables are making their way to market . . .

. . . AND it just so happens to be my birthday month!

For my birthday this past Sunday, Pat took me wine tasting in Napa Valley (before we headed out to dinner in the evening). It was a warm, sunny, absolutely gorgeous day, and I was in the mood for bright florals.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

I was also excited to wear my new art deco era bracelet. It was a birthday gift from Pat that he had given me a couple of days early because he was so excited about it. And with good reason – I adore it!

Art deco era silver bracelet featuring summer flowers, corn, and wheat.

Art deco era silver bracelet featuring summer flowers, corn, and wheat.

The dress is one I got a couple of years ago from ModCloth. It’s always struck me something that should be worn to a birthday party, if not a wedding! I paired it with a lightweight cardigan from Banana Republic (also from a couple of years ago), dark green Miz Mooz t-straps, and a camel-colored Anne Klein handbag.

All dolled up in bright florals for my birthday. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

All dolled up in bright florals for my birthday. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

As far as the wine tasting went, we actually ended up spending almost 3 hours at Hall, one of our favorite wineries (and where these photos were taken). The wine was excellent and we were able to sit outside and savor each tasting. I definitely enjoyed that slow, easy pace more than rushing around from winery to winery.

It was a very happy day!

All dolled up in bright florals for my birthday. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

All dolled up in bright florals for my birthday. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Dress: Save the Date Dress via ModCloth
Purse: Anne Klein
Bracelet: vintage art deco silver bracelet (birthday gift from my husband!)
Cardigan: Banana Republic
Shoes: Green Tea-Strap Heel, Miz Mooz via ModCloth

[Bracelet photo by me. Other photos by Pat Zimmerman (as noted).]

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!

The LBD Gets a Colorful Spin!

San Francisco weather is all over the place. This weekend it’s been drizzly and chilly. But not too long ago it was sunny and warm . . . and I took out one of my LBDs for a spin.

Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

This is one of my go-to dresses when I want to wear something easy. It’s made of a polyester jersey knit (of the late 70s/early 80s variety), so it never wrinkles. (It happens to be a great traveling dress for that reason — and because it’s super easy to accessorize!) I picked it up several years ago in a Chicago vintage store for about $20 – a steal considering how often I’ve worn it since!

This dress can be worn for work (with a camisole to keep the neckline more conservative) or for a night out dancing — it’s got great twirlability! (That’s totally a word. Or it should be, anyhow.)

And I ADORE color, so I paired the dress with a fantastic scarf/shawl from ModCloth and a vintage gold Anne Klein belt that I recently scored on Etsy. I also added one of my favorite pieces of jewelry — a Victorian mourning bracelet that used to be my aunt’s. She wore it all the time, and I think of her every time I wear it.

Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

The color didn’t stop there. In fact, this outfit was actually built around my shoes: rainbow-hued wedges by Poetic License.

Rainbow Road Wedges. Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

Rainbow Road Wedges. Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

When I saw these shoes a year or two ago, I knew I had to have them! They remind me of Rainbow Brite, one of my favorite childhood cartoon characters.

And check this out:

Walking on rainbows!

Sunlight shines through the heel, casting a mini rainbow on the ground!

So when I wear these shoes, I’m always somewhere over the rainbow. Literally.

The whole ensemble. Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

The whole ensemble. Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

Dress: vintage (late 1970s/early 1980s)
Scarf: Neon Summer Shawl,Twist and Tango via ModCloth
Belt: vintage Anne Klein belt, via Etsy
Shoes: Rainbow Road Wedge, Poetic License via ModCloth
Bracelet: Victorian mourning bracelet