Friday, November 6, 2009

The Perfect Bridesmaid Gift (IMHO). Discuss:

I've written about bridesmaid gifts before and, yes, I have feelings about the subject. It's not that I don't appreciate the gesture of a gift, but in our globally warming world, I believe it's better to not give anything at all than to give something cheap that will create clutter. For example, I've been a bridesmaid something like 9 times, and I've rarely been gifted anything that didn't eventually wind up in the garbage (fall-apart jewelry, shiny photo frames, perfume, change purses to match my 'maids dress, etc—all personal-or-home items I kind of want to pick out for myself or don't need at all).

I've championed gift cards, but many people like to give something that isn't essentially the equivalent of money; they'd rather give something the recipient can look back on and think of the giver and the lovely day they shared. Soy candles are nice, but they burn away. Wine disappears (in my house anyway) in an hour. Finding something that is truly useful and lasting, but doesn't cost an arm and a leg, is difficult.

So that's why I'm seriously loving…purse holders. (Yes, I know they weren't invented yesterday, but I've kept my lust for them hidden until now.) Here's why I think they're great: They're generally inexpensive and they're seriously useful, especially if you are like (ahem) some people who spend the equivalent of a month's rent on a single handbag. Some handbag holders are really well-made and truly pretty, such as these Pavina Handbag Holders, which are essentially the Tiffany & Co. of handbag holders, featuring glittery gemstones and other bling. They retail for $45 to $60, but are 40 percent off here from 11/27 through 12/21/2009. (Quick disclaimer: I haven't personally tested Pavina brand).

A pretty Pavina handbag holder. If only these worked over the back of movie seats...

If that price is still too steep for your wedding budget, a quick web search turned up tons of great handbag holder choices for around $12, including plain ones you could decorate with your own flair (your 'maids' initials? a tiny picture under glass?)

What are your thoughts? Is this a good bridesmaid gift idea or a stinker? What will you give your 'maids? You can find more inspiration at

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Loveliest Wedding Shoes of All

As far as I'm concerned, Vivienne Westwood can do no wrong. But (despite Carrie's infamous wedding dress in the Sex and the City movie) I don't really think of Westwood designs as typical "bridal."

That must be why j'adore these classic-Westwood heart heels: They are whimsy and cheek married with cool style, and yet are also The Perfect heels for a bride.

They come in tan, white and blue—the latter is the obvious choice for the nearly wed—and are only $159 if you buy them here. (Are they sweet or what?)

As for me, I'm going to buy a pair—Right. Now!—because I think these cuties are just as apropos for a writer who writes about love, as they are for a gal declaring her undying love.

(I found the above wedding images—uncredited—online, so I don't know who the bride or photog are.)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fashion Week: Lovely Gary Graham spring 10 "wedding" dress

Some of my favorite wedding dresses are ones designed from entirely un-bridal inspirations. Most of the brides we feature in Seattle Bride's real weddings stories wear traditional wedding dresses, but we've also shown women wearing beautiful dresses found at Marios or Nordstrom, and one memorable dress worn by a PNB ballerina was culled at BCBG for a song.

So I loved spying this Gary Graham dress (above) from the Spring 2010 collections yesterday. His collection was partially inspired by both Nancy Spungen and Lillian Gish, according to With this dress, a 1930's Gish (and maybe a little 90s-era Courtney Love, who always aspired to be Spungen), is evident.

Graham's whole collection, pieces of which are sold here in Seattle at Alhambra and Les Amis, is lovely and there are beautiful options for bridesmaid dresses—that can actually be worn again, thank you very much—as well.

Photos: Alex Antich / Courtesy of Gary Graham

Friday, September 11, 2009

Maybe Anna's Starbucks arrived cold today?

The best caption from Fashion Week so far. (Is she being rewarded or punished?!?!)

Photo: Casey Kelbaugh for The New York Times

Uncharted Territories: Panama, Costa Rica—and Victoria!

Now that what must have been my busiest, most adventurous summer yet is drawing to a close, I have time to blog (and just in time for Fashion Week) and post a couple of magazine articles I wrote that were recently published.

My story about an incredible "Journey Between Two Seas" from Costa Rica to Panama appears in the September issue of Virtuoso. As with any trip, most of the journey is not included in the article—there are dozens of stories that came from this trip, from exploring old ruins to meeting remote tribes to zip-lining through the rainforest canopy—but I hope you enjoy my take on 10 days in the jungle and on the ocean in 1,800 words.
Me, ziplining over the jungle; Photo by Kerrick James

In the same issue, a smaller article I wrote about eating my way through Victoria, B.C., one of my favorite nearby Northwest getaways, is featured on page 36. Victoria is a laid-back, lovely city with a fussier reputation than it deserves. Thanks in part to the inventive Island Chef's Collaborative, many, many bistros and restaurants here are just first-rate, offering organic, island-only—or primarily island—cuisine. Feel free to get in touch if you ever need suggestions about where to eat or stay (or bike!) in Victoria; I'm always happy to pass on my recommendations!
Cycling the coastline near Victoria. And, no, I don't always wear some kind of helmet when I travel

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Behind the Scenes at Seattle Bride

I'm in love with this video shot by Edit 1 Media at Seattle Bride magazine's recent photo shoot for our flowers feature. What really floors me is that this is the state of wedding video these days! Many thanks to Edit 1 for this beautiful video and giving our readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at a flowers/fashion shoot.

Edit 1 Media founders Laura and Chris Randall are also one of our upcoming "Ask the Experts" on, so be sure to keep your eyes out for their Q&A-style interview, where they answer everything you need to know about wedding videography.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Seattle Bride on Evening magazine!

Photograph by Elke Van de Velde
The upcoming Fall/Winter 2009 issue of Seattle Bride is coming down the home stretch, giving me little time for anything else. So it was great to take a break last night and watch a terrific segment on Evening Magazine about one of our upcoming fashion spreads shot by one of my favorite photographers, Elke Van de Velde.

It's always fun to see how TV shows edit long conversations down to soundbites—I ordinarily wouldn't mention Depression-era, budgeting and Luly Yang dresses in the same breath—but I'm loving how they put together all these thoughts into three fabulous minutes. Check it out and let me know what you think, and be sure to pick up a copy of the issue when it hits newsstands in early July!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Cookbook Chronicles

As always happens when exciting things are happening in my busy life, I've been super lazy-bones about documenting the developments on this blog. Well, thank goodness for Lorna Yee, my new partner in our newest venture: Eat, Drink, and Be Married, a cookbook for newlyweds, due out from Sasquatch Books in March, 2010. Lorna, the chef for Cache Seattle and a food writer for Seattle magazine, started a blog called The Cookbook Chronicles (which I've contributed to twice but ideally I will do so more often) that documents her recipe crafting—she's the super-star chef—while I'm writing text and sidebars that will inspire newlyweds to learn to love cooking together.

Lorna's recipes are fantastic and I have no doubt couples are going to go crazy over this book. On my end, I'm gathering love-and-food stories from different people in the food world—chefs, sommeliers, farmers, vintners—whomever!—who have romantic, funny or wise stories to share about their experiences with food and their spouse. So far the response has been fantastic and we've even gotten a little bit of pre-press in the Seattle P-I, Devouring Seattle and Seattle Magazine.

So unless I fall off the wagon again and stop blogging (was that an apt metaphor? probably not...), expect regular updates about Eat, Drink, and Be Married, as well as links to Lorna's goings-on on The Cookbook Chronicles. In the meantime, be sure to check Seattle Bride magazine's blog for updates.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day TWO of Battle of the Betrothed

Today Seattle Bride and The Healthy Bride are kicking off the second day of Battle of the Betrothed down at Westlake Center and the competition is fierce! All eight of our hilarious, adorable, charming and all-around fantastic couples are pulling out all the stops to come up with the most creative solutions to the challenges before them.

Yesterday, couples competed in a toilet-paper-dress-making competition to win a Sally Crew wedding dress from La Belle Elaine's (with our fabulous assistant editor Michelle LaFrance—see above—standing in as a model for one couple), an amazing invite-crafting contest to win an invitation package from All About Weddings, a bouquet and boutonniere making contest for a free floral package from Midnight Blossom Floral Design, and then raced around the city—using only human power and public transportation—to top wedding-picture-locations to land a free photography package from Laura Totten Photography.

But it is today's competitions that are not to be missed! The contestants battle it out in a cake decorating contest, hair and makeup contest and a dance challenge, as well as the announcement of the top THREE couples who will compete next Saturday for the ultimate prize: A fantastic honeymoon package!

We've got great music from Event Success (recommended!), a warm tent and lots of seating down in Westlake Center. I hope you come down, say hello and check out the fun.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More First Lady Fashion

While reading the spectrum of reactions to Michelle Obama's fashion choices last night I came across Mrs. O, a terrific web site that regularly follows the fashion of the new First Lady. The site not only shows great pics and discusses Michelle's outfits, but offers a round-up of commentary on the Web, video, and tracks down each garment and accessory, Nancy Drew–like. For instance the Carole Tanenbaum vintage brooch (above) is not, in fact, part of the Isabel Toledo dress MO wore yesterday but savvy accessorizing. Props to Mrs. O. It's a beautiful site; I'm going to bookmark it and make it one of my regular morning reads.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First Lady of Fashion

Photo from the Washington Post
Readers of this blog know I'm a big fan of Robin Givhan of The Washington Post; she's probably my favorite fashion writer and my main go-to gal when I need a good read, fashion news–wise. So when I looked at the Post today and saw she had a front-page story about Michelle Obama's dresses—and better yet—hosted a live Q&A on the web site at 1 p.m. EST, it was like fashion porn for me. In fact anyone interested in reading smart, sane discourse about Michelle's wardrobe should read this article, and while you're at it, do a Robin Givhan search and read some of her other pieces, too. She earned a Pulitzer a couple years ago, the only fashion writer to ever do so, I believe, and it's easy to see why after reading a few of her neatly written, thoughtful pieces.

I've written before about red carpets and so-called fashion police, the latter which throw me into hostility seizures whenever I'm unlucky enough to land on them on TV or in a magazine. Most of the writing you'll find on the Internet, primarily in blogs and message boards, falls into the fashion police category: Either catty, snarky insults or gushing raves, neither of which rarely explain either the vitriol or appreciation behind the critique.

Photo from The New York Times

This is why I'm so drawn to Robin Givhan's writing. Givhan (who I learned from Brian William's NBC broadcast last night is pronounced giv-AHN, not GIVE-en, like I've been saying it) doesn't slide into the catty-trap. Her writing doesn't shoot from the hip or the heart, it references history, a larger picture that puts fashion-as-both-art-and-social-statement (among other things) into perspective. Like she wrote in today's Q&A, "I hate turquoise, but that doesn't mean that people who wear it have atrocious taste." But she also recognizes that "clothing is quite personal, everyone rightly believes their opinion is valid. Sometimes they forget that just because it's valid that doesn't mean that it's the only one with value."

Food for thought for all of us. So can we ban words like "ghastly" "atrocious" "hideous" "frightful," etc, and all their painful variations from our vocabulary while we (try to) critique?
Photo from the Washington Post

I'm not interested in insulting men and women anywhere just because they've stepped outside the box. I'm not interested in adding to the flood of criticisms that inhibit today's celebrities from taking a chance, from dressing interesting instead of just neatly. I'm tired of red carpet shows and their ilk mainly because the commentary depresses me, but also because there's so little fashion and style on display, instead we only see a catwalk of labels and trends.

Incidentally, I think Michelle's white chiffon Jason Wu inaugural gown dress was lovely. It was not a coconut cake or inappropriate for her age or weight or height. She was not an underage bride. It fit, it flattered, it was chic. It was another capture of Mo Obama, the first first lady to arrive in decades whose got the guts and moxie to be herself and not give a damn whose watching.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Michelle's Dress: Moxie

Photo from AFP
There's so much goodness to write about today but, hey, let's dish about The Dress. Michelle wore a beaded lemongrass wool-lace dress and matching coat by—drum roll—Isabel Toledo, a designer she has worn before (to a Calvin Klein fund-raiser last year, for one) and a long-time favorite designer of mine to watch.

I first discovered Isabel and Rubén (her artist-illustrator husband) Toledo in an old issue of Taxi magazine dating back to 1986 or 87. The article was essentially about cute couples in New York: artists, models and entrepreneurs who transcended everyday levels of cuteness to land in some paradisiacal saccharine-state of beautiful coupledom. As a teenager, I was smitten. Since then, I've been happy to see both their careers gradually rise from struggling to success stories. (I came this close to buying an outrageously avant-garde Isabel Toledo dress for my book-launch-party-that-never-really-happened.)

But I digress. We'll learn more about Michelle's dress—most of it was covered up by the coat, save a long silk ribbon that whipped in the wind—as the Toledo PR machine whirrs into action, but I think the First Lady made yet another inventive fashion statement. Michelle's got moxie, there's not doubt about that, and her confidence, wit and creativity is evident in the clothes she wears. The sunny choice of color is warm and hopeful, and wearing a Cuban-American designer gives a nod to our country's patchwork heritage that was underscored on this cold-weather, celebratory day. (And those green-gold gloves: fantastic! Who are they?)

Elements of the dress—the color, the beaded collar—remind me of Detroit-born Tracey Reese, a designer I placed on my short list of who she might wear. What do you guys think?

Photo from The New York Times

To read more about first ladies and what they wore, pick up a copy of The Long (and Short) of It: The Madcap History of the Skirt.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Essentially Paris

New Year, new article, new post! My story about visiting Paris was published last week in Virtuoso Life and I have photographer Peter Frank Edwards to thank for the beautiful images that accompanied the story. You can read it here, and I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback!