fashion. wine. design... and my life.

That’s my pen…

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2014 at 3:14 pm

pen2Pentel.

ENERGEL.

Liquid Gel Ink.

Metal Tip .o7.

And ONLY black ink.

As of late… that’s my pen of choice.

In true “Bob Dole” fashion, I’ve always kept a good writing utensil close at hand.

An Army officer for a father, this practice, along with the notion that one should have a signature with “strength”, was subconsciously ingrained in me as a child.  I’m certain that my artistic abilities heightened the attraction for “all things” that made a mark.  But…evolving with age, it wasn’t until the high school years, that I became utterly obsessed — naaaaah — probably more like, enchanted with pens.

Fellow lovers of pens… you know how we do, eh?

The aisles at Staples stop us in our tracks.

Truth be told… it is any pen aisle in any store that will cast this magnetic draw.

Even if we are loyal to a brand, just gazing at the potential possibilities keeps us entranced… like a toddler exploring a new toy, it is both eye and hand candy!  Weak, I say!  Haha… it is a weakness, that is also exhilarating!  Annnnnnd with that “weakness”… referencing my initial statement; you HAVE to be a lover of pens to comprehend.

As a pen devotee, I am giddy… rather proud to say that in early March of this year, I won an Instagram contest sponsored by #pentelofamerica, my FAVORITE brand of pens.  

photo-1.PNG

Script on paper, with a quick nod to the past Washington DC blizzard like conditions, earned me several new free writing goodies!  Who knew that $250 in brand spanking new writing tools, delivered to my door… could have the same impact as the first sip of a fabulous glass of wine!

Haha… I’m spinning off course.  So all embellishments aside…

There is power in a pen.

A good writing pen.

One that effortlessly accentuates and enhances your handwriting.  One that simply glides as you write…  where the weight and size of the pen feels fabulous in your hand.  One that is attractive in its appearance… absolutely showing no signs of grime.  One that dispenses theeeeeeeeeeee “perfect” ink.  And one that puts that “professional” stamp and emphasis on what you do.

Did you get that last statement?

(Enter the mildly OCD me… the me with a few pen “pet peeves”)

That last statement is the true power.

Within a professional environment, a good pen… a good writing pen matters.  Simple as that!

The professional setting?

The full gamut of professional environments…. which includes any setting from the grocery store, to the doctor’s office, to schools, restaurants, retail establishments… you get where I’m going, right?   In a professional setting, don’t you dare require my signature/ask me to complete a form and then extend a pen that lessens the experience with your business.  (Actually, my one exception is automotive repair shops… with their hands embedded in oil changes and such, they can’t help the muck that accumulates on their pens).

I get that “lessens”  could read as such a harsh word.  Sooooo, without sounding haughty or arrogant, for truly, I’m only talking about a “pen”… I offer this anecdote.

With my career as an interior designer, it is common for my design firm to finish the month with a half of a million dollars (or plus) in sales.  The cost of our product, coupled with the amount money generated in sales, absolutely sets the tone for the “expected” experience with my firm.

While projects, as well as the final price for a project vary, the experience offered to each client is fair and consistent.  It is a full design service experience.  Naturally, each client tailors the service to suit their individual project needs… but completing the project, while protecting the “experience” is always priority.  And with the interior design field… it is an aesthetic experience.  One that begins with the initial designer/client meeting… and ends with the client “signing” on the dotted line.

Circling back to the power of the pen…

Such a tiny component of the experience.  Most may not even make the connection… or, bet yet, realize the relevance.

But how, as a professional, does one present a project (possibly in a range of thousands of dollars), engage the client and secure their “by-in”… and then… (wait for it)… extend a pen for their signature that reads “Suzi-Q’s hot-buttered Muffins”… you feel me?

It’s important.  It matters.  And albeit a minor element to the big picture… it matters!

It must matter… for in my professional world, I am a stickler for my writing tool.

So much so that, since my firm provides their own type of pen, I have always (since being employed with them) personally purchased my own pen of choice.  Nothing extravagantly expensive either…. a pack of 7 of my tool of choice may cost about $9 or $10 bucks.

What’s wrong with always wanting to be prepared… armed…  and ready to enhance the momentum of the “experience”.

Sounds silly, eh?

So if I tell you that several at my company have followed suit… does it still sound silly?

Surely this is applicable to other areas in both personal and professional worlds.  Curious if you too might share this belief…

I always have a pen.

Pentel.

ENERGEL.

Liquid Gel Ink.

Metal Tip .o7.

And ONLY black ink.

My pen.

Haha… and don’t be offended if when you extend yours, I reach for mine.

Cheers!

-k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RED lips are…

In Uncategorized on March 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm

redlipSophisticated.  CHIC.  Classic.  STRIKING.  Powerful.  Timeless.  Utterly SEXY.

And… ABSOLUTELY, one of my favorite things!

What I know to be true is this:

E V E R Y woman can wear a red lip.

and…

E V E R Y woman should have at least one kick ass tube of red lipstick that effortlessly compliments her complexion.

Can’t believe that since starting this blog in 2011, that this is only my second post on the subject.  Considering how long I have been attracted to red lips, it should have been my introductory post, as well as every other post there after.  Ladies (and gentlemen) the passion is serious… I am a hard core fan.

HARD CORE!

There is no special occasion needed for me to don a red lip.  Haha — just ask my children.  5:30am in the morning, still wearing my pj’s, making lunches for school?  Check.  Off to work, or dinner with friends?  Check.  Sitting around the house with my husband?  My traditional “MD to Italy”  wine Skype session with my BFF? Or my favorite stella & dot Insatgram shots?

Check… check… CHECK!

I honestly don’t think about the occasion or the action of applying the lipstick — I just do it.  Kinda second nature for me now, eh?  Breaking it down to elementary terms:

red lips, simply make me happy.

Something about seeing my lips painted red… it provides an immediate energy.  And don’t even get me started on the energy that erupts upon seeing another woman wearing a stunning red lip… especially when she got it right!  Haha — it makes me wanna walk up to her and scream “DAMN!” while giving her a hearty high-five!

Several women have left impressionable and memorable “red lip” moments.

In college, two of my friends named Jane and Kim kept my eyes alert  — I watched (and still do via facebook posted pics), better yet, studied their precision and technique.  Currently,  Ms. Tracee Ellis Ross (who has forever reminded me of my baby sis), constantly keeps my heart fluttering.  She is my newly crowned “red lip icon”… the QUEEN; for she ALWAYS gets it right!

But hands down, my late grandmother, Ruth E. Brown gets all of the credit.

She was/is my first memory — my inspiration and teacher.  The absolute EPITOME of a red lip and my sustained standard for judgement when making my determinations.  Wonder if she knew just how many times I practiced with her lipstick and then carefully wiped away ALL evidence of any tampering.

Her influence created yet another lover of reds…. and I’m thinking that my grandmother would be proud of my endeavors.

Through research and experimentation, I have discovered what works for me.    In a true “pay it forward” fashion, I’m sharing my learnings with the hopes that another woman might become newly acquainted with her favorite red lipstick.  And of course, sport a gorgeous RED lip!

So…. what I have learned over the years boils down to three things:

ONE.  Only wear reds that suit your skin tone.

Why bother with anything else?? Just in the same manner that we dress and wear clothes that flatter our body shape, the same holds true for make-up/red lipstick.  If you are uncertain about your skin tone/undertones, for a minimal fee at most department stores, you could get a professional consultation.  For me, cooler reds (ones with blue undertones) suit me perfectly.  And since making that discovery — I stay in that color lane and I do not stray.

My favorites?

The unbeatable BEST, knock it out the box, works EVERY TIME color is MAC’s Ruby Woo.  I have YET to meet a woman who couldn’t wear this color.  It is like blood type O+… it is a universal donor!  Trust me and just do as I say…  IF you don’t own it, you need to order this color – ASAP!  You can wear it alone, or, you can use it as a base for other colors.  It is long lasting and it yields the most  the intense, bold red color is scrumptious… and damn near unforgettable.  Ruby Woo is the Ironman of all red lipsticks.  It just is!

Another favorite is Chanel 99 Pirate.  It reminds me of Ruby Woo… just a smidgen creamier.  The color is vintage and sleek.  #99 is so very old Hollywood… big sunglasses and head wraps.  An elegant color, but packed with attitude!  While I have worn this color alone, I mainly use it as the top layer over Ruby Woo.  The two lipsticks combined are a beautiful marriage and the color that is produced is exceptional.

SECOND.  The application process shouldn’t be painstaking or tedious.

When it comes to make-up, especially lipstick, you can Google search scores of ways to apply.  I’m not a make-up artist… but what I do know is that:  if it involves more than “apply lipstick to a clean lip”,  I am NOT interested.

The easier the better… clean lip, a very, very, very light amount of lip balm as a conditioning base and then apply your rep lip color.  BAM – that’s all she wrote!  Side note though.  If you apply a coat of red, blot/purse lips on a paper towel and then reapply your red… you will have a longer lasting lip.  I’m just saying…

THIRD.  Keep your red lip matte and refrain from adding gloss… you know, GLOSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

No “wet-n-wild” lips please.  Otherwise… well, you run the risk of possibly looking a bit too scandalous suggestive racy risque?  And just like Forrest Gump… that’s all I have to say about that.

To all of my fellow red lip lovers, I do hope you concur.

RED lips are…

Fabulous and a must for all women.  And please… don’t just wait for a formal affair to dazzle.  Grocery store?  Check.  Picking the kids up from school?  Check.  Running shoes and work out clothes?  Check. (Seriously… check out #redlipfit)  Any place and any event — add a POW and show off your red!

And for all who are curious.

YES… I did have red lips on as I typed this blog!

redlip2

Cheers!

-k

…so fresh. So clean.

In Uncategorized on January 22, 2014 at 10:38 pm

snowDid the title prompt an immediate humming of that ever so catchy OutKast tune?

“…ain’t nobody dope as me.  I’m just so fresh, so clean. So fresh and so clean clean.”

Haha — great tune, but that’s not the reference I’m making.  I’m talkin’ snow.  Yep… snow.  A blanket of snow that has freshly fallen onto the ground.  Clean and inviting in its appearance.  Crisp and invigorating to the touch.  Snow.

Today, after he shoveled the most recent wintery gift, I asked my husband what feelings the sight of snow evoke.  His immediate response was… “Fun.”  He spoke of his childhood, being outside and playing in the snow with friends… not what I was thinking, or the response I was looking for… so I cut him off and quickly rephrased the question.  Even quicker — completely ignoring my interruption — he responds, “Fun”… and proceeds to speak of his childhood, being outside and playing in the snow with friends.  I asked… right?!

What response was I anticipating?

Something more figurative.  Something more “right-brained”… something that made reference to a fresh and clean perspective of life.  Basically I was in search of a response that provided confirmation of my own quirky and abstract thinking.  Yet, I did ask my “left-brained” husband… and his response (I should have known)  came in true form.  The expected format; logical and precise.

22 days into a new year, I intentionally refrained from creating any resolutions.  Instead, I decided (and put it out into the universe) that this year, 2014, would be comprised of baby steps.  Daily small steps in which I was always true to myself.

You know, steps like… being appreciative of my daily blessing.  Being aware of any toxic surroundings and the what/who I allow to affect my temperament.  Being completely present in “the moment”…for my children, husband and for myself.  Continuing to love my unique imperfections and the beauty of age.  Haha — and probably most important (and my mother would MOST certainly agree) is to simply sloooooooooow down and clear my plate.  With the many hats that I wear, and with my many endeavors/goals/activities… I simply need to pace myself with baby steps.  The race need not be run so quickly, for the finish line will be there… when I get there.

Trust me, all of this is MUCH easier said that done!

Believe you me, there are a plethora of “things” and “goals” that could be spewed — the list that I could create would make you (and me) dizzy.  I have aspirations with my full-time interior design career, goals for my part-time job as stella & dot stylist, photography classes to take, paintings to be painted, more blogs to be written, new books to be read, experiences/travels and trips with my family;  and let’s not forget about me continuing to fine-tune my wine palate… all while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, both with food and exercise.  WHEW!

So instead, I decided… a new method is in order.  What is that old adage about insanity?  Doing that same thing over and over and expecting different results…  Ha!  Not me this year!  I’m sticking to that other old adage… the best way to eat an elephant, is one bite at a time.

So with the snow… and the question…

With my 2014 baby steps mindset, the snow seemed to represent so much more.  The site of  an untouched snowfall (free from footprints, dirt and yellow splotches) was a visual treat.  Pure.  So fresh.  So clean.  Actually, kinda dreamy… for you could easily get lost in thought staring at the crisp white planes or slopes.  Intoxicating, eh?

Lost in thought I was.  And the “ah-ha” moment was when I made this connection.  The sheer fact that the blanket of snow that surrounded my home consisted of billions and billions and BILLIONS of tiny snowflakes… it just seemed to add confirmation that small things/baby steps absolutely matter and can make one hell of an impact!  Too deep for ya?  Perhaps…

But remember… I’m “right-brained” and an artist.  Haha — I see “meaning” in practically everything!  Now that I think about it… I might have been a wee bit hard on my husband and his snow interpretation.  Maybe his notion of “Fun” has elements of fresh and clean intertwined?!  Could be…

At any rate… tomorrow is day 23 of the new year.

My plan…

Yep, you guessed it.  Continue my baby steps.

With the hopes of making my mother proud… here is one more old adage.  As for my baby steps…

Slow and steady wins the race.

Cheers!

-k