Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Birthday Cakes and a Charity Dinner

Chapin has spent the last six months traveling back and forth to Dunedin, Florida. After one last weekend away, I am happy to report he will be working from Atlanta for the foreseeable future. Although I had George to keep me company, and I spent some extra weeknights and weekends with my parents in Alpharetta, I definitely am glad he's home. I got so lonely without him! I guess that's what happens when your husband is also your best friend.

George with Chapin: Weekend of Aug 27th
This past weekend, we had something going on every day, which is my favorite kind of weekend. (I hate feeling like I am wasting any kind of precious time off.)

We started off the weekend on Friday with tickets to Cirque du Soleil's Dralion show. (You can read The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's review here.) We saw the Cirque du Soleil OVO show this past December, which was held in a great big tent outside Atlantic Station. This show was held at Philips Arena. Although I didn't enjoy the venue and the story as much as I did with OVO, Dralion was still a wonderful show. I remember feeling my jaw drop several times. The tricks were just amazing... from bodies contorting into head-turning positions to eye-popping acrobatics, I loved every minute.

We followed the show with dinner at 5 Napkin Burger, which just opened up a new location about a mile from our home. I had the Ahi Tuna Burger, which was so yummy. It was a huge sandwich with onion rings and wasabi mayo, and the flavors had me floored. Chapin tried the Italian Turkey Burger, which he enjoyed as well. I don't eat beef, so Chapin is also so courteous and tries not to eat it in front of me, even though I know he wanted to during this particular dinner out!

We have probably tried every gourmet burger joint in the city: Yeah Burger, Grind House Killer Burgers, Flip Burger Boutique and now 5 Napkin. I actually think the tuna burger at 5 Napkin might be my favorite... and the sweet potato fries were definitely worth all the calories!

Saturday we spent the day with my family in Alpharetta to celebrate my paternal grandmother's 90th birthday. Here is a picture of my sisters and I posing with my Grandma Marie.

Laura, Gail, Grandma and Michele (me!) 

We ordered Chinese food and had a chocolate birthday cake for dessert. My Grandma is a major chocoholic... which I guess is where I got my sweet tooth! My sisters and I also treated ourselves to pedicures. Chapin was disappointed he didn't get to come along.

It's a very exciting time for our family, because my little sister, Laura, is expecting her first child with her husband of two years, Matt. She will be the first in our family to have a baby, and she's also the youngest, which I guess puts some added pressure on me and Gail. I'm still not sure if I want a baby or not. I guess I will see how things go with Laura.

Sunday, Chapin and I slept in, and I got a workout in and a little time at the pool before I had to start getting ready for a charity event we were attending that evening. The Give Me Five Charity Dinner, to benefit Share Our Strength: No Kid Hungry. It's a great cause, as there are so many children in our own country who go hungry each night. We bid on a bottle of wine in the silent auction -- and won! That was really exciting, as was meeting local radio veejay Jenn Hobby, who hosted the event. After one glass of wine, I marched myself right up to her and told her how much I liked her show (The Bert Show on Atlanta's Q100 radio station). She was wearing Louboutins, so I was quite jealous! I also met her husband -- she is newly married (hubby #2) -- who was very handsome. I wish them all the best. They seemed very happy together.

So that was my weekend. I love getting the opportunity to share my life with you, even if it doesn't always have to do with fashion.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Author, Author

I know this blog is dedicated to fashion, but I had to mention how excited I was to recently receive a note from Australian author Liane Moriarty. I wrote her immediately after I stayed up until 1 a.m. to finish her latest novel, What Alice Forgot. I had to express to her how much I enjoy her books and how they are truly an escape for me. Unlike so many other books I read, it's hard for me to put down a Liane Moriary novel.

And the best party? She actually wrote back! Here is what she had to say:

Dear Michele,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me. I can’t tell you how motivational it is to wake up in the morning and see an email with a subject heading like the one you gave yours! [Note from Michele: The subject line was "I love your books!"]

And it’s always especially thrilling for me to hear from readers outside of Australia.

(By the way, I have a son with the same name as your pug - actually, Chapin is a fabulous name for a character, I might save that one up.)

Have a lovely day, and thank you for making mine.

With very best wishes,
Liane Moriarty 

I am hopeful that I will see a character named Chapin in one of her books in the future! What a great way to start the weekend.

Corporate Fashionista

I may be an "everyday fashionista," but since most of my days involve going to the office and managing my team, I'm also a "corporate fashionista." There is actually a blogger out there right now with that great URL, so I have to give her a shout-out. Sometimes I don't seem to know exactly what is appropriate and what is not for the office, so I'm always learning and trying to gain fashion advice from my fellow fashion-crazies out there. (Another corporate fashion blog I like is called "Corporette". She is very consistent in her blogging and often has more than one update per day. I wish I had the time for that!)

Usually, if I know I don't have to interface with any clients on a particular day, I try to dress more casually. However, that has backfired on me, and I occasionally have to go home and change if I get pulled into a meeting that requires me to be more dressed up. Even though we have casual Fridays in our office, I usually just dress normally, because I never know where the day could take me.

I had a particularly important meeting this week, and decided to break out this fabulous Rebecca Taylor Bustier Combo Dress for the occasion. It makes me feel very confident, which was my goal when I chose my outfit for the meeting. But I had second thoughts once I saw the dress in pictures. Is it too tight to look professional? Should I have gone a size up? I'd love to hear what you think!

Rebecca Taylor Bustier Combo Dress and L.A.M.B. Sandals
Rebecca Taylor typically runs small, so if you ever decide to order something from this designer, definitely go a size up. I am normally a size four, and here I am wearing a size six. You can see the dress is hugging me pretty closely, though. Maybe I should have checked my ego at the door and opted for the size eight.

I also decided to pair the dress with my Coach Kristin Leather Zip Tote and a pair of my more fashion forward sandals: L.A.M.B. Quiana Platform Sandals. I think these sandals make a more funky statement than wearing just ordinary pumps. One of the female executives we met with actually mentioned how much she liked them on our way of the meeting. I guess that's a good sign. :)

Happy Birthday, Gail

This past weekend, my family and I celebrated Gail's 30th birthday. Gail is my middle sister, the "blond one," and is a third grade teacher in Nashville, Tennessee. Here are the three sisters dressed up in our fancy "going out to dinner" outfits:

Laura, Michele & Gail: Sisters!

I am wearing a fabulous gold dress from one of my favorite designers, Shoshanna. The Shoshanna Gold Metallic Jacquard V-Neck Twist Waist Dress looks great on -- especially if you have a bit of a tan. Shoshanna's designs always deliver when it comes to comfortable, chic clothing that highlight your best assets while hiding (or masking) your worst (in my case: hips and thighs). I also have some great gold eye shadow -- Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Glimmer Eye Shadow in True Gold -- that I don't get to wear too often, so I was happy to be able to use it on this occasion.

I couldn't find the exact dress online, but here is strapless version of the gold Shoshanna dress available now at

Sisters in Despicable Me
Before Laura (on the far left, above) started highlighting her hair, her hair color was as dark as mine, if not darker. Every time I see the three sisters in the movie, Despicable Me, I am reminded of my sisters! I love this movie and have seen in at least 20 times now.

Originally a family of five, we are now a family of nine, since all of us are married, and my mom's dad, my Grandpa, now lives with my parents. It's quite a gathering when we are all together. Unfortunately, Chapin was out of town working in Dunedin, Florida, for this particular celebration.

Gail's husband, Rich, tried to plan a surprise party for Gail's milestone birthday, but it didn't work out, so we surprised her with dinner out (Sugo Restaurant) and a cake instead. She loves the beach and seashells in particular, so I ordered her a cake in the shape of a beautiful seashell. The cake inside was chocolate, and the decoration on the seashell is cinnamon, so the overall flavor was so delectable.

Seashell Cake from Rhodes Bakery

I ordered the cake from Rhodes Bakery in Atlanta, and they always do a great job. I also ordered Chapin's 30th birthday cake here, and you can check it out in the picture below. It was all chocolate -- his favorite!

I love birthdays and my family, so it was such a fun weekend. We also gave Gail her birthday present: a Michele watch. Now all three sisters have a watch from my namesake brand.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Smell This

In addition to dresses, I have a bit of an obsession with perfume. I guess you could say I collect different scents. I know many women choose one perfume to become their "signature scent" -- my late grandmother's favorite was Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds, so the smell will always remind me of her -- but I'm the opposite. I like variety.

I am currently reading a great book by Australian writer Liane Moriarty. (I love her books. They are such fun reads, and I really enjoy her relaxed writing style.) The book in question is called What Alice Forgot, and it focuses on a woman (Alice) who bumps her head and can't recall the last ten years of her life. (She still thinks it's 1998, so in a way it's almost like she time-traveled to the future!) Certain scents bring some glimpses of her memory back, though, and I have always loved how a simple smell can slam me back to very specific times and places.

I think I have a bit too much variety when it comes to my collection of perfumes, though. Here are the scents currently clogging up the top of my dresser:
    Some of the scents remind me of certain times in my life.

    I bought the Kenzo sample collection at the airport in Budapest. I was flying home from my European trip (with my MBA class) and killing time in one of the gift shops. I saw the little collection of Kenzo scents and got so excited. I have never seen anything like it here, so I'm so glad I bought it. My mother-in-law, Sheila, bought me the Kenzo Flower Perfume during one of the first Christmas holidays I spent with her family. Even now, when I smell it, I think of being so young and in love. It's also a wonderful, flowery scent.

    Christmas 2000 (Birmingham)
    I bought Marc Jacobs Lola during our vacation last year in St. Thomas, so I always think of it now when I smell this scent. I think it's also one of Chapin's favorites, though he tends not to comment too much on perfume.

    St. Thomas (2010)

    My current favorite is also the newest scent to my collection: Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh. I got it during a Nordstrom perfume promotional event, so they actually engraved my name on the bottle. I can't tell you how I excited I was over this little detail. I am such a dork!

      Thursday, August 4, 2011

      60s Chic

      I love seeing retro styles from the 1950s and 1960s coming back into style. Many of the dresses worn during those decades featured silhouettes to show off more curvy shapes, plus feminine styles and colors that I love to wear today.

      Here is an example of a sheath dress from one of my favorite designers, Shoshanna, that really makes use of a retro pattern. I love the swirls of green and blue set off with black button accents at the waist. The sheath style is also so classic I don't see it ever becoming unfashionable, and it's a great piece for work that feels comfortable on for long hours at a time.

      I especially love this partcular dress for summertime because it is made of a very lightweight fabric. It has been so hot here in Atlanta the last week or so that even at 10 p.m. I still sweat when I venture outside for too long. I'm definitely looking forward to Fall. It amazes me that some kids in Georgia are already back in school. I can't imagine having recess when it's 98 degrees outside.

      Tuesday, August 2, 2011

      Tomato Feast!

      Chapin and I had a quiet weekend together, hanging out at our pool, going to a movie (Crazy, Stupid, Love), eating dinner out and so on. I guess we're pretty dorky in that, even though we've been together so long and live in a small loft with not a lot of space, we still like to spend time with just each other (and George, too, of course).

      One of our new favorite things is going out for dinner on Sunday nights. Even though we have to work the next day, the crowds at the restaurants are more subdued... and it is easier to get a last minute reservation. Chapin and I are definitely not planners.

      Dress by French Connection, Shoes by Betsey Johnson

      Sunday night, we decided to go to one of our favorite Italian restaurants, La Tavola in Virginia-Highlands, because it is doing its annual Tomato Feast menu. The tomato, long at the heart of the is-it-a-vegetable-or-is-it-a-fruit debate, is one of my favorite foods. I guess maybe it's because I'm Italian, and grew up eating a variety of different meals featuring the tomato or its counterpart, tomato sauce.

      What I like about the Tomato Feast menu is that it features the tomato in unique ways that are very new to this traditional girl's palette. For example, my meal included:
      • Appetizer: Watermelon and Brandywine Tomatoes served with arugula, 2-year-aged Parmigiano Reggiano and 12-year-old balsamic vinegar
      • Entree: Squid Ink Trenette Pasta mixed with preserved lemons, buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil 
      Although my sister, Gail, warned me against squid ink -- she tried it on her recent trip to Italy, and said it was not only very salty, but turned your teeth black -- I asked our server about the dish. Since the squid ink was actually baked into the pasta and not served on top, I thought I might have a different experience -- and I was right. The food was wonderful, and Chapin said he was jealous because he liked my entree more than his choice: the Roasted Cobia (fish), served with farro-tomato-arugula salad and smoked tomato vinaigrette.

      I also loved my appetizer. Watermelon and tomatoes... It's not something that you would think goes well together, but it so does!

      The restaurant sold out of its special dessert, the Basil Panna Cotta with tomato caramel sauce and crispy tomato skins, so we had to settle for good 'ole Tiramisu. (Since I love Tiramisu, I wasn't that torn up about it.)

      Another reason I love going out to nice restaurants is because I get to dress up. I decided to wear a new dress I just bought from the French Connection brand. I got it on sale at, but you can still find it online at and other stores. French Connection is an international brand that is also very affordable. French Connection dresses have been seen on fashionistas like Pippa Middleton, Taylor Swift, Rachel Bilson and many other celebrities.

      Actress Rachel Bilson in another red dress from French Connection
      As this dress features a very low v-neck and ruffled sleeves, it is definitely not something I can wear to work. I strangely thought of Jillian Michaels when I saw the dress. She is always recommending that you work your shoulders and back to create a v-taper. The illusion is supposed to make your waist look smaller. In this case, I love how you can manipulate fashion to show off your body's best features. The ruching on the dress also helps hide flaws around the hips, stomach and legs.

      Although Chapin wanted to me to wear my Black Halo halter dress, since the French Connection dress is new and I have never worn it before, I was more excited to put it on. I also thought it was appropriate that I was wearing a red dress out to a tomato-centric meal. Am I a goofball or what?