Make Accessories Matter



My feet in these fringed stacked-heeled peep-toe boots by SODA.

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Usually when I go to the Outer Banks for vacation, I come home with one special item that I purchase at one of the boutique stores in Duck. This year, I came home with a fabulous pair of peep-toe stacked heeled boots with fringe. As soon as I saw them, I knew it they were going to be taking the 7-hour ride home with me. Like many of you, I tend to love shopping for shoes and accessories as opposed to clothes for one main reason: my shoe size rarely changes. I typically wear a size 6 or 6.5 shoe (which is why I tend to score at stores like DSW and its sales rack. Last year, I got a pair of grey, over-the-knee boots for $12 bucks on that rack…probably my most impressive purchase to date!)

Accessories are so much fun to incorporate into your wardrobe because of their versatility. You can style them with different outfits to add versatility and longevity and make an outfit go from ho-hum to unique and interesting with little effort. Pieces like scarves, hats, bags, jewelry, and belts have the ability to change the look of an outfit with ease. When shopping for accessories, keep these few things in mind:

  • Buy accessories that will work with many of your existing outfits.
  • Buy accessories in various tones and colors that can mix and match with a basic wardrobe.
  • Buy accessories that may be in style for more than one season.
  • Buy accessories that add drama or flair to your wardrobe, especially if you are like me and have a wardrobe that’s filled with black and white.
  • Buy accessories that can act as statement pieces.

I am sure you will find lots of different accessories that can help punch up your wardrobe. Accessories are meant to be fun—and you should enjoy having fun with them.

What’s your favorite accessory you own?

For now, my favorite piece? The boots.


Boots, SODA. Hat, Anthropologie. Necklace, Stella & Dot.

Deep, Sandy Thoughts


There’s nothing that a little summer vacation can’t cure. Being able to sit in your beach chair and listen to the rhythm of the surf puts you back in touch with the simple things in life that sometimes get pushed aside.

Taking strolls on the beach with your husband or playing Kadima or building a sandcastle reminds you of what’s truly important in your life.

I am blessed to spend time with these people, and their support means the world to me. Plus, they take a damn good photo.


Baseball Girl, A Novel

Francesca Milli’s father passes away when she’s a freshman in college and nineteen years old; she is devastated and copes with his death by securing a job working for the Bay City Blackbirds, a big-league team, as she attempts to carry on their traditions and mutual love for the game of baseball. The residual effect of loving and losing her dad has made her cautious, until two men enter her life: a ballplayer and a sports writer. With the support of her mother and two friends, she begins to work through her grief. A dedicated employee, she successfully navigates her career, and becomes a director in the team’s organization. However, Francesca realizes that she can’t partition herself off from the world, and in time, understands that sometimes love does involve taking a risk.

Preserving Postcards From Travel and Life

These postcards were collected over time and bound into a book. What a great idea! For more, visit

These postcards were collected over time and bound into a book. What a great idea! For more, visit

Postcards are a cheap, easy way to stay in touch that do not involve you being electronically connected (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). But text messages are not something we keep in a scrapbook, hang on the wall, or display in the house. When we travel, sure, we take lots of photographs, but it’s not just the photos that we should remember: it’s the sentiment and stories behind them. A good tip when traveling, especially if you are not one to buy and write in a travel journal, is to buy postcards that represent your travel destinations or special moments in your life. That’s the first step. The second step is to write something about that day or place as a keepsake. Some people recommend writing the postcard and actually mailing it yourself; others offer the suggestion of just using it as a diary of your travels. Either way, you are collecting memories you can keep.

Now…what to do with those memories once you collect them? I scoured online resources and am offering photos of a few of my favorite suggestions.

Vintage postcards are such a great way to capture time. In today’s world where letter writing is a dying art form (much to my dismay), these postcard suggestions offer a sort of happy medium—you don’t have to write too much on them as there is limited space, but you write just enough to capture a memory.

I love the idea of saving postcards as keepsakes. What do you think about this idea, and what have you done to document your own travel journeys?

Collected photos that are displayed in a frame. For more, visit

Collected photos that are displayed in a frame. For more, visit

Frame your postcards. In this case, buy to display the message, and one to display the image. For more, visit

Frame your postcards. In this case, buy two…one to display the message, and one to display the image. For more, visit

Display an old bundle of postcards or letters artistically. For more, visit

Display an old bundle of postcards or letters artistically. For more, visit

I don't know what I'd do if someone made this cake for me. It's absolutely stunning. Old postcards cake. For more, visit Angela Penta Cakes at www-facebook-compagesangela-penta-cakes536210989849901.jpg

I don’t know what I’d do if someone made this cake for me. It’s absolutely stunning. Old postcards cake. For more, visit Angela Penta Cakes at www-facebook-compagesangela-penta-cakes536210989849901.jpg


Have fun, no matter what. Write your memories on postcards or paper; take photos…write funny captions. It’s all about making and keeping memories, some of which you can pass along for generations to come.

8 Gift Ideas for Housewarmings and Summer Parties


You have been invited over for a summer barbecue, party, or housewarming, and you want to bring a gift, but you are having trouble deciding on that special thing. In a case like this, it’s a good idea to think a little outside the box; while a bottle of wine or Grey Goose may be nice, you may want to offer your host and/or hostess a keepsake to enjoy, or perhaps even offer something that is fun or appropriate to the occasion. I know personally that when I receive a gift from someone, every time I use that particular item when I entertain, I fondly remember who gave it to me. There’s usually some sort of sentimental notion behind it.


Instead of that bottle of wine or dessert, here are 8 ideas for you to consider as gifts for your host or hostess. However, the truth is, no matter what you bring, they will be thankful for your kindness and thoughtfulness and appreciative that you took the time to attend their event.

[1]  Taste of Italy Basket | Wine Country Gifts |



[2]  Pewter Crab Mallet | Silver & Pewter Gifts | http://www.silver&

$ 12.50 each


[3]  Bocce Ball Set | Pier 1 Imports |


[4] Floral Italian Wine Glasses Gift Box | Smart Furniture |


[5] Franklin Advanced Badminton Set | Midland Hardware |



[6} Fourth of July Cookie Gift Collection| Eleni’s New York |


PersonalizedWoodBeerTastingSet with mini

[7] Personalized Wood Beer Tasting Set with mini Pilsners | A Gift Personalized |


Homemade Goodies - Sweets & Treats

[8] Homemade Goodies – Sweets & Treats |

How To Build A Summer Wardrobe That Works

SpringandSummerCapsuleWardrobe* * *

One of the things people used to hire me for when I was a fashion stylist (along the lines of Stacy London), was to visit their closets, see what they had that worked, and recommend new wardrobe possibilities for them. Depending upon whether they stayed at home with children or worked for a living, I had to craft a shopping plan and then help them buy clothes that suited their body types. One woman in particular who recently had twins, was heading back to the work force, but not with the same body she had when she left. She could not fit into any of her old professional clothing, and so with $500 in her wallet, we set out to buy her an entirely new wardrobe. With coupons and imagination, we got her a starter work wardrobe that offered many mix and match possibilities, and I’ll never forget the big hug she gave me at the end of the shopping adventure.

While I may not be working as a fashion consultant any longer, I can still offer some sound advice—or if you prefer to put it in sports talk jargon, a game plan—for building a wardrobe. One of the problems people face is starting anew…how to begin and where to take the wardrobe from that point forward. There are certain staples you will need in your closet, and so this checklist is that starting point. If you already have a pretty decent wardrobe, you can use this checklist to indicate and check-off what you already own that is in good shape, and then make a list of things you might need. Remember: the overall goal of this game plan is to allow you versatility in your wardrobe, meaning that all pieces can mix and match. You will hear this called a wardrobe capsule, and if you search for them on Pinterest, many, many collections will pop up.

Good luck in your shopping endeavor. I’ve provided your checklist below, and the above photo is a sample of what you are aiming for to maximize your wardrobe. Feel free to ask any questions of me here, and I’ll be happy to answer them.


Incorporating Whites Into Your Wardrobe

Reese Witherspoon from US Magazine

Reese Witherspoon from US Magazine

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White looks fabulous with a tan. It helps your skin glow and feels carefree and airy during the hot, humid days of summer. Adding white pieces to your wardrobe lightens things up a bit, and if you don’t have a lot of white clothing, you may want to consider getting a few pieces. One tip I learned as stylist and I’ll pass along to you is to always wear nude undergarments instead of white under your white clothing for a more natural look.

I’ve collected some of my favorite celebrities (and some models, too) who wear clothing well to illustrate the perfect use of white clothing. These ladies typically wear clothing that suits their body type—and you will not see them wear a lot of trendy clothing, but rather more up-to-date classics.

Knowing what works best on your body type is the key to putting together effective ensembles. Take some pointers from these classy gals.


JulianneHough—white blouse, white cropped pants, pointed heels. (great hair).

Sarah Jessica Parker in Louis Vuitton from 2002

Sarah Jessica Parker in Louis Vuitton from 2002

Model in Nanette Lepore Sheath from

Model in Nanette Lepore Sheath from

Summer Lace Dress from

Summer Lace Dress from

Jennifer Aniston wears sheer blouse on Ellen

Jennifer Aniston wears sheer blouse in Ellen

Courtney Cox in white blouse and white pants (with Jennifer Aniston)

Courtney Cox in white blouse and white pants (with Jennifer Aniston)

White skirt with musical notes from

White skirt with musical notes from

Publicity portrait of Belgian-born American actress Audrey Hepburn (1929 - 1993) as she wears a wide-brimmed hat and white blouse during the filming of the film 'Funny Face' directed by Stanley Donen, 1957. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Courtesy of Getty Images)

Publicity portrait of Belgian-born American actress Audrey Hepburn (1929 – 1993) as she wears a wide-brimmed hat and white blouse during the filming of the film ‘Funny Face’ directed by Stanley Donen, 1957. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Courtesy of Getty Images)

Olivia Palermo Wedding

Olivia Palermo Wedding

White top, white distressed jeans, sandals via

White top, white distressed jeans, sandals via

Adding Passionate Pops of Pink to Your Decor

The back porch of my own home; a pop of pink in the carnations among tuquoise and greys.

The back porch of my own home; a pop of pink in the carnations.

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According to Empower Yourself with Color Psychology, the color pink “represents compassion, nurturing, and love” and, apparently, the deeper the pink, the more “passion and energy it exhibits.” Many people consider the color pink a very feminine color, but this perception was not true back in the 1920s. According to an article in The Atlantic, men wore suits of pink, even with floral embroidery, and the color had working-class connotations.

Adding some pink into your decor warms things up; it makes your space feel welcoming and compassionate.

In my own home, which consists of lots of blues and greys, adding pink here and there can liven up your space and help set off the rest of the room. I’ve found that pink accents helps showcase everything around that little pop of color.

Here are some images I’ve found online that illustrate just how this vibrant color can add character to your home, including a photo of my own porch (above), where I allowed the rich, magenta color of the carnations to take center stage.

You Don’t Have To Be A Kid To Ride Your Bike

bike* * *

“Every girl needs a turquoise beachcomber,” I said to my husband two nights ago when I convinced him that the turquoise bike featured above is a must-have for my health and well-being.

“But you already have a bike,” he said.

It’s true. I do. But not one that looks as cute and feminine and beachy as this one.

You don’t have to be a kid to ride your bike. In the summertime, I like to ride my bike to the pool or around the neighborhood or on the three-mile path of Kinder Farm Park that is two blocks from our house. I don’t need a fancy bike, just one that feels pretty to ride. I’m a girly-girl, and I like pretty things like crystal chandeliers, lots of red and pink accents, and anything that comes in a Tiffany-blue box. Who doesn’t?

Do you, like me, look at a bike as a symbol of freedom? It means you are not commuting in a car; it means the wind can blow in your hair; it means you probably are not rushing off to do a chore, task, or anything work-related. A bike equals leisurely fun. Your bike is begging you to “slow down and enjoy the ride.”


When I was younger, I hopped on my bicycle and went everywhere—to my friends’ houses, to the boat dock in our neighborhood, or to the beach, where I would lie on my towel in my bathing suit and catch some rays by the river. It allows us a way to get somewhere in a carefree manner.

My husband didn’t put up a fight about adding another bike to our garage; he’s so great like that. My daughter can ride the bike I currently have as she has outgrown hers. Plus, she loves the Nantucket straw basket we put on the front of it last year. Indeed…a basket can make the bike.

If you haven’t ridden your bike lately, I suggest you do. Remember what it feels like to leisurely pedal along, glide along, and pump those pedals. Just ride for the pleasure of it and look around.

Afterwards, let me know what you saw and how you felt.


A Wrinkle in Time: Fighting Those Dastardly Lines on Your Face

Face&MemoriesI guess you could say I’m somewhat blessed. I come from a long line of Italians and inherited medium olive skin that tends to be oily. The nature of my skin alone helps keep the wrinkles away…a little.

Most of us have to take good care of our skin—myself included, especially as I approach the magic “50”—and if you ask my friends with whom I went away for a weekend and did the “spa thing,” I’m slightly obsessed with keeping my skin as youthful as possible. Mother Nature doesn’t always allow this to happen naturally, so we’ve got to use some products to help us along the way.

Of course, the biggest no-no if you want to keep your skin glowing is to stay out of the sun as much as possible, and if you must bask in it, be sure to wear SPF…the higher the number the better. Also, a hat with a nice brim is also going to be your best friend.

Keeping your skin hydrated is imperative; you must use moisturizer all the time. I’m also the person who wears foundation with SPF in it every day, just in case I take in a little sunshine. You can also put a moisturizer under your foundation with SPF in it as well.

At bedtime, wear the night creams—any that you like will do. I vary mine; right now I’m using Aveda’s hydrating cream. Boots makes some great products as well, and you can find those at more inexpensive prices at Target.Products

Drinking a lot of water also helps—I’m guilty here. I don’t drink as much as I should, but am revving it up this summer. Join me in the fight for healthier skin! Studies have also shown that eating fish oils—particularly salmon—is great for your skin.

B&WFaceAdditionally, natural remedies can help your skin. I’ve provided a link here which will offer you information on olive oil, coconut oil, castor oils, cucumbers, oranges, pineapple, and many other natural remedies that can help keep your skin youthful (click here).

Lastly, according to my esthetician, there are studies being done on heat and aging. When I told her I refuse to go the way of Botox, she agreed, and said, “Put a hot washcloth on your face three times a week for 10-15 minutes. The heat does wonders for wrinkles.”

Playing With Cottage Garden Style


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One of the things I like to do in my down time—the little bit that I have—is spend time tending to our new cottage-styled garden.

The key to creating cottage style is to mix colors, allowing your flowers to bloom at different times. Additionally, varying plant heights helps give it that effortless look. As you can see from our home, I’ve always loved the casual feel of cottage style, both inside and outside the home. Being able to invite family and friends over and have them feel they can put their feet up on any piece of furniture makes them comfortable, and gives you as the homeowner peace of mind.

The only enemy we have in the garden is nut grass, so I spend time plucking it out and am about to spray for it in the beds. And although cottage style gardens don’t call for nut grass, they do call for a bit of untidiness and randomness. But the weeds and nut grass must get out!

Incorporating other elements such as decorative stones and river rock can help liven it up as well.

Gardens tend to reflect a bit of what is inside the home as well. If the garden feels warm and welcoming on the outside, the same should hold true when you open the front door.

All of these photos are from our front garden, and I just took the shots minutes ago. It’s a work in progress, but our landscaper who helped create the designs got exactly what I told him, and happened to have dabbled in cottage style gardens when he got his degree.DSC_0987DSC_0981DSC_0977DSC_0979DSC_0984DSC_0988gardencottage

I’d Like To Buy Ben Franklin A Drink

BenFranklinBook CoverWhen I was a little girl, my mother bought me a book. It had a brown cover with yellow writing, and I read it over and over again, fascinated by the life of the man on which the book was based. He had grey hair, round spectacles, and a jolly look on his face. He didn’t wear a red and white suit and bring presents to kids; instead, this man was brilliant, flew a kite with a key, helped create our democracy, was a writer and a printer, and said memorable, quotable things.

His name was Ben Franklin, and he’s one of my favorite historical figures.

Several years ago, my husband bought me another book. This one is small, with a sketch of Ben Franklin on the cover wearing more rectangular spectacles, but still looking rather jolly. Knowing my love for quotes, my husband’s gift was a thoughtful one. The book is filled with Franklin’s quotes—so many of them, you’ll have a tough time keeping up.Ben Franklin Wit&Wisdom

How can one man have so much talent in his bones? A thinker, philosopher, dreamer, inventor, printer, innovator, statesman, newspaper man, and writer. He paved the way for the first subscription library. He made sure streets were lighted and clean.

I have nothing but respect for this gentleman. You know when you play the game with your friends—the one where you ask the following: “If you could spend the day with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?” My historical figure would be Ben. I’d like to buy him a drink. You see, he would be very happy if I bought him a beer (see below).

BenFranklinBeer quote

At this point in the blog post, I need not go on any longer about my affinity for the genius of this man. Instead, I’d like to just post a sampling of my favorite quotes that Ben Franklin said so you can see for yourself just how witty and wise he actually was, and how his thoughts and ideals still hold true today.

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In marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.

If you would keep your secret from an enemy, tell it not to a friend.

Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices.

The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.

When you speak to a man, look on his eyes; when he speaks to thee, look on his mouth.

Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.

Fish and visitors stink after three days.Ben Franklin pay. jpg

Well done is better than well said.

No better relations than a prudent and faithful friend.

Silence is not always a sign of wisdom, but babbling is ever a folly.

Work as if you were to live 100 years; pray as if you were to die tomorrow.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain — and most fools do.

The wise and brave dares own that he was wrong.

Trust thyself, and another shall not betray thee.