Saturday, August 27, 2016

Small Town Seersucker Saturday

About 15 minutes east of the little slice of real estate I call home is a town so quaint it actually has a cafe, the Mayberry Cafe, where you can watch classic Andy Griffith reruns while eating a slice of Aunt Bea's apple pie.
And on Saturdays in the Summer, in the town square across from the Mayberry Cafe, there is a Farmer's Market with all manner of fresh produce from Hoosier fields and gardens. Heirloom tomatoes are my favorite local fare (preferably sliced and sprinkled with a dash of salt and a splash of balsamic vinegar, though I've been known to eat them like an apple, too).
Of course, leave it to me to visit a farmer's market for fruit and come away instead with a new dress and accessories to match... Okay, this cotton seersucker dress didn't actually come from the market, but it did come from a consignment store on the town square. I'd never have discovered Jane's On the Square if I hadn't been looking for fresh tomatoes and watermelon at the farm stands across the street! Between the $8 dress; the $2 grosgrain yellow shoe clips (which actually did come from one of the market vendors); and the gorgeous yellow tomatoes I gathered, it was a sunshiny small town Saturday, indeed!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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I'm linked up with Hat Attack!

Saturday, August 20, 2016


While I appreciate the versatile, universally flattering (not to mention slimming), and timeless style of the Little Black Dress, lately it's been the Little White Dress that's captured my attention. In fact, I have very few LBDs, but in the past few years I seem to have started a mini collection of LWDs. In my opinion, the right LWD is just as timeless as the LBD, though a shade more seasonal and somewhat trickier to wear when you're spill-prone like me.
Luckily, a slate of annual "white parties" has given me plenty of opportunity to wear these colorless closet gems. Tonight will be my third "fete en blanc" of the Summer, but they're not redundant and you'll never hear me complain. Different venues; different groups of friends; different menus; different decor; and yes, often (though not always) different dresses, make each one fresh and fun.
Tonight's "White Night" is sponsored by Yelp. It's become an annual tradition. Limited to 1000 guests (which sounds like a big number, but there's a wait list every year), the event is usually held downtown on Monument Circle. Revelers bring their own table decor and picnics featuring homemade and local fare; and savvy local vendors are on site to offer samples of tasty temptations, as well. It's one big, elegant picnic. These photos are from last year's White Night (I didn't blog about it at the time, so I thought I'd share now as I gear up for tonight's soiree sans color with some of my most colorful friends!) 
One of my favorite elements of the Yelp event, in particular, is the opportunity to create a pretty table. I love, love, love to set the scene for a meal with friends. From plates and flatware to flowers and favors, tending to the little details brings me joy. Last year's galvanized tin and whitewashed wood tablescape was festive for fine dining al fresco. Of course, you know I had to come up with something altogether different for tonight's installment, but that's still under wraps!
Getting creative with table settings is like an art project for me, and it's easy to get excited about it when you have foodie friends that always bring their "A" game cooking skills to the table. Last year's feast featured sriracha deviled eggs; a Chinese salad that may be the best salad I have ever eaten; baked brie; individual dessert trifles with fresh fruit and creme; and a host of other mouth watering nibbles.  
I know what the table will look like and I know what I'm wearing tonight, but I still don't know what new and different palette pleasing recipes I'll be treated to. I have no doubt, however, that they will be delicious (and, Dedee, please, please, please bring that salad again!) 
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Down Under Dressing

"Riviera" print dress (Retrospec'd); Hat (Charming Charlie)

I love Indianapolis. I really do. But it's not my favorite city in the world. That honor belongs to a magnificent metropolis on the other side of the planet.
Striped ribbon necklace (Burlington Coat Factory); Monogram necklace (Ross Simons)
Though four Olympic Games have passed since I was last there, a piece of my heart will always reside in Sydney. I was only there for a three month internship with the Australian Federal Government, but I've never felt so at home.
The coastal inspired dress was perfect for the Indianapolis Opera's annual "Lobsterpalooza" fundraiser. Just as Sydney is my favorite city on the planet; lobster is my favorite food on the planet. I was polishing off my second one of night here! I'm not even sorry.
By hook or by crook, there's no doubt I'll go back one day. And when I do, local Sydney boutique Retrospec'd will definitely be on my list of must-visit places. The shop's 40s and 50s inspired line of Australian made, unique sundresses in custom fabrics are the stuff of Red's Shoe Diary dreams. 
The striped kitten heels were a bargain find from Zulilly. I added the crystal and enamel lobster shoe clips. for an extra dash (or claw) of personality.
This surplice-top cotton frock in the boutique's exclusive "Riviera" print has been a go-to piece for me this Summer, and was the perfect "coastal" look for the Indianapolis Opera's annual lobster boil last month. It was also fitting to wear the "Down Under" dress to an opera event since Sydney's iconic opera house was also my first (and still best) opera experience (and also on my must do again list next time I'm in the Southern Hemisphere)!
Striped handbag (Steinmart); Cardigan (ModCloth)
 Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Blue Suede Shoes

Teal Suede T-straps (Ralph Lauren, Zappos)
If you see me out and about in these bright teal t-straps, don't be surprised if you catch me singing to myself or even dancing my own little, uncoordinated, hip-swiveling jig. After all, who doesn't love the King...and well, when wearing blue suede shoes...
Striped dress (eShakti); Cardigan (ModCloth); Safety Pin Clutch (Bodhi Bags)
Last week at the airport, however, I wasn't so much worried about someone stepping on my blue suede shoes as I was about getting hot coffee off of them after the woman behind me in line to board spilled her Starbucks down my back. Thankfully, only a few drops soiled my soles. I can't say the same for this striped dress. I was in the last boarding group without time or even a napkin to attempt a spot clean, so after sitting on the coffee-soaked skirt for an hour, I'm pretty sure it's going to take more than oxi-clean to salvage. Se la vie. All things considered, I'd rather be the spiller than the spillee, because I'd have been mortified if it had been the other way around. Don't walk and text, people!
This mixed media painting on glass by Indianapolis artist Laura LaForge is one of my favorites. I commissioned it after I won my first jury trial, and it's also featured on Red's Shoe Diaries business cards. It's followed me throughout my professional career and now resides happily in my home office.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Sunday, August 7, 2016

A World Without Evil

Though it looks like a school photo backdrop, the lush garden behind me is the real deal, and served as an idyllic setting for a midsummer garden party.
In late August and September, my social media feed is always filled with the back to school pictures of my friends' children, and I genuinely enjoy seeing how they've changed from one school year to the next. This year I'm looking forward to them more than usual in hopes they'll offer a temporary respite from an unending barrage of political rhetoric, which isn't always respectful and all too often downright ugly.  
I couldn't resist topping this floral faille dress from ModCloth with a whimsical cocktail hat featuring a Swiss-dot birdcage veil that echoed the embroidered tulle trim along the dress's hem.
All those back to smiling faces also remind me of my own school days, and how much simpler life was before I had to get good at "adulting." I wouldn't want to do childhood over again, but I certainly miss Summer breaks; back to school shopping; and regular sleepovers with girlfriends. Of course, being a kid is not all sunshine and butterflies. Kids can be mean, and sometimes their behavior toward peers who don't look or think like they do is just as ugly as the many Facebook feeds I've had to hide in this election cycle.
An ombre rhinestone necklace from local boutique Ginger 'n Spice.
Life is never without evils, whether we're 7, 27, or 77. But, imagine a world without terrorism; without bullying; without crime? Can you even...? American artist Alexander Calder could. In fact, he spent a lifetime creating "a world in which there is no evil” through his art (among his many creations was the mobile - the kind that hangs over a baby's crib, not the kind we all have glued to our ears). And now, my friends Tom Alvarez and Dustin Klein are bringing Calder's peaceful, whimsical world to life in a new musical that will debut this month at the Indy Fringe Festival. As described on the show's website, "Calder: The Musical" explores the power of ideas and imagination"; as well as "Calder's deep conviction that—in a world filled with discord, violence and war—art has the power to inspire peace." 
In a lush garden filled with wildflowers, friends, and fine food, it was easy to imagine Calder's world.
I was fortunate to get a preview of the family-friendly debut production from lyricist Tom and composer Dustin at a garden party last month, where I wore this fun floral faille dress from ModCloth paired with my own nod to whimsy through a small cocktail hat with a Swiss-dot birdcage veil that echoed the embroidered polka dots on the dress's tulle trim. For that perfect, sunlit afternoon amongst friends, fine food and flowers,the stellar cast transported us, however briefly, into Calder's "world without evil." I can't wait to escape to that world once more when I take in the full production during the Indy Fringe Festival later this month. You can find out more about the production here, and get your own tickets here. I'd love to see you there!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
I'm linked up with Hat Attack!