Personal Comfort Counts

I moved to Los Angeles to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I was determined to make the most of my education and my first order of business was to get an internship for fashion week. I chose my favorite brands and went to the showrooms representing the brands to inquire about employment. I was very fortunate to land an internship with my favorite denim brand. As an added bonus, a hot new pant designer was also showing there for fashion week. My job was to bring coffee, water, snacks, etc to the buyers while modeling the jeans. I worked with another intern who was a very tiny, hip skater girl from Long Beach. The day that the Nordstrom buyers were coming through was the day it all went to sh*t for me. The new pant designer felt too much attention was being given to the denim line and instructed me to put on his pants. He threw his trendiest pair in a sample size at me. I was a FULL size bigger. I really did not have a choice. I squeezed myself into pinstripe, flesh colored cargo pants with back pockets that are best described as pig nose pockets. It was a travesty. I had to walk around pretending to be peppy and hip while saying things like, “Aren’t these just amazing?” “Yes, I am so comfortable. I HAVE to have these.” All the while, skater girl looks unbelievably cute in my favorite jeans. I was certain my career was over. Nordstrom and every other buyer coming through would remember me as the girl who clearly has ZERO fashion sense. Why would anyone hire me? I might as well quit school before it starts and move home.

I did not quit school and I learned something from the experience. I swore I would never make anyone feel as ugly as I felt that day, and to my knowledge I have not. I have legitimately fit hundreds of regular women for fashion shows and I altered whatever made them feel ugly so that they would shine in front of other people. It was possibly the best lesson I learned while in school. This lesson applies to my personal life too. My tiny one hates clothes. Hates ‘em. I have drawers of darling, expensive outfits and all he’s interested in is how soft are his underpants. Oh, and shoes. He really likes shoes. We have a deal that I let him run naked whenever he wants at home and he does not fight me getting dressed when we leave home. It works for us. He has the rest of his life to wear clothes. We live in Southern California. You really do not need clothes. His current shoe obsession is with glow in the dark Native shoes. Being a stellar parent, I forgot to pack shoes for him and my mom bought him his beloved shoes in lime green. (no boring colors for this beautiful boy) We discovered by accident that they also glow! Native shoes come in a million colors, are very water friendly and slip on and off. No laces or Velcro to slow a wild child down. My favorite style is the Jefferson. At $32-42, they aren’t the cheapest shoes, but they are rugged and stylish. They are hands down the perfect summer shoe for boys or girls. My naked boy now chases fireflies at night with his glowing shoes. I should probably just get him a loincloth to go with it—if he was comfortable with it.


My preferred brick and mortar or online Native resources: Nordstrom,,,


Facial Hair and Lasting Impressions

Kabuki Bronzing Brush $17

A fact of life is that there are some things that just follow you that you cannot get rid of. I will be discussing this in a superficial light, not in a serious, non-joking way of something like herpes simplex II. If you were to ask someone who knew me in high school what instantly came to mind when they thought of me, there would be 3 possibilities, I would guess. I rank these how I hope they would fall. #1: She sang well. #2: She had huge boobs. #3: She was a goody two shoes. (damnit) It is what it is. There was a very nice girl I knew growing up who very unfortunately had to go to the bathroom in a solid way at a party, and she will be forever known as the girl who pooped at a party. These are not things that people label to be mean (at least as adults), but it is a brain searing image of who you are and it just does not go away, unless you have breast reduction surgery. That opens up a new avenue of labeling. I am rambling about this because one of those things that people remember is facial hair. I am wary of people thinking of me as Katie hairy face, or that girl with the creepy hair sticking out of her cheek. Make up brushes can make you that girl if you are not careful. Most make up brushes come in colors that are not natural to downy, blonde, normal facial hair so it really stands out. I know that if I notice someone with a random facial hair, the next time I see them I involuntarily check to see if it is still there. Think about it. I bet you do too.

I have used the Body Shop Kabuki Bronzer brush for years because it does not shed, ever. I bought it on impulse as a treat to myself while stuck in the Denver airport, and it is my most favorite make up tool. I have used it for finishing powder, blush, bronzer, or as a general blender between all of the above. The hairs are very soft, it fits nicely in my hand, and it is not outrageously priced at $23 (currently on sale online for $17). I have had my brush for years. I know you are supposed to replace them, but it still seems to do the job for me and it still has not marked me with unwanted facial hairs.

The Perfect Skinny Jean and Words You Should Never Say

There are a couple of words/phrases that should simply never be uttered aloud. Keep this in mind as a preface.

I have worked in fashion/retail in some capacity for almost 15 years. I have experience with personal shopping, selling, event planning, hiring, training, management, and visual merchandising. I have taught students about the importance of creating a proper retail environment. I love it. I love working with a woman and watching her transformation from self doubt to self confidence. My greatest professional moment was working with cancer survivors for a fashion show and watching them strut the runway feeling sexy and womanly. This is good.

One time in my career, I was working with a very poised and proper lady and I needed to go grab some different pieces for her. I asked a colleague to check in on her for me. As I was returning to my customer, I overheard my colleague say, “Yes, those pants look great. They don’t give you camel toe or anything!” Camel.Toe. This is the most foul phrase. Why she chose not having camel toe as a selling point is beyond me. I gagged. I panicked. Would this customer put me in the same category as this other person I foolishly sent to her? Would she think I coached her on the proper usage of the phrase camel toe? Please make it stop. I later told this story over family dinner and it went in an entirely new direction when my dad did not know what that phrase meant, and my brother googled images of the phrase for him. Note, you can never unsee certain things….

I reference this story because I had to put my word loathing aside when I found the perfect pair of skinny jeans. They are by “Rich and Skinny”. I find “rich” an offensive and tacky word. The only time you should utter it is in regards to food or the saturation of a color. I have actually avoided this brand due to their name. Now that my ivf prep and baby weight is gone, I found myself in a delightful situation of needing smaller pants. My finances are not quite as delightful, so I headed to Nordstrom Rack. I found the Rich and Skinny Schoolboy Cuff jean marked to $59.97 from an original retail of $154. They are perfect because of the stretchy fabrication, but not so stretchy that they cling unnecessarily, mid rise, the dark wash, and the slightly loose calf. If you are a curvy girl, you do not want a skinny jean that says “legging” or “ultra skinny” unless you plan to wear them tucked into a boot. When a skinny jean is a little straighter, it is much more flattering, especially when paired with a dark wash. When I put these jeans on the first time, my husband asked me when I got so skinny. THAT is a phrase I can never hear too much!

rich and skinny 2 rich and skinny

Dancing “Cheek” to “Cheek” at Trina Turk

I found myself packed into a sweaty tent with roughly 100 other women, all scouring the racks for a designer bargain.  My pulse was racing, my eyes were narrow and evil looking, and I guarded my 4 inches of personal space fiercely.  Why would I spend a free Saturday morning in a humid tent in 90 degree weather?  For a Trina Turk sample sale, to be exact.  I had heard of this mystical happening, but had never experienced it.  I was driving home and spotted several well dressed women teetering down a shady, commercial street and thought “This must be it!!”  It was.  I had found it!  It happens 1-2 times per year and I finally stumbled upon it!!

I loaded my arms with unsized merchandise and entered the communal dressing room to find potential treasure.  What I really found was that I was lined butt cheek to butt cheek with other desperate women.  It’s slightly unnerving to ask a woman who has her cell phone holstered to her underpants if she would mind moving over so you can peek in the mirror she is hogging.  If you have not participated in a sale of this ilk, here are my tips:

  • For goodness sakes, wear some decent underpants.  Because I am unbelievably nosy, I stared at everyone’s underpants and was very underwhelmed.  There was nary a sexy pair to be found.  Many were in shades I could not confidently attach to a specific color.  If I could have taken a picture without looking like a total creep, I would have so I could have shown my husband.  It would have totally blown his idea that women just “hang out” in sexy underpants.  (To any men reading, no one was close to starting a pillow fight in the tent either.)
  • If you are brave, a thong works best, but know that you will find yourself with your hiney to the wall as much as possible.  A thong eliminates any visible lines and will give you the most accurate assessment of the garment, which you will need due to speeding through the trying on process.  If you do not wear a thong, definitely wear seamless underpants.
  • Be kind to yourself.  The woman next to me was tiny and was bemoaning her tummy.  While it wasn’t a 6 pack, she was darling and I would never have noticed if she had not pointed it out.
  • If there are sizes on the clothing, know that they will not be accurate.  There are salesman samples and then there are fit samples.  Salesman samples are not accurately fit.  The size is not 100% true to the designer’s vision.  The garment is initially created for sales people to show to potential buyers.  Fit samples are going to be much more representative of the designer’s vision, but you will never know which is which.
  • Sample sizes usually run between a size 0 to a size 8.  A lot of sales will also have end of season garments that will be in all sizes, so even if you aren’t a sample size, you should always look.

I left with 2 beautiful blouses that I paid $30 each.  Her blouses at full retail are in the $200 range.  Score.  Stay tuned for why every woman needs blouses in her closet!

How To Make Bathing More Exciting

You should know that I had been catching up on Dexter just prior to this conversation, and the drama had affected my mood ….

Patrick: How much exactly does soap that comes in its own plastic box cost?
Katie: It was an impulse purchase that I blame on Amazon Prime. Let’s never speak of it again!

The soap had cost $20, which is ridiculous for 1 bar of average sized soap, but it is delicious and I love having it. I think about it multiple times per day and inhale its aroma every time I enter my bathroom. I have decided I will only use it on special occasions to make it last longer, as I cannot continue to purchase soap this expensive when I stay home with the tiny one. That special occasion might be I-slept-not-at-all-Wednesday, but the occasions are my own to decide. Patrick is not allowed to use it either. I rarely ask that of products, but I want this puppy to last!
What is this fantabulous product you ask? Hermes. Hermes. Hermes. Hermes Eau d’Orange Verte, to be exact. It comes in a green box and smells like an adult orange. Many fragrances claim to be unisex, which I generally believe to be a cop out for a wussy male fragrance, but this is subtle enough to smell amazing on my husband (before the ban was in place) and is a very sophisticated female scent, with a side of playful citrus.
I found this scent while scavaging in my parents’ house for hair conditioner. They had evidently stayed at some swanky hotel that used Hermes products. (I grilled my mother hard and she cannot remember which hotel). I swiped the shower gel and looked forward to lathering up each day. It took the edge off being a paranoid human in a completely see through glass shower. (There is no escape if someone walks in) When I went to order my own, Amazon only had the little travel sized bottles, so I went for the soap. They are equally wonderful. If you ever buy me presents (Patrick, Mom, unknown future friend), I will take anything in this incredible scent, and lots of it. It is the most perfect summer scent I have smelled.
P.S. The plastic green box is enjoyed daily by the tiny one while taking his nightly bath.


hermes soap

The Dress That Launched 1000 Ships

There are two things my husband regularly requests of me:

  1. Please wear something short and tight.
  2. Please consider dyeing my hair so black that it has purple undertones.

In reference to the latter, I keep trying to explain that a pasty white girl cannot pull that one off without looking deathly ill.  He is not buying it.  As far as short and tight goes, it just isn’t comfortable, but I am working on it.  Enter Diane Von Furstenberg.  Every woman should have a go to brand that you know will work in a crunch.  My crunch is that the tiny one and I flew to Omaha much earlier than anticipated and I am completely unprepared for the big, upcoming reunion.  I have ordered several dresses to try, and one of them is a DVF because I know it will fit.  It is my ‘sure thing’, my bff of the closet.  Diane Von Furstenberg is known for her sexy and feminine wrap dresses, and her impeccable taste in prints.  She is the queen of femininity, in my book, and my heart beats a little faster when I see new collections.  She manages to bridge the worlds of super trend and timelessness.  I have little loyalty to most things in my closet, but I horde my pieces by her.

My dress arrived today, and true to form, it is an incredible fit.   I looked in the mirror and grinned.  It manages to be proper and racy in one dress.  Like a mullet, it’s business up front and a party in the back.  It hugs curves like a race car and is just as exciting.  My mind is relieved.  I know I’ve got a dress that makes me feel comfortable, but is as tight as second skin for my husband.  Life is about compromises.  In this situation, this compromise is definitely a win-win.

Here is the dress.  It’s offered in 2 colors.  Nordstrom has the purple on sale.  Saks has both colors at full price, but really fast shipping!

dvf purple dvf


Gifts For Father’s Day

My husband and I attended high school together.  He is a year older.  When we tell people we met in high school, they assume we were high school sweethearts.  We were not, except for one, very brief, month.  We reconnected when I was in a travelling children’s show that performed in Chicago, where he was living and working.  We hit the town and I made him dance with me in a bar where no one else was dancing.  He was both fascinated and appalled by what he calls my “show boating”.  The bar, Matildas, is famous for its variety of martinis and I sort of believed I was both invincible and invisible after 2 of them.  When I hit 3, I invited him to watch the show.  I played a variety of characters from a witch, to an elephant, to a chef.  My main costume was: a white turtleneck, white culottes, white tights, white tennis shoes, and a white apron.  (You can see why I waited until the 3rd martini, no?) In one scene, I danced around making a pretend salad.  In another, I pretended to be a mouse and ran around the stage making mouse noises.  Patrick declined, and to this day, he regrets not going and witnessing that spectacle.  This was our beginning.

Patrick and I are both kind of dramatic.  He one time told me that he could either be a good husband or a good father, but not both.  I have no idea how he came up with this statement, or how he rationalized it, but there it was.  He also told me that he would like to be the type of man who pulls off a regular hat.  I only include this to give you an idea of how our conversations go and his mind set.  I am not mocking, by the way.  I love this.  It fits us.  Patrick has now been my husband for 8 years and a father for 9 months.  He, like all other tasks he puts his mind to, has exceeded all expectations in both categories.  We are not without disagreements and arguments, but he is mine and I would not trade him, even for Tim Riggins.  While the list could go on for pages, these moments jump out at me regarding his character as a father and husband.

  • For my birthday this year, a part of my present was him coming home from work early (meaning going in freakishly early) so I had time to run or do something on my own.
  • He has always supported every endeavor of mine, encouraged and brainstormed many, and caught me when I began to fall.
  • He went to almost every single prenatal visit and fully participated in child birthing classes.
  • He never once left our side in the hospital except to go home and take care of our puppies.
  • He takes shifts in the middle of the night, and actually wants to.
  • He reads in character voices to Teddy for his favorite book, “Brown Bear”.
  • He regularly tells me that I have the body to pull off short shorts.  (I did not say he was sane.)
  • He is the most optimistic human I have ever met when it comes to life’s potential.

There is not a gift I could give that would be equal to my appreciation to this man, but here are a few gifts important men in my life have said make it a little sweeter.  Here is a little list if you need some help for the upcoming celebration of fatherhood.

Sporting Category:

Under Armour Golf Shirts: these beat out the competition because of their loose fit and cool breathe technology.

under armour

Nike Golf Shoes: The tennis shoe style breathes better.

nike golf shoe

Mizuno: This workout shoe is ideal for flat and wider feet.

Jawbone Up: “UP is a wristband and app that tracks how you sleep, move and eat—then helps you use that information to feel your best.” –from  Great new tool for techies and cross fitters.

jawbone up


Hugo Boss Ties: the quality is superior.  They have a firm enough texture to stay tied nicely throughout the day.  Also, not appropriate for Father’s Day weather, but he makes the most incredible velvet blazer I have ever seen.  Neiman’s has them on sale.

Donald Pliner Dress Shoes: I love my brother David’s sense of style and he will now only wear this dress shoe since discovering it.

donald pliner

Ted Baker Socks: You have to love a bit of cheeky British whimsy for these.

ted baker socks

Cowboy boots: There is not a manlier, or sexier shoe out there.  Plus, for any men who see themselves taller, there is a little lift in them.  No worries, they will not look like Prince. upgrades your free shipping to overnight.

dan post


Tumi Wallets: Tumi is a luxury brand with a modern look.  Their products last forever and their wallets are very reasonably priced.  After Patrick washed (and ruined) the Gucci wallet I gave him, I bought him this.  It has been washed and still is kicking 8 years later.


Meoimi Wine: I am not a wine connoisseur by any means, but my brother is.  He recommends this for a nice, well priced red.

Gold Bond Lotion: It just works for man hands.

I Am A Bag Lady

Right out of college, I nannied for a fabulous little boy who had an equally fabulous mama.  She was, and still is, who I think of when I think of stylish women.  One day she told me about a Fendi sample/end of season sale and told me I needed to go.  This is the type of employer I enjoy having.  Priorities are priorities.  Walking into the sale for me was the grown up version of being invited to the North Pole.  I didn’t know where to look or walk to first.  There was an entire room full of Fendis that I could afford.  I have had few dreams that rivaled the excitement of that day.  I bought a $1000 bag for $150.  I0 years later, it is still my go to bag for every formal occasion.  It is the best deal I have ever found.


I am a bag girl.  I like bags for all occasions and purposes.  I like having a pile of things that I need for the day and thinking about how to best contain them.  Buying a diaper bag took months as I mentally played different scenarios in my mind.  Pockets, zippers, pouches….it is so exciting to mentally fill these.  Having a baby now, I carry big bags, but one of my most favorite bags I own is a tiny bag that holds my necessities, but keeps my arms and hands free to tell stories as I am incapable of talking without my hands.

purple bag

My Marc by Marc Jacobs cross body bag is perfect for carrying just the necessities, but it still has the bells and whistles that make it interesting to me.  It has 2 outer pockets with brass hardware, and an inner slip pocket for a little extra safe keeping.  It comfortably holds a small wallet, cell phone, pen, gum, and lip gloss.  I can wear it cross body or cinch it up to make it more of a clutch for the evening.  I adore it.  Sadly, they have discontinued it, but while the purple color and hardware drew me to it, the size of it was what made it so wonderful.  The tiny cross body bag is a staple bag to have in your bag arsenal.  I consider it a piece of jewelry that completes your outfit.  Basic black is obviously the safe choice, but since they are so little, a pop of color is much more interesting.  Here are current favorites.  All can be found at Bloomingdales.  Enjoy.

yellow marcMarc by Marc Jacobs




Tory Burch


Vince Camuto

minkoff blue

Rebecca Minkoff


Rebecca Minkoff

Laura Mercier’s Amazing, Fantastic, Christmas-like Promotion You Cannot Miss

I love a good deal when shopping. My heart beats a little faster, I panic a little that I will somehow lose it, and I love sharing the story. I like to give great details and my husband would prefer I shorten the story to “what”, “how much”, and “will it benefit me?” I usually low ball the cost to lessen a possible blow. When we first started dating, he got nervous around my parents and outed me. I believe his words were, “You know she lies about how much things cost, don’t you?” Later I clarified, #1 he is to be on my team at all times, and #2 I do not lie about the cost; I simply round down. If something cost $84, I’m going to say $80. Call it retail math—and do not correct me. I know it should be $85, but it’s my story.
Laura Mercier has an AMAZING promotion going on for ONE DAY ONLY. (I have already been and it makes my heart beat faster just typing this. What is wrong with me?) You must run to it! With any Laura Mercier purchase, they are giving you a gift of a full size tinted moisturizer compact, in your shade. This is not a cheesy gift where you get to choose between 2 off colors they are testing out.  This is a pull it from their stock, in your color, and you take it home. I. AM. NOT. KIDDING. I quizzed my Nordstrom stylist hard about it. It is a $45 gift that you receive with even a single item purchase.

If you do not know about Laura Mercier, their philosophy is flawless skin and their foundation line is something you should try. It is lovely. They come close to making me believe my skin resembles my early 20’s skin. I felt fresh and dewy, which I have not felt in a while, but perhaps that is a topic for another day. For your item to purchase, may I suggest their tightline cake eye liner. You use a wet brush and paint on your eye liner. It lasts all day and the liner itself will last you years.


My friend shared with me that her very favorite cosmetic is Laura Mercier’s shimmer block. It can be used as eye shadow or as an illuminator for your face. Imagine yourself with a JLo glow.

Laura_Mercier_Shimmer_Block_Pink_MosaicNow, I cannot speak for all of the other retailers, but Nordstrom said all of their stores are participating in this unadvertised cosmetic adventure.  Here are the small print details you can use to help build your strategy for a possible hostile take over at the cosmetic counter.  I will be sitting with my dewy face at the park, with my beloved teeny, enjoying my glow.

Receive a complimentary Tinted Moisturizer Creme Compact with any Laura Mercier purchase.

Expires May 17, 2013 at 11:59 pm. Limit one per customer, available at
participating Laura Mercier cosmetic counters with complimentary shade match
for one-day only. Offer exclusive to U.S. residents aged 18 or older.
Participating retailers include: Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue,
Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, Blue Mercury, Belk, Cos Bar, Bergdorf
Goodman, Henri Bendel, Von Maur, Holt Renfrew and select boutiques nationwide.
MSRP: $45.

When the Day Fails You, You Can Still Smell Good

This was my day yesterday. I woke up feeling thin. I put on my favorite pink skinny cords with a plunging white tee and my Parisian scarf. I felt good. The tiny one and I headed to an open play class at his gym and, luck of all luck, his daddy met us there!teddy balls

I made a friend at class and told her I had never been happier in life. I swear I could hear music backing up my perfect day. We got into the car and the tiny one started softly crying. I sang “Who Built the Ark” over and over as it tends to keep him calm. (The storm clouds were forming.) We arrived home and the crying turns to wailing. We entered the house and it smelled funky—time to change the diaper pail? I walked into our tons-of-time-and-money spent nursery to see a room that had been s**t bombed. (I apologize for the language, but it really is the only apt description.) Everywhere.


 My long pile rug and my mother’s quilt were covered in canine diarrhea, AND my child was sounding like an abused child at this point. I stood in the room and screamed.
Needless to say, I was brought back down to earth and the music stopped playing in my head. I had a half glass of wine at 2:00 in the afternoon after dragging the quilt and rug outside to clean. At the end of the day, feeling putrid, I sprayed on my perfume to try and feel like the woman who started the day off perfect. Burberry London never fails me. I get excited every time I approach the bottle to spray. I bought it the first time on accident. I went to buy the Burberry scent my friend introduced me to, and bought the wrong one. It was a fantastic mistake.

burberry london

Burberry London is not an easy going scent. It is not a hipster or new scent. It is a rich, primal, and feminine scent. Like a day that encompasses a variety of engagements, it covers all scent arenas. There are layers of florals, citrus, and musk in the scent. If it were a color, it would be a deep plum. It is not a scent that you wear to work, or give to a young girl as her first scent. It is the scent a young girl watches her mother spray while getting ready for an evening out, or a scent an exhausted mother sprays at the end of the day to recapture a little magic.