Why Did You Wear That: Patent Pending

By |October 24th, 2016|Personal Style, Why Did You Wear That?|

gempicket-patent-leather-pantsNever did I ever think I’d see the day I’d be sliding myself into a pair of patent leather pants, let alone the matching patent leather bralette.  But the moment I did, I felt like a whole new woman.  Gone was the mild mannered, happy little wallflower, and here emerged someone looking to stir up a little controversy.

Gempicket‘s Audrey Sleepless Bra and Pants somehow make wearing manmade material seem elegant and even sophisticated.  Sure, these pieces have the potential to take a totally wrong turn and should be handled with caution– much like a semi automatic weapon.  The contrast of delicate lace against patent leather and the high neckline countering the near nudity create a perfect paradox.

On my way to the shoot location, I wore a pair of Adidas Stan Smith sneakers to avoid injury and eliminate extra time spent teetering along the cobblestones of the far West Village and realized how cool these pants would also look in a very laid back setting- dare I say Saturday brunch with a vintage t-shirt and denim jacket?  Upside?  Spilled mimosas wipe right off.

Patent leather is having a moment this season, which is ironic as my first tantrum was thrown over the very same material and the only shoes Smitty ever chewed were also patent leather.  Fits of rage and oral fixations aside, find a way to incorporate it into your closet whether full pants, mini skirt, or even a Julia Roberts boot.


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Photos by Michael Stiegler

WhyDid Wisdom: Overshare and Tell

By |October 15th, 2016|WhyDid Wisdom|


“Ugh, Kirsten, shut the f*ck up!” I mutter to myself for the four hundred billionth time in my life.  Yet again, I have surprised myself with something that has passed between my lips- an internal musing that was never meant for public consumption has now taken its place right at center stage of conversation.   There are times I wish I could capture my own surprise, which no doubt, mirrors that of my listeners.  It’s really a wonder I didn’t go into PR as I have spent countless hours cleaning up my own messes.  Even BP would be impressed with my ability to casually diffuse an incredibly awkward situation.  Extra details from bad dates, physical ailments none would ever admit to, feelings most prefer to keep at bay.  When it comes to personal plight, my ability to keep quiet is reminiscent of the beating heart in Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart.   If backpedaling was a sport, I’d qualify for the Olympics.  But alas, I live by the mantra, “Mean what you say.  Say what you mean,” and for better or worse, one must own his words.

Like most people’s best qualities, my openness, and frankness, is also one of my worst.  I have no problem putting it out there– from my outfits to my emotions– and while some find that refreshing, others find it revolting.  To know me well is to know that nothing I say (for the most part) is out of malice.  I love hard and feel deeply.   Unfortunately, I keep a fairly close circle, so my average audience is likely to be experiencing this word vomit for the first time.  Hi, it’s nice to meet you, I snore when I sleep.

In many cultures, people share meals in order to relate to one another.  Other cultures wash and braid each other’s hair.  For me, telling stories, and sharing my own woes is the way in which I bond with others.  I see it as a way to say, “See, I have those scars too.” “I’m afraid of the same things.”  “Look how bad I messed up.”  “We’re all human, welcome to the sh*t show that we call life.”  And indirectly, it is probably a way for me to look to others and ask if what I’ve been through is “okay” too.

Throughout history from the Bible to Greek mythology all the way back to ancient hieroglyphics (the original emojis), storytelling has been an important way for history to be remembered, lessons to be taught, and used as a portal for people to connect to their roots.  And while it is a truly beautiful thing to be able to share pieces of yourself with others when they may need it, Hemingway said it best, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed,” there is such a thing as oversharing.  You can also be too rich and too thin.

In school, we are taught from an early age that sharing is the right thing to do.  Tommy can have all of our blocks if he’d like them.  Don’t be so selfish.  But when does sharing your stories out of genuine generosity and encouragement of enlightenment become uncomfortable oversharing and an introduction to indecision?

The problem with oversharing is two fold- beyond the obvious potential of offending the general population.  First, people begin to feel comfortable weighing in on your problems, solicited or not.  I’ve found myself frustrated, foiled, and sometimes even angry when I’m telling a story and others begin to pipe in with what I should do or where I made my biggest blunder.  I’m very self aware and already know the catastrophic state of my mistakes, but when you’ve made a habit of inviting everyone in to watch things unfold on the main stage, and unless your name is Kanye you can’t kick them out mid performance.  Take a bow, my, friend,  this is a little something people like to call “boundaries” and while we don’t want to build a wall in Mexico, we do need personal boundaries.

Next, you forget how to make your own decisions and/or you get lazy.  When you stop sharing out of acquired wisdom and instead share in order to gain acceptance, you begin to lose track of yourself and rely too heavily on others’ opinions.  This, again, opens you up to a public forum for your problems and while most are weighing in with hopes to help, more likely than not, despite the best of intentions, they’re bringing their own experiences into the mix and this can be a catalyst for confusion.  I’ve said it before, no one knows what the f*ck he is doing and one would hope we’re all doing the best we can.  No one is an actual expert on anything– except math.  You might be an expert in arithmetic. Much like a muscle can atrophy, when your intuition isn’t used, it becomes weak and all of a sudden you can’t distinguish your gut feelings from your inclination to react from past experiences, yours or otherwise.  It’s like a ship lost at sea with no land in sight.  You can no longer make your own judgement calls without weighing in first.

But stories are important and they will always be a noble way for humans to relate to one another.  There are times when I’ve been caught by a passage in a book I’m reading and finally feel understood.  Articles written by people who have conquered some of my same quandries have given me hope.  And let’s not forget that music is one of the greatest ways to tell a story.  There’s a reason there are so many songs about heartbreak and we all know I love a good cry in the shower (or at least now you do).  It is important to be open to others and to find ways wherein we can relate to everyone from the Queen of England to the man who hosed down the sidewalk this morning.  The key comes in finding the balance and distinguishing what you are sharing and your reasons for sharing it.  It is a matter of telling your story without asking for approval.  Jesus certainly wasn’t asking his disciples whether or not he should confront the Pharisees.  Sure, every day is a new chapter and you have the option to rewrite your ending in any way you choose, but masterpieces are printed in ink, not etched in pencil.  Your story is your own and you can share it whenever and with whomever you choose. Just remember, there will always be critics, ask the New York Times, and know that not everything is always a best seller.

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something– a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things– which you had thought special and particular to you.  Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead.  And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”

Alan Bennett



Why Did You Wear That: Under the Boardwalk

By |September 3rd, 2016|Personal Style, Why Did You Wear That?|

coney island boardwalk shop tobi

Ah, where were we?  Oh, that’s right.  Dissecting summer’s sweat stains and cynicism,  When I realized that I might be a little overdressed for housing hot dogs and giving the Tilt O Whirl a spin, I swapped my bodycon two piece for something a lot softer and a bit breezier: TOBI’s Desert Dreaming Dress Set.  There are days when it’s so steamy you can’t stand the thought of anything touching you, not even Ryan Gosling with a puppy and plate of freshly baked gluten free chocolate chip cookies.  Rather than give up on life by throwing on an oversized dashiki, find something in a natural (aka not synthetic) fabric that’s got some room to breathe and bonus points for clever ventilation design details.

Now, I realize the title of this entry may be a bit misleading.  I did do a serious stroll down the boardwalk by the sea taking in all the scents and the scenery, but I did not find myself at any point in a place where I might be able to sneak off with some handsome surfer for canoodling beneath the pier (and not just because there were no handsome surfers anywhere to be found).  Turns out, this boardwalk is exactly that– a walkway made from, you guessed it, boards.  On one side, you’ve got candy apple carts, frozen beverages and burgers, and every carnival ride your mother wouldn’t allow you to embark upon for fear of a fate worse than Fabio’s.  On the other side, there is a very impressive stretch of sand, way wider than many of the shorelines that have slowly eroded over the years.


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Desert Dreaming Dress Set, c/o TOBI


Photography by Michael Stiegler

Setting the Mood: Labor Pains

By |September 1st, 2016|Beauty & Trends, Setting the Mood|


While Labor Day is not actually the official end of summer (I repeat, LABOR DAY IS NOT THE OFFICIAL END OF SUMMER), it sure can feel like it.  I prefer a glass half full approach to this holiday weekend- meaning, buck up, we’ve still got another three weeks of summer (fall begins on September 22nd- also known as Smitty and my father’s birthday).  However, if you are a bit more pessimistic and it’s about to be check out time at your summer share house, I understand your desire to go out with a bang.

It was a weird summer, let’s be serious.  The weather was the equivalent of most of my decision making- it didn’t know what it wanted to do.  Fortunately, we only got blasted with one intolerable heatwave and for the most part there was plenty of sun.  While the majority of my friends posted pictures from Ibiza to Istanbul, I sat on the sidelines watching enviously as I scoured the internet looking for a new home in the borough of Brooklyn.  That endeavor turned out to be about as successful as transporting a snow cone through the Sahara.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the half full or half empty camp, Labor Day is now upon us and we must prepare.  Sunglasses, swimsuits, and sunscreen, ahoy.

Real People, Real Style: Someone’s in the Kitchen with Breanne Butler

By |August 25th, 2016|Guest Blogger, Real People Real Style|

breanne-butler-bybreanneNot sure how we went from someone in the kitchen with Dinah to making pies with our trap queens, but there’s never been a shortage of songs about cooking.  There has, however, been a shortage of friendships with creative culinary skills in my life.  You should consider yourself lucky if you can count your friends on one hand, even luckier if one of those friends happens to be an already distinguished pastry chef by the ripe ol’ age of 26!

I met Breanne at a party at Flat 128 in the village.  I’m not exactly sure how I got invited to said party or what the party was actually for, but there I was, standard socially awkward Kirsten.  Browsing the vintage jewelry and wondering how long was long enough to stay before creepily slipping out the door and slipping out of my stilettos and onto my couch.  Fortunately, this sweet little thing came right up and started chatting with me before offering me a cupcake from the collection on the table that had been so carefully arranged by color to create the British flag.  Ironic to describe this ray of sunshine (so very clearly new to New York) as sweet since within a few moments she disclosed that she was the resident pastry chef at Facebook.  I know, Facebook has a pastry chef.  Of course they do– and your job sucks even more with that newfound knowledge.  She also explained that she had made those cupcakes and had also been bought out for an incredible dairy free gluten free icebox cake, which I still have yet to convince her to make for me…

In the years since I’ve known Breanne, I’ve watched her acclimate to the city– feeling like a proud big sister– create her own brand, ByBreanne, score unbelievable vintage finds, host perfect dinner parties, and design cakes and cookies for fashion brands from Alice + Olivia to Victoria’s Secret.  One might say she’s taken a bite out of the Big Apple, but I kinda think the Big Apple has taken a bite outta Breanne.


Name: Breanne Butler

Wearing: top- H&M, pants: Zara, shoes: Bruno Magli

Occupation: Pastry Chef/Culinary Instructor/ CEO of ByBreanne

Hometown/Current Town: Detroit to UES!

1. I would describe my style as:  Vintage with a little bit of class, and a touch of edge

2.  I can’t leave the house without: My headphones.  Music keeps my energy up!

3. Based on wardrobe alone, if I could live in any time period, it would be: The 60s. I love a high waisted pant, but also love a good skirt suit with kitten heels.

4. Best/biggest splurge (worth every penny): My Louboutins.  I told myself when I was 16 that I would buy a pair as soon as I landed my first salary position! They instantly pull together any outfit!!!

5. Best advice I’ve ever received:  “Travel is the only thing money will buy that will make you richer.”

6. Biggest pet peeve:  Excessive arm swingers.  Like, seriously? You don’t need to use your arms to propel yourself to walk!

7. What I would tell my 13 year old self: Don’t dye your hair black when you’re 18!!!!!

8. Weirdest beauty trick that I swear by: I threw out my razors and use an epilator. Lasts just as long as a wax and saves me sooo much money! My old razor money is now my wine money!

9. Don’t care if it ever goes out of style, I’m going to keep wearing: Socks with heels. Been rocking them since 1999.

10.Something I wish people knew about me: I used to teach violin lessons to elementary school kids!

11. Favorite place in the world: Barcelona, hands down. It’s all my favorite things: Great food, great wine, amazing art and architecture (Gaudi!) and hot, Spanish men!

12. Something you’ve always dreamed of doing: Whale watching in each of the oceans. 2 down, 3 to go!

13. Greatest fear/phobia (that you’ll concur, of course): I absolutely *hate* the sound of silverware clinking together! That and clowns.

Fun fact: I have two titanium rods in my right knee! Sometimes I go off in metal detectors.

breanne-butler-must-haves1. Scissors. I cut a lot of stuff, I guess, 2.  A good, rubber spatula (Trudeau!). Seriously invaluable in the kitchen., 3. Coconut oil. I use it as body lotion and face lotion, right out of the shower. It also makes a great hair mask!, 4. Q-tips. I have to clean my ears twice a day! I also mess up my eyeliner a lot., 5. Passport–because I want to be able to travel at a moments notice!