Thursday, April 19, 2018

Snowy owl
Snowy owl - if you know the photographer, please let me know!

Well, it will be exciting when we get it all sorted out...

My brilliant consultants at RockFort Media are moving The Vivienne Files off of Google Blogger, and onto Wordpress.

I know, that means virtually nothing to most of you - I'm not really quite sure what's going to happen either. But I do know that The Vivienne Files will be prettier, and a little bit easier to search through, and that moving away from Google makes me look like a real grown-up blogger in the eyes of the big sponsors and advertisers.

So things will be nicer for you, and a better business for me. After I make it up the learning curve, it's going to be wonderful. (I keep telling myself that...)

For the next few days, there won't be any new blog posts, at all. Don't worry, don't freak out, don't think that I've retired, or died, or been abducted by aliens - I just have to leave the consultants alone with a website that's not constantly changing!

Cross your fingers, and send me lots of good vibes - I'm VERY nervous...

lots of love,

p.s. What's the owl got to do with anything? Just a pretty picture, although I could see a wardrobe in black, white and grey with lots of shades of purple accents, and some gold jewelry...

I'm back from Limerick, and my friend has his gold medal in hand! That, in and of itself, makes the trip an unqualified success, because it's the perfect, desired outcome...

But as is my way, I was thinking of you all, and trying to observe things that I thought would be useful or interesting for you. Of course I was!

Limerick Ireland view of the castle
image of King John's Castle from

The above photo notwithstanding, Limerick's not the most scenic city in Ireland, but it could easily be the friendliest, or the most fun... I can highly recommend:

  • Squire McGuire's pub, where I had about the very best pub night humanly possible - singing, dancing, drinking, hugging total strangers...
Squire McQuire Pub Limerick Ireland
"It's bigger on the inside..."

  • The Locke Bar, where I had what might be the very best hamburger I've ever devoured in my entire 57 years of life...
  • Kyoto Sushi and Noodle, which we visited twice - protein loading at it's most delicious!
  • La Cucina - right around the corner from our AirBnB - where I dropped in frequently for coffee, and where I had delectable spaghetti bolognese one lunch. You will not meet nicer staff anywhere, and if you're patient you might get to eat near some Munster rugby players! (sort of a dream come true for me...)
  • The Limerick City Hotel. These people were amazing... We weren't staying there, but when we needed ice at a ridiculously late hour, the bar staff gave us a bucket of ice, just plain trusting that we would bring the bucket back the next day. When we needed a cab to the airport, we walked here and had them call one - it didn't seem to even VAGUELY amaze them that a couple of people would walk in off the street and ask them a favor. Kindness of striking sincerity...
  • Leonidas Chocolates. Yes, this isn't even slightly Irish, but when I was looking for chocolate-covered raisins for my friend (some pre-contest prep ritual for him...), the woman working there gave me a LIST of places that might have them. Not her shop, mind you - she didn't carry them. But she spend quite a bit of time thinking of places for us to check. WHO DOES THIS? 
  • Hook and Ladder Cafe. I had time on my own while my friend was in the gym, and thus I ate some of my meals alone. Well, never TRULY alone - there's always a bit of chat, and quite a lot of true friendliness... Couple that with some excellent falafel and a piece of lemon curd tart that's the stuff of dreams, and it's a memorable lunch...
I'm sure there are lots of places that I'm forgetting (some brain cells were sacrificed to propitiate the body-building gods...) but overall I highly recommend Limerick as a stop in a tour of Ireland. There's an historic island with an amazing castle and very atmospheric cathedral, so you can pretend to be doing "real" tourist things...

I've also thought of a few things recently about traveling - in general - that I want to share...

  • If you're leaving from the International Terminal at O'Hare Airport, allow more time than you ever imagined to get through airport security. Recently, we've experienced delays of a half hour just going through the stupid X-ray procedure! It's nothing for a line to stop, and STAY STOPPED, with no explanation, for ages... If your schedule is pressing, it's very stressful.
  • Please please please, try to avoid changing money at the airport - it's absurdly expensive! I saw exchange rates that were literally 30% higher than bank rates... I understand that sometimes there's no alternative, but try to find a way to avoid enriching strangers...
  • It's worth investigating bus service from airports into cities. (same for trains, if they're available) I've taken the bus from the Dublin Airport into the city, and from the Shannon airport into Limerick, in just the last few weeks. It costs literally only about 20% of what a cab would cost. Sometimes a cab is the right choice, but this again is a chance to save substantial money with very little effort.
  • If you need snacks on a flight, buy them before you get to the airport. I paid a shocking amount for some tasty empty calories recently! I don't begrudge the purchase, but in the future I'd be smarter.
  • Generally, it's wise to think through the physical movements that you're going to make at the beginning (and end) of your trip, and try to find the best options available for anything that requires payment. If you're packing light, your can save some hard-earned money that can be squandered on delicious meals while at your destination!
My next trip is Paris - 1 month from today! (yes, it's a lot of travel, but this is another attempt to make the trip that got cancelled in December, and again in February - it's overdue!)

Travel - All Kinds of Random Thoughts...
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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

She still doesn't really fit in... Back in January, when she went to visit a client with a number of co-workers, her uniqueness worked to her benefit... Maybe because she's inspired by this Picasso painting, it's not surprising that she's a bit of a square peg!

Instruments de Musique by Picasso with style guidelines and color palette

This is what she packed for that very successful adventure:

Tote Bag Travel capsule wardrobe in black and grey with pastels
concrete necklace - Studio Corebelle; square earrings - Zales; watch - Gomelsky; scarf - Olympia Le-Tangold earrings - Roberto Coin; pink necklace - Talbots; pendant - Zales; green earrings - Kate Spade New Yorkgray cardigan - L.L.Bean; green tee - Lands' End; grey grid sweater - Banana Republic; pink tee - Lands' End; orange handbag - Valextra; grey pants - Uniqlo; grid skirt - Banana Republic; blazer - Frenken; briefcase - Coach; pumps - Taryn Rose; loafers - Stuart Weitzman

Now, she's been chosen to go meet the client with whom they have the most problems. Recurring, SERIOUS problems... She's ready! For the first meeting, with management, she's making things clear, in black and white!

business travel outfit in black and white
square earrings - Zale; dress - Banana Republic; scarf - Kate Spade New Yorkwatch - Gomelsky;  blazer - Frenken; briefcase - Coach; slingbacks - Trotters; suitcase - Rockland

After the first day, she's going to tone it down a notch or two, and use a softer approach when she's meeting with the staff.

Tote Bag Travel capsule wardrobe in grey with pastels
necklace - Christina Greenesquare earrings - Zale; green earrings - Jax Kelly; scarf - Ted Baker London; pink blouse - Equipment; cardigan - Eileen Fisher; green tee - L.L.Bean; skirt - BOSSpendant - Zales; pants - J.Crew; pumps - Calvin Klein; handbag - Valextra; loafers - Donald Pliner

She knows that it's breaking the rules to pack 5 pieces instead of 4 for a 2 day trip. Well, there aren't really any rules...

And she knows that packing clothes that don't work terribly well with her travel outfit is ALSO breaking the rules. She just doesn't care; doing her own thing has served her well, so far!

Tote Bag Travel capsule wardrobe in black and grey with pastels

2 ways to wear grey pants from a Tote Bag Travel wardrobe

2 ways to wear a grey skirt from a Tote Bag Travel wardrobe

Her co-workers were stunned to see her with a floral scarf! They should look more closely... there are hard, cold, faceted gems included in the pattern... The Diamond Fist in the Floral Glove...

Instruments de Musique by Picasso, Revisiting for Spring 2018
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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

She's not a quiet, retiring type. She doesn't meant to be conspicuous, but it just seems to be her way! Maybe because she takes her style cues from this painting?

Dame au Chapeau by Natalia S. Gontcharova with style guidelines and color palette

The last time the traveled - just after the winter holidays - she packed a simple, but eye-catching, travel capsule wardrobe:

Tote Bag Travel capsule wardrobe in brown with gold and pink accents
cardigan - Topshop; earrings - Sorrelli; scarf - Faliero Sarti; feather earrings - Ralph Lauren; cardigan - Uniqlo; brown tee - Eva & Claudi; print top -  Ojai; bracelet - Alex and Ani;  shirt - Uniqlo; ; watch - Michael Kors; gold bag - Theory; suede pants - Brunello Cucinelli; scarf - Hermes Guepards; cotton pants - L.L.Beanhandbag - Coachloafers - Cole Haanflats - Born

She's off for a weekend symposium.... She's not presenting, so she plans to just sit back and listen...

travel outfit in brown and gold
earrings - Darby Scott; suede jacket - Victoria Beckham; scarf - Sole Society; sweater - Eileen Fisher; handbag - Coach; watch - Rado; pants - Eileen Fisher; suitcase - Victorinox

She's packing what she considers to be the bare minimum for the weekend:

Tote Bag Travel capsule wardrobe in bone with pink and gold accents
pajamas - Cosabella; feather earrings - Alexis Bittar; shirt - Uniqlo; tee shirt - Caslon; bracelet - Kendra Scott; pendant - Passiana; gold bag - Theory; scarf - Faliero Sarto; pants - Eileen Fisher; jacket - Eileen Fisher; loafers - Aquatalia 

She loves the way that her wardrobe reflects her personal tastes; it's not something everyone would enjoy, but it gives her endless pleasure, and occasional real delight!

Tote Bag Travel capsule wardrobe in brown and ivory with gold and pink accents

She loves the options of wearing a suit, or mixed separates, depending on how dressy everything feels...

2 ways to wear ivory pants from a Tote Bag Travel capsule wardrobe

2 ways to wear brown pants from a Tote Bag Travel capsule wardrobe

The last time she went to a weekend like this, she was called upon to appear on a panel in place of someone who was ill. She just doesn't understand why people always notice her...

Dame au Chapeau by Natalia S. Gontcharova Revisiting for Spring 2018
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Monday, April 16, 2018

Our heroine is quiet. Subtle, but not without interest, and great depths...

She draws her personal style inspiration from this moody, but beautiful, painting:

Passion Flower with Hummingbirds by Martin Johnson Heade with style guidelines and color palette

She traveled back in January with a warm, simple, but at the same complex wardrobe. That sounds silly, and like an oxymoron, but there's more going on here than will meet the casual, careless eye...

Tote Bag Travel capsule wardrobe in olive, gold, grey and pink
bracelet - M.Cohen; necklace - Treasure & Bond; watch -  Fossil; tee shirt - Ralph Lauren; earrings - Kate Spade New York; drop earrings - Lonna & Lilly; cardigan - J.Crew; scarf - Etro; floral tee shirt - Le Fate; white cardigan - BB Dakota; olive pants - Nordstrom Signature; grey pants - L.L.Bean; 2nd scarf - Sole Society; rose tee - L.L.Bean; canvas shoes - Cloud; loafers - Aerosoles; bag - Francine Valentine

She's traveling again, with a wardrobe that looks uncomplicated, but which includes 2 neutrals and 3 accent colors...

travel outfit in olive with gold accents
earrings - Catherine Zoraida; jacket - L.L.Bean; scarf - Fuzzi; shirt - Uniqlo; bag - Mansur Gavriel; loafers - Seychelles; pants - L.L.Bean; watch - Skagen; suitcase - Bric's

The key here is that all of her accent colors will work equally well with olive green or deepest charcoal grey...

Tote Bag Travel capsule wardrobe in charcoal grey with coral accents
cardigan - Eileen Fisher; earrings - Magpie Rose; scarf - Etro; tank - J.Crew; clutch bag - Ted Baker London; bracelet - Nakamol Design; nail lacquer - Butter London "Coming up Roses"; floral blouse - Joie; flats - Arche; pants - Eileen Fisher; pajamas - Lands' End

It's such an eclectic, but harmonious, little capsule wardrobe...

Tote Bag Travel capsule wardrobe in olive, grey, gold and pink

All of her tops go equally well with her 2 neutrals, giving 2 somewhat different... moods? to these garments. Of course it doesn't hurt that the olive ensembles include that utility jacket!

2 ways to wear olive linen pants from a travel capsule wardrobe

2 ways to wear charcoal grey silk pants from a travel capsule wardrobe

She let's the people who don't pay attention just go on about their way. Every now and then, someone notices her complexities, and THEN...

Passion Flower with Hummingbirds by Martin Johnson Heade, Revisiting a travel capsule wardrobe for Spring 2018
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