Friday, February 26, 2010

Wild About Retro

OK, not that you asked but I thought I'd tell you anyway, what I wore to the Neiman's event.
Since it was sponsored by the very elegant ladies of the Friends of Virginia Robinson Garden's
I just had to wear a little jewelry.
Usually I wear garden themed jewelry to these kind of events, little flower, butterfly or bee brooches.

But this time I went a little more bold. On the lapel of my Chanel jacket I wore this 1940s Retro bow brooch with gigantic citrine in yellow and rose gold. It isn't on Beladora yet because I love it so much that am contemplating keeping it for myself.
Cool aren't they?
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Around Town - Afternoon Tea With Nancy Goslee Power At Neimans

Yesterday I took a break from the office and attended a lecture and afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills with LA's most prominent Landscape designer, Nancy Goslee Power. In the warm drought ridden climate of Los Angeles, Nancy Power has created some of the most luscious gardens, with an emphasis not only on beauty, but water conservation and sustainability.

One of her showcase gardens is at the Moraga Vineyards.

I love this photo, not just because it is a beautiful landscape, but because it kind of blows me away that there is a wine producing vineyard in Los Angeles... in beautiful Bel Air no less! I can't think of any other major metropolitan city that has a vineyard.

Here's the detail shot of her work at Moraga.

Here's another beautiful vista that she created with a water feature and a view of the Pacific Ocean.
Her work is well known here at major showcase estates like Greystone in Beverly Hills

And important architectural residences such as Frank Gehry's house in Santa Monica

Yes, that same Frank Gehry who created the famous Bilbao structure

Not only does she do amazing landscapes for large projects, such as the Norton Simon museum in Pasadena, with its Giverny-esque lily pond, she is a master at creating intimate outdoor spaces.
Since not all of us are lucky enough to live in an old rectory in the verdant Welsh countryside, we are lucky to have artists like Nancy Goslee Power who can create green paradise right here in water challenged Los Angeles.
If you want to know more about her work she has a new book and you can buy it here.
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

OMG - More Oprah

My blogging schedule has been severely curtailed this week and it's all Oprah's fault.

No, really it is.
In the O, WHAT A BUY section of the March 2010 magazine
Beladora gets a mention. Treat this site like your grandmother's jewelry box, and everyone else's grandmother's too! is an international bazaar of vintage and estate jewelry for surprisingly good prices. It also guarantees the pieces' authenticity, so you can be sure that antique Victorian brooch is actually, well, Victorian.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Friends, Aquaintances and Closets - LA Style

I have been trying to write this post for three days but little overtaxed brain doesn't seem to be able to put into words the point I am trying to make.
But here's the gist of it.
In Los Angeles, a huge city in terms of population and geographic area, certain demographic clusters exist. One of these clusters is what I call the privileged west side private school/private club demographic. My son falls on the fringe into this demographic and through some weird 'six degrees of separation' he has this huge network of friends and acquaintances, many of whom I would describe as members of LA's young and entitled.

So on with my story
Last Sunday afternoon my son and his girlfriend hosted their first family barbecue at his recently purchased townhouse in Brentwood. Here's a photo of his living room.

Here he is at the barbecue demonstrating his grilling techniques to his grandfather.
You can see from this photo that my son is pretty much a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. He has suits and some dressier clothes appropriate for his work, but in his off time he mostly dresses like a skater boy.
He is very diligent, getting up at 5:00-5:30 every morning to work New York hours. In the afternoons he goes to the gym or rides his skateboard for exercise, and at night he studies. His girlfriend, the lovely lawyer, is equally hard working and puts in 10 hour days at her family law practice.
They are a no nonsense kind of couple who do real things to get ahead in their lives.

Recently, as a result of the recession (and probably some bad behavior), one of my son's friends lost his job in high end residential real estate. This young man needed a place to stay part time and store some stuff and my son generously offered him the guest suite on the 4th floor of his townhouse.
This friend/house guest is now "working" for another friend who happens to be some guy named Spencer Pratt...and he is getting paid in clothes, specifically in Spencer Pratt's discarded wardrobe from last season.
So of course I just had to get the grand tour of the closet.
What you can not see here is that the clothes have barely been worn...most are new with the tags still on them.
The dresser not only holds shoes, the drawers are full of sweaters, ties and belts. And what these photos don't show are that the labels are Prada, Loro Piana, Alexander McQueen, Rag & Bone and more.
Here's a pair of never been worn Louis Vuitton white leather driving mocs with the golden LV logo....because you know, every 20 something year old man needs a pair or two. Amazing how they match the white parka with the 22 karat gold snaps and zipper with the $7,500 price tag hanging from it.
Then we have the suits, lots of them by Dolce & Gabanna, Armani and Gucci.
And silly me, I had like no clue who this Spencer Pratt person was.
But apparently everyone in America under the age of 30 does.
Here is Spencer 'the clotheshorse' Pratt with his wife Heidi Montag

Yes, that Heidi Montag, who is not only on 'The Hills' reality show
she is now infamous for being addicted to plastic surgery at the age of 23
Spencer, who grew up in the west side private school/private club milieu, thus is part of my son's network of acquaintances, is now married to Heidi. He "manages" her "career" which mainly consists of her showing up making public appearances here and there. Mostly, he makes money by selling her photos to the tabloids and gossip magazines.
In other words the two of them are young professional celebrities,
famous just for being famous.
Only in LA could a couple like this get paid for being themselves.
I was curious about how a young man like Pratt, who went to the chi-chi Crossroads School and later USC, ended up with this lifestyle so I asked my son. Apparently, Pratt sold a photo to the tabloids of one of the Olsen twins drinking at a party when he still in high school and then realized that it was an easy way to make a lot money. So instead of choosing to become a doctor, lawyer, portfolio manager or whatever, he chose to attach himself to the LA demi monde and feed the celebrity machine.
I wonder, how long does a career like this last?

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fashion Fatigue

Sometimes I just get bored with the whole fashion week phenomena and this little image from the style section sort of says it all. But if seeing yet another collection...or 20...doesn't make you yawn, check out the Trendy Fashionista. She has a great rundown on the collections and videos from

Other weekend links,
Jill, who knows her dogs and her fashion, has found the Komondor's fashion doppelganger. Metscan, braving the frigid Finnish winter, has won an go congratulate her.
We Magazine's 101 Women Bloggers to Watch in 2010, other than Amy Alkon, I have no idea who these other women bloggers are...why aren't our blogs on this list?
Privilege, with the easy recipe for a fuss free dinner.
What is James Wearing, because I have to adore a man who wears aubergine suede YSL boots.
and on the serious side
The Perfect Storm of Ignorance, because economic ignorance is not bliss.
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Friday, February 19, 2010

We're Voting For The Blue Dress

It's not even March yet and already there's a lot of activity for the Oscar's red carpet.
USA Today has a reader poll to choose the red carpet look for Entertainment Tonight's Mary Hart... and look what she's wearing with royal blue dress.
(There's a video on the USA Today page which doesn't seem to want to be embedded on BHB, but in it Mary hints that she wants to wear the royal blue)

So yep, we are voting for the blue.
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Quel Quelymns

I'm often amused as the random letter combinations that are used on blogger for word verification for comments.
This is the word verification from the comment that I just made on Deja Pseu's blog.

Quelymns, doesn't it sound like the name of something out of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels?
That word sounds to me like a civilization of cunning Frenchmen who speak with sneering accents as they peer down their long aquiline noses?
But that's just me.
Happy Friday everybody!
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

In The Eye Of The Beholder

Who comes up with this nonsense?
No really, who?
Who did they sample for the poll, how representative was the sample?
How do you rate the attractiveness of entire nations?

Granted, here in Beverly Hills we have an above average number of attractive people, especially given the fact that the most beautiful people in the country, if not the world, come here to be actors and models. Add to that the healthy sporty and beach driven culture, men and women here tend to be good looking.
But Americans in general...they obviously haven't travelled to the places that I've been.

What about all those gorgeous Argentinians, Australians and Austrians...and I'm only at the A's.
Brits, Bahrainis, Brazilians?
Saudis, South Koreans and Swedes?
I will say this though about the US, we do have such a varied population in terms of ethnicity that not only do we have gorgeous Caucasians, we have gorgeous Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, African Americans, American Indians, Arab Americans etc. and more beauty of various ethnic groups that any other country. No other country can boast such variety in beautiful but very different types.
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monetize This!

About a week ago, Make Do Style had a long post about blog writing and business and I wanted to write about the same subject but haven't had the time.
But to go on record here, I know how much time you put into writing your blog, and if you can monetize your blog through ad sales or affiliate sales, I'm all for it.

Also, if I am going to buy a particular product, I would prefer to buy that product through your blog than through a department store. And, let's face it, I read your blogs, I enjoy what I read, and I appreciate your advice and product recommendations so naturally I'd love to shop through your site.

Years ago I signed up as an affiliate for Myla, Yoox, Boden and a few other random stores...but as you can see, I rarely have time to post about these products and still get in all my ranting on BHB. (For the record, I've been turned down by Neiman Marcus as an affiliate...which kinda cracks me up given that it is pretty much the only department store that I shop at! Maybe the powers that be at Neimans just don't have the proper appreciation for my posts on politicians and sex tapes.)

But, I would really like to become an affiliate of because I love to read and I enjoy recommending books to you. Perhaps BHB is not too objectionable for Amazon affiliation!

I am also not an affiliate of obvious reasons. But I invite you to become a Beladora affiliate. So no, you won't be paid in gold bars but you will be paid by check or paypal a commission for any sale on any full price item that occurs from a click through from your website.

And, Beladora as part of Kazanjian & Fogarty, Inc. is serious about paying commissions to any one who refers a client. We would rather pay commissions than pay for an ad in a newspaper or magazine.

I'm so not shy when it comes to my brand so you will probably receive an email from me inviting you to become an affiliate.
But if you want to start right away here are the links:
You can sign up as an affiliate for here
and for here

It's easy, all you do is send your name, email, and blog url and we will send you an email with your individual affiliate number and information about what code to use when you want to link to a product.

And this holds for my blogging peeps in Canada, Australia, The UK and Europe. Beladora will ship jewelry anywhere in the world as long as the shipment can be that kind leaves out Russia, North Korea, Somalia, etc.
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Washington The Worthy

Here we are with back to back holidays of Valentine's Day and President's Day and a post by our own Duchesse on repurposing V-Day which is certainly an interesting idea.
She leaves us with this excellent suggestion
Not everyone has a family where love abounds. But everyone needs love, and why not stop for a day to connect with love in all its forms, from the altruistic to sensual? Sure beats celebrating presidents, pilgrims or Queen Victoria.
But I politely disagreed in her comments section on pilgrims and here I'm going to disagree on presidents.
Way back in ancient history, otherwise known as my childhood, we had a holiday for Washington's birthday. Years later this holiday celebrating the father of our country morphed into the catch all President's Day.
Well I for one don't think that we need to celebrate Presidents in general, but George Washington is certainly an exceptional man and his life is worthy of our celebration.
Washington Crossing The Delaware by Emanuel Leutze
1776 by David McCullough

I'm not going to go into a long dissertation here but I want to point out that Washington was a brilliant commander who successfully fought the far superior British forces and won. He then ushered in the office of the Presidency and then humbly stepped aside.
Unlike Napoleon, who crowned himself Emperor and drank his own kool-aid to the detriment of France and the greater Europe, Washington remained true to the idea of American representative government and individual liberty.
He was a truly great man and a snappy dresser too! If you haven't read 1776 I recommend that you do.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Of McQueen: Mastery, Success and Despair

My mind has been on Alexander McQueen this week
wondering about his life of extremes
from his mastery of fashion, meaning not just clothes but wearable art
to his success as the world's youngest leading designer
to his despondency and death
He could create clothes such as these
that were so immanently wearable
like this suit, perhaps without the birds nest hat

and this feather dress which we all know was copied on project runway

and this tropical bird of paradise evening gown, utterly wearable without the feathers

He could also create clothes that were pure theatrical genius

Like this "Red Queen" coat, an Orientalist - Georgian confection

and this armored warrior queen - note that the dress without the mail is dazzling in its cut

this basking butterfly headdress

and these iconic "bedlingtons" so aptly named by Miss Cavendish

and this birds of prey in flight headdress seemingly holding up this frock.

How does a 40 year old man at the height of his success succumb to such despair as to commit suicide? Granted that he grieved for the mother that he lost only days before his death, and his friend/champion Isabella Blow that he lost three years previously, but to take his grief to such extreme is for me, not understandable.
When I consider all of the people who are out of work and have families to feed or who are seriously ill from a terminal decease, who get up everyday continue with their lives, I wonder that McQueen couldn't have found the will to go on.
I friend of mine lost his daughter to cancer almost two years ago, after battling it with her for almost 8 years. His daughter was 24 years old when she died. He despaired in fact he still despairs but he goes on with his life. A woman that I work with has had cancer treatment off and on for the last 6 years and now the cancer has metastasized to her brain. She goes on knowing how fragile life is and appreciates each additional day.
I guess that in some way I'm insufficiently sensitive to the trials and travails of the talented, successful and wealthy 40 year old McQueen.

I leave you with this link to part 1 of McQueen's last show, Plato's Atlantis.
The embed code has been disabled, thus the link.
Watch and enjoy the last of his brilliant body of work.
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Alexander McQueen - RIP

Alexander Mcqueen has commit suicide.
So very sad
Check out Wendy B's blog for an incredible video of Kate Moss on the runway
and the Townhouse Lady's blog for a beautifully written eulogy.
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Marc Jacobs Brings Us The Ugliest It Bag...Ever

Words fail me when I look at this LV bag. It is so hideous that it leaves me speechless.
But the Mail Online has plenty to say about it
Yours for £26,000: The most hideous It Bag ever made

There was me thinking we'd got over It - our addiction to It bags - and then up pops Posh with her £24,740 bordeaux porosus crocodile Birkin.
Before you knew it, the fashion industry had spawned a plague of the ugliest, silliest, most outrageously priced It bags imaginable.
What drugs do you have to be on to design a bag that looks like it's made of material from a Seventies council estate sofa, fossilised witchetty grubs and more cheap leather tassels than a rodeo beauty pageant?

What is not kind and must be some kind of joke (along the lines of: let's design the most hideous bag any woman has ever carried and call it cutting-edge fashion) is the £26,000 they're charging for it.
As Marc Jacobs says, there are Louis Vuitton addicts so desperate that they'll buy any old junk they 'design', however hideous. And junk it is.
Go read the rest of the article for some other really hideous bags that also cost a bundle.

It always makes me wonder, who buys these bags? Surely more women that Posh are buying these things because you can't make a market on one client alone....even if it is Posh.

And now for something completely different.
A Valentines Day suggestion

At approximately 1/10th the cost of the uglyLouis Vuitton bag....vintage Van Cleef.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Mid-February Fantasy

Roatan Island

I know that with Valentine's Day coming up I should be thinking of about the kind of jewelry that says "I Love You" all rubies and sparkle and all things romantical,
but with the weather so cold and miserable I can't stop thinking about taking a little vacation in a sunny sandy spot like the Maldives, Reunion, Belize, Roatan or Phuket.

Since warm weather resorts make me think of turquoise water under a golden sun, my picks for what I would want to wear if I could find the time to squeeze in a little island get-away would be turquoise and yellow gold jewelry.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Storm Of The Century In The Capital?

Is this the storm of the century for Washington DC?
I don't know but I just heard that one of my daughter's friends was trapped in the DC Metro for 20 hours and posting about it on Facebook.
That is almost as bad as being trapped in the chunnel.

I'm very glad that it is only raining in LA.
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Around Town - Another Week Of Dine LA

Bad economic news, continued recession, growing unemployment
how does the restaurant business in Los Angeles deal with all of this?
Dine La restaurant week, of course.

What's the idea behind dineLA Restaurant Week?
dineLA and dineLA Restaurant Week were created with two goals in mind-driving business for our local restaurant community; and building awareness for Los Angeles as one of the premier dining cities in the world.


What are restaurants offering during dineLA Restaurant Week?
Participating restaurants will opt into one of three dining categories and present a specially priced three-course meal for lunch and/or dinner. Diners will be able to choose from three choices for each course including appetizer, entrée and dessert.

So last week's dine LA event, with special prices, was an opportunity for me to try two new restaurants, and so I did.
Both were full, obviously the dineLA concept was working.

I liked both my dinner and the ambiance at Wolfgang's steakhouse, with no nonsense food and a chi-chi Beverly Hills crowd....was that Mickey Rourke in the hat? Perhaps the best thing about Wolfgang's was the fact that it was on Canon Drive, an easy 2 block walk from my office.

Upstairs 2, was the opposite of the platinum triangle located Wolfgang's.
A wine bar situated above a warehouse wine business, The Wine House, located in an industrial area next to the 405 freeway, it was a foodie retreat with delicious food and an incredible wine by the glass menu. It may just become my new favorite hang out.
The restaurant business is huge in Los Angeles, and it employs a lot of people...yes, many of them wanna be actors. I'm very glad to see that DineLA is having a positive influence on local business.
This city has weathered the recession fairly well in spite of the real estate meltdown and all of the economic problems with the State of California. It makes me happy to know that LA isn't going the way of Detroit.
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Friday, February 5, 2010

I Heart This

So on a rainy Friday afternoon has shown a little love to
with this article by SF women's fashion editor Parmeeta Ghoman
Jewels from around the world brought to us via the internet

And what's not to love about these
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Weekend Reading - A Recommendation

A week before I saw the film 'The Young Victoria' I read, or rather listened to, Paul Johnson's Napoleon: A Life on my ipod.
There was such a contrast between the two most influential leaders of the 19th Century. The legacy left by Victoria was one of an Empire of economic growth and stability. The legacy left by Napoleon was one of an Empire lost. In spite of his 21 years of war, from his participation in First Coalition in 1793 to his final defeat at Waterloo in 1815, the net gain from Napoleon's leadership was negligible. In fact, after years of famous battles, some brilliantly won like Austerlitz and some terribly lost like his tragic Russian campaign, Napoleon's wars led to the unification of the German States and to their growing belligerence and military capability.
Without Napoleon, there couldn't have been a Hitler.
But I won't go into all of that here.

Let's just say that Napoleon was a fascinating yet deeply flawed man and I recommend Paul Johnson's book. (Actually I recommend all of Paul Johnson's books)

My interest in Napoleon was sparked by this cameo. From the book I learned that there was a huge amount of Napoleonic memorabilia created in the 19th Century and this cameo is part of that memorabilia.
If straight history isn't for you, I recommend instead these two books by William Dietrich. They are historical thrillers, if you will, Da Vinci Code-like stories that are set in the midst of Napoleon's military campaigns in Egypt and the Levant.

One of the most interesting things about Napoleon's Egyptian campaign is the fact that he was accompanied by 167 members of the French Academy who studied everything from ancient science and mathematics to history and language. Among their discoveries was the Rosetta Stone.
These Academy members play an important part in these books along with the main character, an pragmatic American, who gets drawn into intrigue, eventually solving a mystery that began over a card game and a murder in post revolution Paris.
Other historical characters who appear in the book are Admiral Nelson and British super spy Sydney Smith.
The Rosetta Key by William Dietrich

These books, are generously sprinkled with both actual history and utter nonsense, and they are very amusing. In fact they would make great films...*hint Ron Howard hint*
So if it is raining or snowing where you are this weekend, I suggest staying home with a cup of tea and one of these books.
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