Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lexus Nashville Fashion Week Night 4

It was the night everyone was waiting for! Not only was the fourth night of Lexus Nashville Fashion Week being held at The Parthenon, it was to showcase The Versace Collection. Nearing starting time the sun was shining and people were anxious. Then the sun decided to say goodbye and the skies opened up in a downpour. Guests were huddled into the tent (with bar) and awaited being able to enter. Several attendees started to get upset with the fact they were made to wait. I mean, really, rehearsals were still happening after time for the show to begin. Not sure if it was the venue, weather, staff change, or just everyone being totally exhausted four days into such a large event?? Everyone was soon inside and very excited about the shows ahead.

White Rabbit by Shea Steele started off the night. The looks were full of geometric shapes and in a variety of materials.

My best description of this collection is "workout chic". The coat in the second look was great! I also like the fourth look I featured. I could see lots of girls wearing these, but not for everyone. The shapes would not be flattering on a lot of women.

Next up was Red Doll by Tatyana Merenyuk and it was a crowd favorite. Everyone cheered and clapped for most of these looks. It started out with a very vintage feel of fitted tans, quickly becoming youthful with black laces and sheers. Then became nearly risque.

I actually like a lot of these designs. Especially loved the tans that I showcased. My favorite look was the center one, the polka dots and train were fabulous. I left out the see-through looks, but they were well designed. With that said, you could not wear them as-is. I know very few LADIES who want their tatas showing in public. The crowd favorite was the final piece. It was an off-white toile ruffled extravaganza. It was nice, but I have seen several designers with nearly the same dress.

G-Star Raw focused on outerwear for the most part. The men's looks stole the show for me. I want to buy several of them as soon as possible. The aesthetic was tough and worn.

My favorite piece not shown here was a denim with leather sleeve jacket. I was drooling! The mustard jacket in the fourth photo was also very beautiful. The collection also included some nice VERY form-fitting little dresses as well.

After the intermission the crowd was pumped for the final two designers. Katherine Kidd was up next. She started the show with shiny satin in blacks and blues. Fussy sleeves and neck lines abound in this collection. I found myself confused on the direction in the collection. Look at me, I act like I'm judging Project Runway, LOL. There were greys/reds, black/blues,sequins, satin, jersey?

There were some wonderful tuxedo pants in the collection. The pair I show second were not one of them. I hated the ruffle across the top of them. My favorite pair had sequins down the legs where you would normally get the tuxedo stripe. The center dress was stunning and a crowd pleaser. There were some very cool designs in the back of a lot of the looks.

Then it was time... Time for The Versace Collection. Again, it was the men's looks that really had me paying attention. The women's were stunning as well, but none of the show stoppers I expected.

The guys looked killer. There were a few fit issues here and there, but nothing to really fuss over. The looks were sophisticated while being young and current. I was just cheering on every look. Even the jeans and simple shirt looks had something new to them. One was in Tennessee orange (I will let that slide), but had a very cool seam across the shoulders that caught my attention. The second look with the scarf was my favorite!

The ladies came out in bright yellows and blues. The pattern in the first dress was used throughout in a variety of color combinations. The fitted suits were stunning. My favorite of those (not pictured) was black with hot pink piping. Several cute swimwear looks hit the runway and I was hoping they would have some men's along with them. ;)

Over all I felt pleased with what I saw in the collections. I was not as excited about them as I was with Tuesday night's though. As much as I like The Parthenon, and it is one of my favorite places in Nashville, I feel it is not a runway venue. It is awkward with having two rooms and separating the guests. Props to many on the crew, though. I saw them helping people out of the rain and up the stairs.

Be sure and check out the Fashion Week website for more photos!!!

photos by: Andy Evinger

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lexus Nashville Fashion Week Night 2

Night two of Lexus Nashville Fashion Week 2012 was held last night, again at Marathon Music Works. Designs by five wonderful designers hit the runway. None of them disappointed! I decided, with five shows to cover, I would give you five looks that show off each collection. I promise you though, you will want to check out the rest of the photos from the night.

The night got started with The Leona Collection. The designs were fun and flirty. No wonder the likes of Taylor Swift can be seen sporting them.

There is little to say here. These five looks sum up the collection. Colorful, fun, and youthful all can describe them. Even with such a youthful appearance they are still sophisticated enough for someone a bit more mature.

Wai Ming stepped up the sophistication with his palette of blues and grays. His designs were very modern, but I still felt a classic feel to them. The fabrics were just beautiful.

The short dresses were all just adorable. A nice mix in this collection and many of them can take you from day to night.

The designs of Sjobeck are from the masterminds Garrett and Jesseray. Their show last night clearly showcased more of their west coast influences. Lightweight fabrics and easy styles blew across the "Malibu" stage.

Who says you can not be fashionable and live on the beach? Not me! I loved several looks that I was not able to feature here (look for my fav of the week blog later) because I wanted to give you something that showed the range of the collection. This collection had many different textiles in a multitude of neutral colors.

Ladies fasten your seat belts! I have a feeling you are going to love what Eva Franco brought to Nashville for us to see.

I do not want to over use "flirty" on last night's looks, but it was there! This collection was feminine, flirty and the details were stunning. Looks for day, night and transition pieces were included. I have a couple of dear friends I will definitely be sending to check out these clothes.

Then came the finale. I cannot express my delight enough. The looks Zang Toi from The House of Toi brought were not only beautiful but many of them had surprises for us.

The looks were all phenomenal. I have seen very few better-worked pieces anywhere. Even in his "casual" looks you would be hard pressed to find anyone around you better dressed. But he did not stop with just giving us the black, white and red drama from the front. Check out below the backs of two gowns I showcased above.

Guys, no need to panic. Zang Toi did not forget us. I am, I am going to get this white outfit. Okay, a boy can dream can't he.

So for me last night was just stellar. I can not say it enough though, be sure and check out the rest of the photos on Nashville Fashion Week's website. Not only that, you can get all the information you could need on the week's happenings.

Photos by: Heather Byrd/

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lexus Nashville Fashion Week 2012 Begins

Lexus Nashville Fashion Week started last night and left me a little confused. Not quite sure of what direction today's post was going to take. My normal fashion show layout is to give you the designs, tell you how and where to wear them. But I think I will just give a daily overview of each night's shows and then pick a couple and do my routine post at week's end.

This said, Nashville Fashion Week made big strides in improving over last year's event. Not that it was bad, just obviously the first of that caliber here in Nashville. This year things seem to be moving more efficiently. Opening night shows were held at Marathon Music Works. We were treated to live music at last night's show as well. We are music city, so why not?

Valentine Valentine, by Amanda Valentine showed her line off while Nashville-based Five Knives provided a mix of electro/punk beats as backdrop. Overall, her collection was not of my taste. I understand her love of vintage and, in some silhouettes, I saw that. I also assume her love of thrift stores is where she came up with the fabric choices. Let's start off with some cute styles with a rather wild fabric shall we?

This fabric caught the light, but would most people really wear an iridescent gown? Wait, I do remember a cousin wearing something similar for an early 90s prom. I like the two latter pieces, but I do feel I have seen them before. I do love when a designer tries to make something new again though.

Here we have three very different looks. I could actually see some flirty rock chick sporting this. The center gown was beautiful, but again a strange fabric choice for me. The last dress again is a beautiful cut, but the fabric kinda made me think of something that would line the inside of a gun case.

Out of these, the pants looks are my favorite. Overall this collection left me wanting. I mentioned it for all the looks. I like the design, just not the fabric choices.

Designer Smith Sinrod's collection, bySMITH, came out last night to the music of Humming House. Her love of silk and bright colors was evident. Most of the styles were pretty classic looks with a twist.

Cute skirts in great colors. Nothing Earth-shattering, but definitely nothing to be mad about.

I really like all of these. They are perfectly on-trend for this year. The shorts are great. The bright tops are fun. The dress is simple, but the fabric gives it interest.

Attention, Attention: It is now time for the Super Hero Cocktail Party to begin. All I could think was Wonder Woman got dressed up and went out. All kidding aside, they are fun little dresses. The overall feel for me was young, bright and fun.

Now for Mr. Traver Rains of T.Rains to give us an over-the-top show again this year! Last year his nearly-not-there menswear left people talking for days. This year proved to be no different. His models came out to the hip-hoppish beats of Shinobi Ninja.

The styling was very "Look at Me" but the overall looks were not bad here. The first dress is a cute dress, but why is it made out of crocheted dishcloths? The second look is very cool. The third one I just did not get.

Time to look at the boys. I tried hard to pay attention to the clothes. Honest, I did. I personally would never pull off any of these pants, but I sure as heck wanna try. And again he added some more dishcloths. I left out the half-naked girls in swimwear, simply to give the boys some page time.

T.Rains collections usually have a very southwestern-cowboy feel. This one seemed to have a more "under the sea" feel. Never more so than in his gowns. Of course, the cowboy asthetic was there in some of the looks. I surprised myself, though, because I actually like these three gowns.

Be sure to check out the rest of the schedule and more photos from Nashville Fashion week on their website. I feel it in the air, people are excited about the week here in Nashville. Last night was a great opening night. I hope to see you all at some of this week's events.

photos by: Andy Evinger

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon. Let us make Cupcakes!

Bacon is all the rage these days. As these things tend to go in cycles, Cupcakes, Frozen Yogurt, and yes Bacon. My friend Chris recently turned 30 and he is a bacon lover. So, another friend Wendy suggested we try bacon cupcakes as a gift. Being the wannabe chef that I am, I figured why not be a baker too. She sent me a recipe and I researched several others. I recommend giving them a try. This recipe makes 6.

Maple Bacon Cupcakes!

What You'll Need...
4 1/2 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
1/2 tablespoon of bacon drippings (left in the fridge to become solid)
1 egg
5 tablespoons of brown sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/4 cup of self rising flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
tiny tiny pinch of salt
1/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup of minced bacon, cooked and drained

What You'll Do...
1) Cook some bacon in a fry pan (about 6 thick strips). Reserve the drippings and place in the fridge to solidify. Mince 1/4 a cup of the bacon. The chef should eat whatever is left to assure that the bacon is tasty. (this last being my favorite part of the recipe)

2) Preheat Oven to 350

3) Beat the butter and solidified bacon fat 'till light and creamy. Add the brown sugar and maple syrup and beat well until combined.

4) Add the egg and beat until incorporated.

5) Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and powder together.

6) Add some of the flour and mix, then some of the milk, then continue to alternate the dry and wet ingredients, ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in the bacon. Taste and add more maple syrup, flour, or milk if needed for desired taste. Keep in mind the maple frosting is very sweet, and to add in very small increments for alterations as maple syrup in large amounts can break a cake batter.

6) Scoop into cupcake papers and bake at 350 F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Be sure to rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes for even baking.

For the Amazing Maple Frosting you will need...

4 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 cup of powdered sugar
turbinado sugar
coarse grain sea salt

What You'll Do...
Combine the syrup and butter until combined. Add the sugar, a bit at a time, and whip at high speeds until combined. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes. Sprinkle on sea salt and turbinado sugar for decoration and a lot of added flavor.

There you have it!

This recipe was originally created by Garrett McCord. I made a few, as you go tweaks but over all this is a pretty solid recipe. Candles courtesy of Wendy! They were a huge hit!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Nashville Lawn & Garden Show 2012

The Horticultural Association of Tennessee presented their 23rd Annual Nashville Lawn & Garden Show on Thursday, March 1 through Sunday, March 4, 2012 at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. This is Tennessee's premier horticultural event, it attracts more than 22,000 people annually and is one of the largest gardening shows in the South. The Nashville Lawn & Garden Show presents over 20 live garden exhibits which have been created by professional landscape designers. Also offered, 20 free lextures spread out over the course of the show by experts in the field. 250 exhibit booths selling products and services are also included. And lets not forget the floral design gallery, where florist from the area get to show off their talents.

I was lucky enough to attend for the third straight year. I was very impressed with the turnout, which seemed to outnumber 2011. I attended with my lovely and fellow former Kentuckian, Lora Stevenson Obrohta for a second year. We made our way through the live gardens, ooohing and awwing as we snapped photos and picked apart the designs. Debating which we would place in our yards and what parts we did not like. I am going to include photos of a few of my favorites here. I apologize in advance because I lost my designer information! So just enjoy the beautiful pictures and know you can have one of these floral fantasies in your own backyard.

The first 3 gardens are all very different. The first one, showing off spring perennials like tulips and adding features such as the washtub and stone borders. The center is a very elaborate planting, which takes care and precise measuring to achieve. This one was lovely but a bit much for the average backyard. The final one is a very natural looking planting. You have a stream and easy to care for plants placed as if they just sprung up.
In the final photos, you will see this is all one exhibit. They were showing a garden that has sun loving and shade plants. I loved this one, more for the plantings than the fence. The third photo ideally would be my back fencerow in my own yard. A boy can dream, right?

Water features are always a crowd favorite. Waterfalls tend to be in everyones fantasies from childhood to adulthood. Not to mention the tranquility water brings to your garden. These were 3 of my favorite water features. The first was beautiful, not necessarily for my yard though. The middle one I loved and want in my yard today. I even have the spot picked out for that rock. The final one is that waterfall of our fantasies on a backyard size scale.

Having a fire pit in my backyard is great. It allows me an excuse to have friends over on a fall or spring evening. The first one is a modern twist on the out door fire pit. Not for the shape or stone material, but because they used the popular fireplace glass crystals. The center image was by far the favorite of mine and my friend Lora. It was a water and fire feature. The stream had fire above it. We kinda geeked out on this one. The final is more of the classic fire pit and I loved the stone choice.

Please forgive me for these photos. I did not have my good camera with me (shame on me) and the lighting in the Floral Hall was not working with the one I had. There were lovely examples in the hall. My favorite being the center one shown here. It was deep reds and purples. The unique choice of vegetables used is what made it really stand out to me. Eggplant, beets, radishes, and others. I am wanting to host a large feast now just to have this as a centerpiece.

Now, doesn't this just make you want to get started on your yard work. My daffodils are already blooming and my tulips are up and growing. All the inspiration over the weekend at this show has me even more excited. My overall opinion of the show was that is was great. I do feel it was a little light on flowers. The live gardens seemed to focus more on the features and the vendors were more yard ornaments than flowers. That said, I am still excited and had a wonderful time. Thanks to Lora for joining me again!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oscar De Le Renta Pre-Fall Collection (Nash,TN)

Famed Fashion designer Oscar de le Renta was trained by Balenciaga, and became internationally known in the 1960s as one of the couturiers to dress Jacqueline Kennedy. His name has become synonymous with fashion from couture to ready to wear. His 2012 Pre-Fall collection was brought to a runway show in Nashville, TN on February 28, 2012. The show was put on by Nordstom's who recently opened a Nashville location. The event was to benefit the Grammy winning Nashville Symphony. The runway show was held at The Schermerhorn Symphony Center. You would be hard pressed to find a more stunning venue anywhere.

Normally when reviewing fashion shows, I tell you just where to wear these looks. I was unable to narrow these down to 9 looks for you. There were just too many! So, today I am going to just drop a couple suggestions through out but mostly just giving you some tasty eye candy! So lets get right to it...

Women everywhere can wear these suits, and these said women can wear them anywhere. They are beautifully designed in a very classic way, but still relevant and modern.

The almost cranberry colored look was one of my favorites! You would stand out but be polished and not showy at the same time. It can also be dressed up or down. The other 2 looks are for fashion forward ladies looking for a more casual style.

I liked all of these looks and they are very versatile. Mix and match, play around, and I have no doubt anyone could find their perfect look in these.

All 3 of these dresses made my list of favorites! This fall with the right jacket (or sweater) and hat you could be the envy of everyone at the Keeneland Race Track fall meet.

The first 3 cocktail dresses are fun and flirty. An outgoing woman of any age could go out in these. For the lady with a bit more mature fashion aesthetic we have the other 3 fantastically beautiful looks. The center one being one of my favorite skirts in the collection.

Are gold prices still way up? These 6 looks may just raise the price again. The first looks are all dazzling and fun. The middle look, you could even pair that sweater with some Imogene+Willie jeans and walk around Nashville. The 3 gold gowns are just stunning. Not usually a fan of heavy fabrics, but I am in awe of that first gown. The second dress has already made a red carpet appearance, Jessica Chastain wore it to The BAFTA awards.

I am a sucker for black gowns and Oscar de le Renta did not let me down. There was no way for me to pick just one of these dresses. The plunging neckline on the first, WOW. The neckline, lace and flirty skirt in the second, LOVE. The final gown, just HOT! Take your pick of southern formal events and then just close your eyes and point to one of these three.

Prefer color at your formal events? Here you have 5 beautiful choices. I love the movement of the coral gown and the cut of the blue one.

And why not have a show stopper like this in the collection. Gorgeous!

Oh, and I can not leave out that Carrie Underwood performed at the show. She wore a lovely Oscar gown herself.

Was that not just a stunning collection? There were more looks, but I tried to hit on my favorites. Check out more photos and coverage in The Tenneassean and get more details from their Society Guru Mr. Rusty Terry.

Runway Photos by: Larry McCormack / The Tennessean
Carrie Underwood Photo by: Rick Diamond/Getty Images