Sunday, March 8, 2015

Women Helping Women

Dear ladies, and may I say my dear girlfriends all over the world, I wish you all a happy International Women's Day! I know that here, in the US, more and more people are becoming aware of this holiday which I grew up with in Russia. March 8th is one of the big holidays celebrated in every small and big town, every village and city in my home country. We haven't treated this holiday as a political one (though it is how it started over 100 years ago, read the history here) - rather, it was partly a romantic holiday which we had long before Valentine's Day caught up, partly a celebration of mothers (long before we had a separate Mother's Day), and partly a celebration of sisterhood and women's friendship. The celebratory customs include giving  flowers to women who are dear and significant in your life, partying with friends and family, exchanging little presents and, without a doubt, dressing up. It's always been one of my very favorite holidays. And I feel so happy and so lucky to celebrate it with you today - you see, I dressed up, brought you some flowers with my Russian platok, and even prepared a little present for you all.

It so happened that a little while ago, I was approached by a wonderful little boutique from Bronxville, New York called Chaos NY. From the letter I received I learned that the philosophy behind the business is in some ways similar to that which got the International Women's Day started - women supporting other women. Chaos NY offers unique artful clothing, jewelry, accessories and household items which are created by talented, but maybe not widely known designers, and also partners with women's cooperatives from around the world - South Africa, India, South America. The letter sounded so delightful and intriguing - I couldn't wait to open their web site. I was amazed with the variety of colorful, whimsical, funky designs and immediately fell in love with quite a few items. I do not accept just any offer to collaborate that I receive (in fact this is the first such offer I've accepted), but Chaos NY truly won over my heart. I was offered to pick an item of my liking from a few different ones, and even from the category I was interested in the most - jewelry and accessories. Here is what I received in an envelope with a kindly hand written note of gratitude...

...this gorgeous purple silk bracelet by Mozaic International! It is soft, delicate and feels luxurious to wear. I love the contrasting black rock and colorful beads, and all those rich golden details make me happy. It has a regal and yet whimsical feeling to it, and I think it would look great with many outfits, but for my first wearing I wanted to dress it up and went a little over the top with this fancy dress by Isabel Toledo for Lane Bryant which I wear on very special occasions.

I love when fanciful items don't stop upfront, but continue their fancifulness even "on the back" - as you can see, even the closure has playful golden flowers on it. Such a delightful treat!

And now a little gift to you, my dear friends and readers. If you shop at the Chaos NY from March 9 till March 23, you will receive 30% off your entire purchase. Please enter WRITER30 in the discount code box when you are ready to check out. 

As I have told you, I loved quite a few items in the store, and before I received my bracelet, I actually went ahead and purchased this beautiful ring I showed in my blog here and here. So that was the little secret I held from you. The ring is made by the San Francisco based designer Jan Michaels. It is made of brass and cinnabar which is commonly known for traditional Chinese carved lacquerware - you might have seen it before. Because cinnabar is the ore of mercury, it can be toxic in its natural state, but in the modern jewelry industry, they replace the toxic pigment with a polymer which makes it safe to wear. (You can read more about cinnabar here.) You noticed that I love my ring and wear it a lot, and when I received it, the women of Chaos NY sent me a sweet note and admitted that the ring was one of their favorite pieces in the store. I think I snapped the last one, because it disappeared from the site. But I am loving many more pieces, just look at these funky bracelets or the colorful bag made out of recycled tees

And the last thing I wanted to talk about is my choice of shoes. I've mentioned before that I have wide feet, and it is challenging to find really comfortable footwear which is still stylish. I can't tell you how many moons ago I owned a pair of pumps. Many! But a couple of weeks back, I spotted this pair at Nordstrom Rack which were discounted from $140 to $30, something like that. I know, it's crazy! I put them on and walked around the store for quite a while. I was amazed how comfortable they were. But then I thought, "Where I'm going to wear them? How many chances that I even will wear them?" And I put them back on the rack and went home... A couple of days later, I was still thinking of this pair. "How often do I find a pair of shoes that fit me well? How often are they high heels? How often do I buy shoes which cost over a hundred for just 30 bucks? What was I thinking leaving that pair at the store?" I searched for them online and read feedback, and eventually decided that I should better go back and get them if they are still there... Well what do you know - they were still there, in wide width, in my size, and I bought them. So happy I did. They are python print, which is quite exciting, but read as neutral and go with so many things. And they are truly comfortable!

I hope you enjoyed my shopping stories today. I sure have fun telling them to you. That's what girlfriends are for, right? Well, that and a few other things. :)

Happy Women's Day!
Hugs to you all,

Dress - Isabel Toledo for Lane Bryant
Russian platok - gift from my parents
Pumps - Rockport via Nordstrom Rack
Earrings - Chico's
Bracelet - c/o Chaos NY
Clutch - Cole Haan via TJ MAXX

Linking up with Patti's Visible Monday
and Anne's 52 Pick-me-up - see you there!



  1. My beautiful Natalia what a vision you are, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    I have no words I just want to have a strong hug from your kind soul, my dear friend.
    I had to tell you how close I feel you. I hope I can get that hug one day

  2. Happy Woman's day! You are looking extra lovely for the day I must say.

    That bracelet is very unique. I can see why you were drawn to it.

    I must compliment you on your dress. The colour and fit are perfect. Overlaid lace is just so pretty.

    I am terribly jealous of you shoe find. Every time I think they are going to be comfortable when I put them on in the store inevitably when I try to walk in them for 20 minutes they aren't. Or I walk out of them. Happens every single time.

    I think these snake print pumps will go with everything. Very classy with a bit of sassy : )


  3. Happy Womens day Natalia, you are looking lovely and that shawl is just gorgeous. xx

  4. Hugs to you too Natalia! Loved reading all your stories. You look regal and radiant in your finery!
    Thanks for linking! Now must go click on "the colorful bag made out of recycled tees!"

  5. Hugs to you too Natalia! Loved reading all your stories. You look regal and radiant in your finery!
    Thanks for linking! Now must go click on "the colorful bag made out of recycled tees!"

  6. You are looking gorgeous here for International Women's Day!!! That dress fits you perfectly and suits you very well. I'll check out the link to that shop in NY. The bracelet and the ring are something I would consider buying for sure. Now I just have to go back and check out these beautiful photos again!

  7. What a beautiful dress you have! And the shoes... it's my firm belief, based on experience, that whenever you find ANYTHING that fits perfectly and feels great, you should snap it up then and there. Because if you don't, you'll probably regret it. As for the International Women's Day... I find it's become sort of a silly day when women are supposed to be 'pampered' and given presents by the men in their lives, and that draws the attention away from the real issues. Nothing wrong with presents or pampering (for both men and women, and when they are given freely and without a hidden agenda or a guilty conscience, but still preferably on any other day but this), but this day should be political. And I'm well aware that as a Nordic woman I may be extremely naive when it it comes to discrimination and women's rights as I have always taken for granted a level of equality that is unheard of in even most of the western world...

  8. stunning dress!!! and the platok fringes on your legs - pure beauty!!!!!
    love your whimsical jewelry style. i wear jewelry not often but if - then it has to be special and fun and bold :-)
    have the same memories on womens day like you - and i can remember very good that we were much more emancipated, especially in the jobs/work department.
    hugses my friend! xxxx

  9. You look wonderful in this outfit. Thanks so much for the flowers. And look at your waist! You usually hide it. I'm all for your showing it off more often.

  10. I love this jewelry - it has soul. Wonderful dress too, Natalia, you look vibrant! Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday, xo.

  11. My husband woke me up yesterday with a cup of coffee and said, "Happy International Women's Day". Your blog made it seem more meaningful and brought back special memories of my time in Saudi Arabia where I joined the International Women's Group. Met women from all over the world who remain special friends to this day despite our differences in religion and politics. This is exactly why I love linking up with Patti's Visible Monday. It's so fun to share our lives, our interests, our concerns with each other. Thank you for your beautiful reminder!

  12. What a lovely dress, and your new shoes and unique jewellery work perfectly as accessories. And the beautiful platok too, of course.
    International Women's Day isn't really on my radar at all as a national event - I've seen various posts on Facebook and some blogs about it, but I had no idea it was a big deal, or had been around so long. But then I don't really bother much with any of the festival/celebration days throughout the year, like Valentines or Easter or Mothers Day, and I wouldn't bother with Christmas if I could get away with it (tricky/impossible with 3 kids!) But I'll happily support my wonderful women friends, they're very important to me, and the need for equality is a given. xxx

  13. Happy womens day Natalia ! You look absolutely stunning :) x

  14. Wow! You look utterly fabulous from your sexy lace dress to your snakeskin shoes! I'm not surprised you loved that bracelet, it really is beautiufl.
    I didn't know International Women's Day was a thing until I looked at Facebook last night and saw hundreds of posts. I knew it was British Pie Day though, I'm a terrible sister, aren't I? xxx

  15. Natalia,you look wonderful in that lace with your new shoes,they definately are a good buy and you will have them for many years to come. I can see why you chose that particular bracelet,it is really is special.
    I am finding it very interesting how International Womens Day is celebrated around the world, here it still more of a political message , a reminder of the inequality that still exists . For me I have a strong belief in the value of womens friendship,in real time and online, so from my place to yours, I am sending flowers and hugs.xx

  16. Τoledo is one of my favorite designers. i spotted her a few years back. i don't own anything but admire the talent ,nevertheless. The ring and bracelet are higly artistic and I approve. As for the shoes I have issues with heels ,too. I simply cant walk on them . after recearching i found a loe heeled pumps that seem kind to my feet. I'm so happy I inspired you as I think highly of your style!

  17. You look stunning in this dress, and of course I love the platok! The shoes are a great find and they look really fantastic on you. You have lovely legs so its great to see you showing them off too! It's fun to wear unique handmade pieces and your selections suit you very well.

    I was interested to read about International Woman's Day being a big deal in Russia. It is really not on my radar and I don't know if that is just me being oblivious or if that is a Canadian thing. Of course anything that is made a big deal of in the US will get noticed here. Most of the media we are exposed to is American. I am not a big celebrator of any days other than birthdays. Perhaps I prefer to celebrate when the mood and energy strikes me rather than when the calender tells me to.
    Hugs to you and thank you for you always thoughtful words and support. xoxoxo

  18. Natalia, you look beautiful. This deep, rich maroon loos positively delicious on you. You definitely know which colors suit you. Chaos NY is having a grand time with us bloggers. You picked out such a perfect piece for Natalia. I can see you wearing the bracelet with so many of your colorful and whimsical ensembles. Enjoy it! For $30, I wouldn't think twice about a great pair of shoes that fit perfectly.

  19. The mystery of the ring revealed! And a beautiful bracelet in the story as well. You are a good storyteller.
    I like the tradition you had in Russia on March 8, which seemed to be a day of honouring women in every way, in love, respect, and friendship.
    Your dress is incredibly glamourous. And I'm glad you went back for those shoes. Clearly your instinct knew you would love them even when your logic stopped you the first time around. I hope you wear them a lot, they look great.

  20. Happy Women's Day! and I'm late! I am aware of it and I think it's a wonderful celebration for women, I did like one of the tagline's 'I'm a woman, what's your Superpower?' now, back to you and I have to say 'Wow!!!' you look absolutely sensational! the dress is beautiful, the colour and fit so perfect on you, and the shoes! I have wide feet too and it is a big deal to get gorgeous, comfortable heels, enjoy them! Chaos NY sound like an incredible organisation, what a fantastic philosophy, your pieces are beautiful x x x

  21. What an incredible beauty you are, especially today! Wow ... that dress is amazing on you. Very old school glamour girl. A belated Happy Women's Day ... you represent us all so well!

  22. Thanks for this wonderful post, Natalia! I don't think you are over-dressed, the day demands to wear something special. And this dress is indeed something special, so beautiful, so rich, so elegant! Your new bracelet is a nice addition to the dress. And such shoes for such price? Come on, you should not have hesitated to buy them even for a second.

  23. You look fantastic! But then again, I think you always do. I didn't know those russian scarfs had a proper name. Here in Finland they are quite common, probably because we are so close to Russia. They were popular souvenirs especially in 70's and 80's and they are easy to find second hand. Most people in Finland call them matryoshka scarfs (word is maatuska in finnish). I think I actually have one, white base with red flowers.

  24. What a wonderful holiday ! I am sending your flowers in my head...
    I adore your outfit today; there is not such thing as over the top for you.
    I ove the pattern and details and the color of our dress, it is stunning, and I adore that beautiful bracelet- so unusual for Bronxville NY!
    The shoes are gorgeous and what a find!
    I have been admiring that ring for a while now, but this is the best photo of it I have seen. Love the shape and carving, it is so distinctive and chic. Love the cinnabar color.
    Thank you for sharing this, you look stunning!
    Lets make it International Women's Month!
    xx, Elle

  25. wouu, first, you're gorgeous!, love your dress, love your new shoes (even more because they're comfy!) and love that you dressed up to celebrate women's day, such a wonderful event to enjoy!
    And second, thanks for sharing this cool brand, I've been glancing their site and now I'm coveting some huge pendants and funky accessories!, obviously, your ring is fabulous!

  26. how did I miss this fantastic outfit! you look stunning in this dress...and the bracelet is absolutely divine. I like the floral details on the back as well...such a great piece!

    I celebrate this day by trying to call my friends and family members and have a talk with them...but this year I wasn't in a mood for some fancy celebration so for most of the day I was catching up on some chores and stuff.