TONIGHT: Sip, Shop & Celebrate Summer


July 23, 2014 at 11:34 am 1 comment

Au Courant 2014: An Evening of Fashion & Philanthropy


Fashionistas and philanthropists came together on a beautiful Friday evening in June at Belle Mer in Newport for an extraordinary showcase of style. Through the collaborative efforts of Child & Family and StyleWeek Northeast, Au Courant celebrates and promotes the extraordinary creative talents of some of the finest designers in the region including Nick Pini, Jess Abernethy, Jonathan Joseph Peters, Sarah Prost, Luke Aaron and Avni Trivedi. (For bios on each, CLICK HERE.)

Following cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the lawn, it was time to take in the looks on the runway in the Water Salon:

photo 6 photo 5

A favorite from Nick Pini

A favorite from Nick Pini

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Another Nick Pini showstopper

Another Nick Pini showstopper

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Like Aaron channels Princess Grace

Like Aaron channels Princess Grace

There shouldn’t be any pressure on what to wear to a fashion show, and StyleWeek Northeast founder Rosanna Ortiz has said her hope is that StyleWeek attendees have fun–not stress–with their own fashion choices for such an event, but I wanted to try something, well, a little “inside the box.” The Rent the Runway box, that is. The one stop online shop to rent dresses & accessories by famous designers has become a national favorite among those whose closets aren’t typically stocked with Monique Lhuilliers, Badgley Mischkas and Halstons. There was so much to choose from but I ultimately decided on a unique Nha Khanh dress that celebrated the season with an interesting edge:

photo 1The Nha Khanh Hydranga Dream dress retails for $1085.00 but is just a $150.00 rental. It’s made from floral printed chiffon (I pretty much never wear florals but this was such an artistic pattern) is sleeveless, has a crew neckline and invisible back zipper. But it’s most dramatic feature is the sheer chiffon “cape.” I pushed it to the limit by ordering this dress on a Tuesday for a Friday evening event, but it arrived in plenty of time. (Typically Rent the Runway offers customers two sizes with a rental–one  a size bigger or one a size smaller–as a back up. There wasn’t a second a size up available but I took a chance and it worked out fine!) Inside the Rent the Runway box was instructions and a padded UPS return envelope, so after the weekend I popped up to the UPS Store on Bellevue Avenue and (sadly) shipped it back to RTR.

I would absolutely Rent the Runway again and highly recommend it! CLICK HERE for more on how RTR works.


Most photos by Mia Lupo. Visit her blog by CLICKING HERE. Rent the Runway offered a credit to experience the service, I provided an unbiased review. Special thanks to Child & Family and StyleWeek Northeast organizers.


July 21, 2014 at 9:28 am Leave a comment

THURSDAY: Angela Moore Fashion Show & Champagne Brunch


In conjunction with the 375th anniversary of Newport, the Preservation Society and nationally known designer Angela Moore is hosting a fashion show and champagne brunch at Rosecliff this Thursday.

The theme of the show will be “Newport Forever,” celebrating the City’s nautical chic resort style. It will be emceed by Angela Moore and models will include familiar TV and fashion personalities as well as Newport celebrities. In addition to showing her own new collection and debuting limited edition Newport Forever jewelry, the show will also feature other well-known designers including Manuel Canovas, Just Madras, Dizzy Lizzie and Jack Rogers plus menswear from J. McLaughlin.

Doors pen at 9 a.m. and guests are invited to enjoy cocktails on the terrace of carolynkarenblack1lrRosecliff before proceeding to the ballroom for the fashion show and brunch.

Seating is limited and advance reservations are required.  Admission is $90 for Preservation Society members and $95 for non-members, and includes the fashion show, brunch, a $25 Angela Moore Gift Certificate and an exclusive package ticket to tour The Elms (1901), and take the behind the scenes Servant Life Tour. Please call (401) 847-1000 ext. 140  to ask about ticket availability.


cashmeresweaterslrAll proceeds from this debut event will benefit the Preservation Society’s mission to protect, preserve and present its exceptional collection of house museums and landscapes.

July 15, 2014 at 12:19 pm Leave a comment

THURSDAY: Alex and Ani Ladies Day at the THOF Also Featuring Fila & Brooks Brothers


 From the International Tennis Hall of Fame:

Fashion, a champagne brunch, and a panel discussion with some inspirational women will top off the tennis action on Thursday for Alex and Ani Ladies Day. The morning will feature a brand new event, a sold out runway show featuring stylish looks for on and off the court by Alex and Ani, Brooks Brothers, and Fila.

At 1 pm, all tournament ticket holders are invited into the Casino Theatre for a special Q & A focused on how sports can have a transformational effect on a woman’s life, and particularly on how skills developed in sports are impactful across all areas of one’s life.

The panel will feature Nicki Castonguay-Maher, Vice President of Charity by Design for Alex and Ani and a former NCAA Division 1 athlete and current coach; Jill Craybas, a Rhode Island native who recently retired from a successful professional tennis career on the WTA Tour; Amory Rowe, a Middletown native, who was a member of the U.S. Women’s Lacrosse Team, and is the founder and Executive Director of In the Arena, a nonprofit organization that places aspiring Olympians in community service roles; and others to be announced. The panel will be moderated by Aleia Naylor, director of sponsorship and marketing for the Women’s Sports Foundation. The panel is free to all tournament ticket holders.

–The Runway Show & Champagne Breakfast is sold out but to be place on a waiting list, please call the Tournament Office at 401-849-6053. —

I am so excited to see this show as I caught a sneak peek of some of what’s to come including select pieces from Fila’s Heritage Line designed by Ginny Hilfiger (Tommy’s sister) which first debuted at the French Open.

July 7, 2014 at 9:24 pm Leave a comment

Happy Independence Day! Meet All American Dock & Harbor


Happy Fourth of July! I chose today to feature a young New England couple launching an accessories line as they  scarf_bluelobster_blue325 strive for their piece of the American dream…
What happens when two young entrepreneurs take the road less traveled and defer pursuing an advance degree for an exciting, inspired business adventure? Leo Phylips and Sarah Hillstrom, both natives of Boston’s South Shore, both grew up vacationing in and around Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Warm summer nights, fresh blueberries and a decidedly coastal culture are what resonated with the two who met during college. Their combined passion for coastal-inspired, stylish accessories are what gave them the courage to launch Dock & Harbor, a whimsical, expanding line of preppy-meets-nautical scarves and ties.
The couple acknowledges that simple patterned and bold colored accessories aren’t new to the market, but what sets Dock & tie_bluelobster_green325Harbor apart is the quality of the pieces and that patterns coordinate. Ties and bowties ($60-$78) are 100% silk and made in Italy. Scarves ($85-$108), also handmade in Italy, are made of 90% Modal and 10% Cashmere; 50% Modal, 42% Linen, 8% Silk; or 100% cotton. Patterns include: sailboats, golf clubs, stand-up paddleboards, lobsters, nautical signal flags, lighthouses, Maine town signs, striped bass, pine trees, compass roses, clamming, and puffins plus custom designs.

The lobster scarf I have in navy is so soft it is going to be a year-round staple. I love it so much I featured it on my monthly feature on the popular blog, The Daily Basics.

Keep an eye out for Dock & Harbor at the Newport International Boat Show later this summer and in local shops in the future!dock harbor

July 4, 2014 at 12:32 pm Leave a comment

Flocking Around: Eat, Play & Run Retreat at the Norman Bird Sancturay at Paradise Farmhouse


When the completely renovated Paradise Farmhouse at Norman Bird Sanctuary was revealed this spring, it was clear an extraordinary new chapter in this historic home’s book had arrived. It is the oldest structure on the 325-acre NBS property, dating back to the early 1700s when it was a mere shack for tenant farmers. Newport County has no shortage of fellow properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but most don’t invite you to functionally have an awesome, unplugged slumber party there!


I recently had the opportunity to experience what the intention of the renovation has been all along: to enjoy an educational, out of the ordinary, unplugged retreat complete with gentle meditation, yoga, gourmet food, friendship and more.

After being welcomed with chilled, spiced almond milk (amazing!) and cookies, then settling into the home which can accommodate overnight accommodations for up to 16 people with 6/7 bedrooms, it was off to the studio cottage just footsteps from the main home. Here, Innerlight Yoga instructor Jen Myers led a restorative meditation and yoga session that quieted the mind and set the tone for the weekend. Myself and a handful of other guests were also preparing for the Norman Bird Sanctuary 5K run the next morning.

20140623-215829.jpgNext, it was time to gather around the farmhouse table for a healthy but hearty spread prepared by culinary superstar and private chef Jessica Gorman which accommodated carnivores, vegetarians and the resident vegan. (The vegan set the tone for a laughter-filled dinner ahead when he asked: Do you know how you can tell if a person is a vegan? They’ll tell you within 5 minutes of meeting them.)20140623-215859.jpg

Note the last menu item. Never had Avocado Chocolate Mousse? I don’t think most people have but this unbelievably creamy delight, served in a flaky phyllo cup and topped with edible “robin eggs” left quite the impression.

Flowing wine and lively conversation followed around the table until it was time to retire for the night and for me, to start my first summer beach read. (It was hard to remember that downtown Newport, which was likely hopping as tis’ the season, was just about 5 minutes away.)

Upon entering our bedrooms, we were all greeted with Aveda toiletries from Natural Creations salon in Newport:


And the bathroom was stocked with indulgent Farmaesthetics soaps and gels:


The next morning we awoke to the smell of fresh coffee brewing and a spread of homemade granola, fruit and toast with homemade jams. Just steps from the 5K starting line, we all enjoyed the exceptionally scenic route which included 180-degree view of second and Third Beaches. NBS’s fabulous Leslie Muir said is was the most participants the race had ever seen at nearly 500 and it was no surprise this beautiful, sunny morning drew even the most novice runner out of bed!

After the race we headed back to the studio for apres race blueberry and chia smoothies and a restorative yoga session. Showers and a little R&R were followed by a full lunch spread which included cauliflower soup, strawberry and spinach salad, and grilled flat-bread pizzas with sliced pears and asiago cheese. The rest of the day was our to explore the trails, hit the beach or choose our own adventure.


I had a commitment Sunday so I missed the morning guided bird walk and after brunch hike to Hanging Rock which is the cornerstone of all Paradise Farmhouse retreats. I’ll be headed out to experience those this summer. Though the calendar year, there will be opportunities to experience a retreat here, or your company, group or extended family can custom craft a stay at this extraordinary property. For more information, visit:

For another unforgettable experience, buy tickets now for 2nd Annual Norman Bord Sanctuary Bake on the Beach July 19 for a classic New England clambake on the shores of Third Beach!

A special thank you to the unstoppable Lisel Woods, Norman Bird Sanctuary’s Director of Marketing for organizing this experience.

All photos except for the last of the living room are property of Newport Stylephile and must be used with permission.

June 26, 2014 at 9:07 am 1 comment

Perfectly (Wet) Suited


Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), especially in and around Newport, is a beautiful way to fit in a great workout. I was able to get out on the water bright and early with Jacki Lane from Pulse and Bellevue Barre a while back and it was almost easy to forget how much cardio we were doing because it was so breathtaking. Almost. If you’ve never tried SUP, classes are offered through Rhody Surf and Island Surf & Sport in Middletown (which offers a free SUP demo every Monday night at 5pm on Third Beach). You can also find traditional full and spring wetsuits at Island S&S.

Whether it’s SUP or surfing, check out these fabulous uber-retro colorblock wetsuits by designer Cynthia Rowley for J. Crew. It comes in two different colorblock styles and is perfect for  summer adventures with full coverage on top and shorts on the bottom. The neoprene suit is available online exclusively and retails for $210.00.


June 18, 2014 at 6:48 am Leave a comment

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