Princess Kate: A Most Practical Royal Fashionista

It’s been just over a week since the lovely royal wedding of Kate and William.  I thoroughly enjoyed the wedding; thought it was sheer perfection, not over the top with that fairy tale imagination that makes me want to barf.  You see, I think that Kate is secretly a practical fashionista.  But I think that her down-to-earth, decidedly un-fairy princesslike practicality is revealing itself pretty quickly.

They only had a quick weekend honeymoon, and then it was back to the military for William, and back to being a military housewife for Kate.  This was quite impressive to me.  I actually think honeymoons are highly overrated, especially after a royal wedding.  I’m sure with all the pomp, circumstance, and intense media attention for months on end, going back to their small home on the island of Anglesey must have felt incredibly freeing.  I feel that just getting back to some semblance of normal (or as normal as royals can get) is a great start to a marriage.

Then we see the pictures of Kate grocery shopping!  How ‘normal’ can you get?  Yup, pretty much all of us grab that shopping cart (or trolley) every week and do the mundane task of shopping for groceries.  Of course, she looks fabulous, even while doing a decidedly housewifely task.  Dressed in French Sole ballet flats, Hudson skinny jeans, long-line white cashmere sweater (jumper) and a green frilled shrug shawl – she looks incredibly chic.

It will be a delight to follow Kate’s escapades in the years to come.  If they are more of the commonplace variety, all the better.  We need more practical levelheadedness in this world.  And if she looks stylish while doing so, it will give us all a kick in the pants to make an effort to look good while running around doing errands.

Even though you are a royal princess, Kate, I admire your willingness to jump into the daily flow of everyday life with a smile on your face.  And from one Practical Fashionista to another, I say: Good on you!  🙂


~Marilyn Huttunen

That Oh-So Glorious Fluffy Angora!

With all the great sartorial hoopla surrounding Kate Middleton’s (ahem, Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) white angora sweater that she wore to the royal wedding reception, I thought I would talk a little more about angora.  First off, see that big white fluffy bunny rabbit pictured above?  That is an angora rabbit, and its exquisite hair is used to spin into angora yarn and then knit into garments.  Contrary to some who believe the bunny is harmed or killed to get its hair, it is a very gentle, natural process to harvest hair from those adorable bunnies.

Angora rabbits are specially bred for their long fur; they live long and happy lives while they grow their incredible fiber.  Angora rabbits molt about four times a year, and it is during the seasonal molt that hair is gently combed and removed.  They even purr while hair is being removed, so it must feel good to the bunny!

The angora fiber is amazing.  It is 7 times warmer than wool, more lightweight and much softer.  It has a natural fur-like halo and has many insulating and warming properties.  Plus it is just so doggone sensuous!  Nothing else quite feels like angora against your skin!

Since I buy and sell lots of angora sweaters, especially vintage angora, I have a lot of experience in caring for and washing them.  First off; never, never, never dry clean angora!  I know many labels say to do so, but don’t.  Angora is meant to be very gently washed in cool water and a mild washing liquid like Woolite – not bathed in a harsh chemical dry cleaning solvent.  Lay flat to air dry.  Never put it in the dryer – you will ruin it – the horror!

A gentle hand washing will leave your angora sweater sparkling clean and fabulously fluffy.  It will bring out the radiant beauty of the angora and will feel divine.  And so, gentle readers, start seeking out those wonderful angora pieces.  You are in for a delightful experience!

~Marilyn Huttunen

Knit a Vintage 50s Version of Kate’s Angora Bolero!

Since I was so enamored of Kate Middleton’s fluffy white angora bolero that topped the gown she wore to her wedding reception at Buckingham Palace (see my previous blog post of April 30th), I thought to look through my vintage knitting patterns to see if I could find a similar design.

I collect vintage sewing and knitting patterns and have quite a stash. I was fortunate that this snazzy little knit bolero sweater pattern was right up on top of said stash!  Super cute, ‘Knit Bolero with Cable Trim’ knitting pattern from the 1950s.  Boleros are classic, timeless and never go out of style.  This one has short sleeves, which would be perfect for spring and summer, and a cable trim for a bit of texture.

The pattern is for sizes 12-14.  Please bear in mind that vintage 50s sizes are radically different from modern sizes!  A size 12 would be a 32″ bust, and a size 14 would be a 34″ bust.

The materials call for all purpose yarn, but it would be absolutely smashing if  a fluffy yarn such as angora or mohair were substituted.  I’m pretty much a novice knitter, so I wouldn’t be much help in knitting assistance.  I trust you expert knitters out there will know what to do.  Happy knitting!

~Marilyn Huttunen

You can download pattern here:
Knit Bolero with Cable Trim Pattern



And The Royal Bride Wore White Angora

I, being somewhat of an Anglophile (okay, an AVID Anglophile), was completely entranced by the royal wedding yesterday.  I loved the somewhat austere solemness of it;  the sense of royal history, and seemingly true love and dedication between William and Kate.  Of course, I loved Kate’s dress.  It was perfectly elegant, modern and gorgeous.  The dress really suited Kate’s individuality, and her lovely radiance shone through, not being obscured by mounds of frothy meringue.

Well, imagine my surprise when I saw what Kate wore to the Buckingham Palace wedding reception.  The dress was another lovely creation by Sarah Burton for McQueen; a strapless ivory silk gazar gown, with a sparkling band of diamante cinching her tiny waist.  What really caught my attention though was the fabulously fluffy white angora bolero sweater that topped the whole ensemble!

You see, I love angora and am thrilled to see it in its rightful place on royal shoulders!  Angora is just incredible; its furriness, lightness, and silky softness is beyond compare.  To see Kate wearing such a stunning sweater is delightful.  You can see the delicate fluffiness of the angora rabbit hair fibers reaching for the sky.  I would guess that her sweater is at least 80% angora, but probably 100% pure angora (she is royalty, after all).

So don that royal angora!  If you’ve never worn it before, you are in for a true sensory delight.  You too, can have the same excellent sartorial experience that Princess Catherine has.  Fluffy rocks!

~Marilyn Huttunen

Natural Sinus and Allergy Solutions

It has been a long time in coming, but spring is finally making somewhat of an entrance in the Pacific Northwest.  The weather is still rainy and cool, but the days are longer and the sun is actually making an appearance more frequently.  I don’t know why this surprises me every year, but my good old allergies start to kick in at the first bloom of springtime.  I think because winter, even though it’s dark and gloomy, does afford me a respite in the allergy department.

Tree, plant and grass pollen are filling the air, with the accompanying symptoms of sneezing, sniffling and swollen eyes.  My sinuses seem eternally stuffed up, resulting in that oh-so unattractive mouth-breathing at night.  I know that 24-hour non-drowsy allergy medications are available, and I do take them from time to time.  I don’t want to become dependent on medications though, preferring a more natural approach since it’s so ongoing.

What to do, what to do?  First thing, I am a committed neti pot user.  I religiously use it every day, and have been for years.  There is nothing quite like flushing out the nasal passages with salt water!  Once you start, it’s hard to stop; the instant clean feeling is quite amazing and quite addictive.  It’s perfectly natural though – I don’t think I am in any danger of having to go to neti pot rehab – well, at least I hope so!

I learned something new recently:  that applying petroleum jelly to the inside of your nostrils will trap pollen in your nose.  So, of course, I had to try this.  Being the natural, eco-conscious gal that I am (well, try to be), I really don’t like the idea of putting a chemical by-product up my nose, so I am using the Alba Un-petroleum Jelly, which is the same consistency of petroleum jelly but is made from pure plant oils and all natural waxes.  It helps keep the inner lining of the nose moist too, which just feels better.

First thing in the morning, and a couple times a day, I spray saline nose spray up my nose.  I use it to augment the action of the neti pot, and is more of a quick, nasal-moistening fix.  I find it works even better if I spray, wait 5 minutes, blow my nose and then spray again.   This seems to work more effectively for a quick nasal cleanse.

Yes, I do take allergy medications every now and then.  But since I’ve been practicing the more natural methods, my medication use has greatly lessened.  I haven’t had a sinus infection in years either.  I used to get them twice a year (fall and spring), with the resulting antibiotic use to clear it up.  I hate antibiotic use because it throws the body all out of whack.  I’m glad to be rid of having to take them anymore.

So gurgle, snort, spray and line your nasal passages!  They will love you for it!

~Marilyn Huttunen

Book Review: Are You Tired and Wired? by Marcelle Pick

As a Hay House New Release Reviewer, I recently read ‘Are You Tired and Wired?  Your Proven 30-Day Program for Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue and Feeling Fantastic Again’ by Marcelle Pick.  Available at Hay House.

I was really drawn to the book because, probably like most women, I lead a pretty stressful life and I know that it can affect the adrenal glands.  Over the past several years I have made a conscientious effort to try to deal with stress more effectively by healthy eating, meditation, and exercise.  And for the most part I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job on keeping my stress levels at bay.  But this book made me realize that I do have several things to work on for optimum health.

Marcelle Pick does an excellent job in this book by focusing in on where you are in the adrenal spectrum.  By answering questions honestly, you can find out if you have mild, moderate or severe adrenal dysfunction, and if you are a racehorse, workhorse, or flatliner.

She gives detailed instructions on exercises, emotional work, diet, and supplements for each of the adrenal profiles.  She also includes lots of yummy recipes for healthy eating on the road to optimal adrenal function.  I really liked how she profiled several women, and gave details of their lives, and what they did to overcome their stressful lives.

I especially enjoyed this book because Marcelle really goes into more of the scientific/medical explanations on how a stressful lifestyle affects the adrenal glands.  Written with warmth and practicality, this book deserves to be read (and practiced) by most women in today’s busy society.

~Marilyn Huttunen