Keeping Things Neat

My Hat

On Saturday evening four gal pals with a commitment to community service and a genuine interest in one of the world’s most popular liquors, headed to a South Tampa restaurant for a “Vodka Fest”. The event was to benefit Voices for Children/guardiam ad litem and promised more than 12 unique vodka samples with food pairings from a Cordon Bleu trained chef.

Bar Flies

As vodka is traditionally “drunk neat”, I felt compelled to “look neat”. So, of course, I wore a hat. It was a basic black straw hat. But I attached a large hot pink flower toward the front. I wore a white cotton “shorts suit” and added hot pink high heel sling backs. I felt smart and summery.

Children's Advocates

We elbowed our way to the bar and scored our seats, thanks to our friend John, who was prepared to thwart any angry Soviets who threatened our position. Our first samples were “peach tea” and “sweet tea” vodkas – a smooth and seemingly innocent start. .We blew through the “Huckleberry” and “Crystal Head” samples and proceeded to sling back two “eco-friendly” vodkas. I’m not sure how “friendly” it was to my own “ecosystem”. Is burning and choking a good sign?

Hat Groupies

I was then introduced to Patt and Carol, two hat admirers, who wanted to compare notes on the “Three Olives” vodka, a grapy “Purple” and an orange blend called “Rang Tang” All I can say is that , after the orange Rang Tang, I was feeling “Every Which Way But Loose”. Thank goodness for John, our designated driver. Patt’s husband graciously took, not one,but three pictures so that we would all look good in at least one of them! (“I’m ready for my close-up now Mr. DeMille”).

Sex and The City Girls

At this point I spotted the “Sex and The City” girls at the other end of the bar. I went over to visit and talk about hats. All four of them were very attractive and funny and they all said that they loved hats. As two of them were lawyers, a debate ensued as to who would be most like “Miranda” on “Sex and The City”. Is it Robyn, Claudia, Amy or Collete? If you know them, let me know what you think.

Travis

Next, our favorite bartender, Travis, poured us a hefty sample of the Stoli Elite vodka. Funny, these drinks were starting to go down very easily and I was even beginning to believe the descriptions – smooth, tongue-tingling, seductive, sumptuous, velvety, “just soft beautiful purity”. Have I developed a taste for drinking vodka “neat”? Or am I just neatly drinking too much vodka!

Floored by Vodka

I took my last sample, a vodka called “Hanger”, over to visit with a group of friends sitting in a leather booth. I think it should be called “Cliff-Hanger”, as I somehow slid off the edge of the booth and landed on the floor. John decided to turn this into a “photo-op”.

I guess if you’re going to end your evening falling on your “bottomside”, it’s a little better if your “topside” is wearing a hat!

Posted in Entertainment & Fashion, Ladies Hats | 2 Comments

Net-Working or Not-Working?

My Hat

When my friends and I attend a serious networking event, we go with open minds and a lively interest. However I must admit that having a piano bar nearby is like hearing “sirens” calling to a shipload of sailors. (And we are the sailors!).

Hat Fans

Nonetheless, we dutifully engaged in our first obligation – mingling, chatting and eating – and for me – talking about hats. Mine was a black cocktail hat with velvet-dotted netting bursting upward in a wide array, and a veil sweeping across the face. I wore a sleeveless, silk, print dress and patent leather slip-on high heels. I felt sleek and modern.

David

I immediately spotted my competition. It was a rare form of modern life known as the “well dressed male”. David’s ensemble was impeccable from head to toe. Oh my, you should have seen those shoes! It came as no surprise to learn that he owns a men’s clothier company.
A girl can only hope that he increased his client list at tonight’s event.

Deb and Amy

The “good news” this evening was “good news”. By that I mean that I was introduced to Deb from the Tampa Bay Weekender and Amy, a reporter/columnist for the St. Petersburg Times. The event itself was organized by Bill with the South Tampa Community News. As I have been lucky on occasion to appear in local newspapers wearing a unique hat, I am always happy to meet these creative people.

The Usual Suspects

Our guest speakers addressed the issue of “Promoting Your Event” for businesses. Although the information presented was invaluable, in my own little “World of Hats”, it seems that walking around wearing one and blogging about it to you is a good start! My website is “Coming Soon” and I can’t wait to show you my entire hat collection and share with you more of my hat tricks and secrets. Hats are making a comeback – so stay tuned!

The Three Amigos

Inevitably, we retired to the piano bar where Miss Kitty played our favorite tunes and our friend Bill attempted to accompany her with the “maracas”. He seemed to have entered some sort of “altered state” and I think he was actually “channeling” Desi Arnaz. Ever the good sport, our talented Miss Kitty endured the singing, on key and off, and I would bet my last “peso” that she knows the words and music to every popular song written in the last 60 years – even “The Mexican Hat Dance”!

Posted in Entertainment & Fashion, Ladies Hats | 3 Comments

Double-Dipping On the Party Circuit

My Hat

When invited to two events on the same night at the same time, most people would choose the one that sounds the most promising. But in our group, we just find a way to go to both.

We arrived an hour early at the “Zootini” cocktail party, another benefit with donations going to our local zoo. (You should definitely check out the July 26th People Magazine for a review of “Zoo Story”, a chronicle of the daily life of Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo).

DJ Felix

Easily able to get a seat, we were barely through our first glass of wine when we were approached by the unique Felix (“DJ Felix – In Da House”), a professional DJ and all around Event Producer. I was delighted when he wanted to take some photographs, especially of me in my hat.

Leinani and Shirley

It was a black felt hat with stiff netting all around, culminating in a net bow in the back, with a small burst of spikes shooting upward – a very unusual but pretty hat. In keeping with the theme, I wore an animal print cocktail dress with a matching shawl and very high open-toe dressy black heels. I felt vibrant and colorful.

Wilson and Michael

After much conversation with friends and with “Zoo Keepers” Tony and Leinani, we forged ahead to our next event, a Metro-Mixer at an upscale restaurant at International Plaza. Mingling in a private party room, we were treated to free “fuming” cocktails and delicious appetizers. The party was crowded and in full swing as we made our way around the room.

Metro Mixers

Knowing that in two weeks I would be attending, as a single girl, the “Celebrate Sinatra” formal affair – featuring a Big Band Orchestra – I was definitely on the lookout for potential dance partners. Thanks again to my hat, I met Ron, a resort host who would be attending the event. He promised to save me a dance. Next, I was introduced to Jason, a Communications Professional, with a charming smile and matching personality. He promised to give me at least one whirl around the floor.

Smooch

Ever the adventurer, I left the private room to check out the restaurant and other bar. To my surprise, I was scooped up by three hat admirers who were hanging out at the piano bar. Being described as a “hot girl” and enjoying a kiss on the cheek from one really handsome man can only be attributed to the wearing of a beautiful hat.

I returned to find my colorful friends chatting with a group of ladies. As I’ve told you before, I love to get hat compliments from other women and there were several of them tonight who claimed that I had inspired them to wear their hats more often (I’ll let you know when the new recruits show up in their hats)!

Designer Roberto Cavalli said that, with his fashion, “you really have to love life and live the style”. If you give it a chance, I truly believe that you will love the life and style that comes from wearing a beautiful hat.

Posted in Entertainment & Fashion, Ladies Hats | 1 Comment

Asian Flavor Meet and Greet

My Hat

My friends and I like to believe that we have a “multi-cultural” view when it comes to parties and food. This, and a looming cocktail hour, drove us to Thai Thani, a new Channelside restaurant, known for its tasty Springroll and Crab Rangoon appetizers. We sent our friend Carol ahead as a “scout” to grab us a table for four.  She was apparently struggling to hold her ground against other guests who wanted to sit down.  We walked in just in time, as she had resorted to faking phone calls to convince the waiter that three more people were really due at any moment. 

Carol (right)

This was a networking event and I, of course, was wearing a hat.  It was a straw hat, its edges bordered in black, a black ribbon and a gorgeous black silk organza flower in the front.   My dress was a pretty “business casual” style and I wore black leather high heel pumps.  I felt feminine and demure.

Brooks and J.P.

First to approve my hat were J.P. (John Paul) and Brooks, two very nice young men.  I proceeded to ask John Paul if he was named after a Pope and I asked Brooks if he was a “gentleman’s valet”.  Fortunately, they took the name jokes in stride.  We laughed and visited for some time and I didn’t feel, even a little bit, like a “cougar”.  Seriously girls – don’t consult a plastic surgeon – first, buy a few hats!  The right hat will make you look 10 years younger and you’ll find yourself meeting and chatting with attractive young men.

Gloria (left)

I always enjoy the comments and compliments from other women who like my hats. My friend Gloria was at the bar with two other friends. As they admired my hat, Gloria explained that we both used to belong to a downtown club and that she NEVER saw me without a hat! I’m sure that you are realizing by now that my affair with hats has been going on for a very long time.

Jerrold (left)

As I was passing by the bar, another group scooped me up to talk about hats. These three loved my hat and, somehow, engaged me in a conversation about “age”. Jerrold wanted to bet on who was the oldest. Let’s just say that, after they gave their birth years, I escaped before they could realize that I don’t play that game. You see, Hats = Fun = Youth!

Matthew (manager)

After much conversation with old friends and new, we took a tour of the lovely décor with manager, Matthew. We all agreed that the event venue and outcome deserved a “thumbs up”.

Bentley Loves Hats

As I drove home, I decided to stop for coffee with my friend John and his dog, Bentley. You have probably seen the movie with Diane Lane in which she looks for a date online. She believed that a good guy – “Must Love Dogs” (movie title). After an excited and affectionate greeting from Bentley, I have concluded that a good dog – “Must Love Hats”.

Posted in Entertainment & Fashion, Ladies Hats | 2 Comments

Whimsical Theme Party Hats

Birthday Hat

 Nothing beats a “Theme Party” in my book.  And what a bonanza for wearing a hat! I have several very special theme hats, like my “Carmen Miranda” hat, hats for movie themes like “South Pacific” and “Out of Africa”, and of course, vintage hats of the 40’s, 50’s etc.  I intend to show you all of these hats, and others, along the way.  However, I have recently had the opportunity to wear what I would call “whimsical” theme party hats.

 My friends gave a birthday party for me at a local Bayshore Restaurant.  I decided to wear my “Birthday Cake Hat”.  This creation is a black and pink feathered hat, designed with a faux cake on top, including candles!  It is worn on your head slightly forward and at a tilt.  I wore a black mid-length jersey dress with black Manolo Blanik open toe heels.  I have learned to invest in a few really good shoes that can be worn with many different looks.  They really do make a difference!

Birthday Friends

My outfit caused quite a ruckus ( in a good way ) in the bar before we were seated.  Much picture taking occurred and there were many questions and compliments for my hat.  I gave my friend Shirley a “Birthday Hat” for her party last year and I’m sure you’ll agree – she looks “saucy”!  You might think that it takes some serious “attitude” to wear such a hat but – believe me – after the first few compliments, you will feel just the way I did.  I felt cute and playful.

Shirley's Birthday Hat

 Last month, I had the pleasure of giving a party at my home for my two dearest male friends who live in Portland, Oregon.  David and Steve have been together for 18 years and this was the first time they have come to Florida.  I decided to give an “Island Theme Party”, complete with Margaritas, Steel Drum Music and Island Style Food.  The invitations started with the words “Hey mon….Come on over to de party………”

Margarita Hat

I wore my “Margarita Hat”.  What can I say? – it is a pink feathered hat with a faux Margarita on top, complete with glass, ice and a lime!  I wore a vivid print sun-dress with comfortable but cute sandals with heels.  All of my guests loved my hat.  I felt like singing with Jimmy Buffet.  (and later I did).

Dave (L) Steve (R)

This was one of the best parties I have ever had. It started at 4:00 and there were still guests here at 9:30PM. My secret weapon?  – the karaoke machine!

Don’t laugh – after many Margaritas and glasses of champagne and wine, friends who said that they would NEVER sing, were grouping up for sing-alongs and even grabbing the microphones away from each other!

Karaoke Groupies

 I hope you enjoy the pictures. Everybody was a star. Even without a hat!

Posted in Entertainment & Fashion, Ladies Hats | 1 Comment

“Zooshi” Cocktail Party

My Hat

In an effort to support our community, and a shameless quest for upscale  appetizers, my friends and I attended a benefit event at  new local restaurant.  It was a “Zooshi” cocktail party – inasmuch as the restaurant features an award-winning sushi menu and the ticket costs would be donated to our local zoo.

I wore a straw hat –but not just an ordinary one.  I used several “hat tricks” to create a unique look.  I rolled up both sides and tacked them.  I then took a beautiful feathered clip and easily slid it into one side of the hat so that the feathers burst out in the front and back.  My outfit was casual;   a long straight skirt and a colorful top (colors complimented by the feathers) and my signature high heels – this time in an animal print.  I felt absolutely “zoolicious”.

Ginny & Barbara

Several guests complimented me immediately and one gentleman asked to have his picture taken with “anyone who would wear a beautiful hat like that”.  But my spotlight was somewhat shifted toward my friend Barbara.  She was wearing a gorgeous jacket which screamed “pure elegance”.  Of course, Barbara always looks fabulous – no doubt because she represents a very upscale national clothing line and has exquisite taste in all things fashion!

No Zooshi For You

After much mingling and chatting – and several Cosmopolitans – I finally made my way to the appetizer station.  Well, I’m guessing that they fed the animals first because it was “NO ZOOSHI FOR YOU” by the time I got there.

Nonetheless, the evening was a success.  The zoo coffers are fuller and there were lots of hat questions and compliments and new friendships to pursue. 

Fellow Zoo Supporters

I hope you are enjoying my hat adventures so far because – believe me – I’m just getting started.  I have many hats to show, stories to share and many tips on how to wear, accessorize and enjoy your hats!

Posted in Entertainment & Fashion, Ladies Hats | 1 Comment

Networking at My Favorite Italian Restaurant

My Hat

I was invited, along with a number of my friends, to a social networking event at the restaurant. I wore a very special hat. It’s a black satin cocktail hat with a bow angled in the back and a net that sweeps gently across the face – oh so elegant. My friend Carey picked out a simple, straight black dress that she felt was perfect for this hat. She was right. After adding the very high patent leather peep-toe heels, I felt very chic.

My friend Shirley suggested that we go to the event an hour early in order to get a seat at the piano bar. She loves to hold court there, sipping her slightly dirty martini while her countless friends amble over to hear one of her latest “stories”. She has many stories… Sometimes I think she’s as good as Meryl Streep in “Out of Africa”.

Shirley

I, of course, was there for the hat compliments. I was the only one wearing a hat, which is typical for my outings. I hope to change this as you read my blog and you recognize that wearing a hat can come with some interesting and fun benefits.

Mark

I can report that, as expected, I had many good conversations. First to approach me was Mark who worked for a carpet company. To quote a famous line, he had me at hello. Maybe because he used words like “exotic” and “mysterious”, and actually meant it. I mean, really, could you walk away? He explained that his father had owned Hickles Department Store, in Lancaster Ohio, and that their hat department had more than 1000 hats in stock. I could hardly imagine such a big “hat playground” and it’s a good thing that my paycheck and that store never got to know one another.

Why is it that at every cocktail party there is at least one jerk (picture not included) in the room? I met this guy I’m referring to once before and he seemed a little frisky then, but no warning lights went off. I won’t name names, but if he reads this blog – Keep your hands off of my derriere!  Meeting me a second time doesn’t give you an invitation…

Randy

Another guy who commented on my hat bought me a glass of wine. He then introduced me to Randy Crowder. Randy is a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer football player. He was interesting to talk to and had a great sense of humor. As I spoke with him, I wondered, if they miss the “Glory Days” – the fans, the excitement, the notoriety?

There are several advantages to sitting at the piano bar if you are lucky enough to have one somewhere in your city. It makes it easy for your hat admirers to just walk up to you and offer to buy you a drink. Also, you may have a talented and wonderful artist like Kitty who will let you sing.

Kitty

If hats are my first love, and they are, singing is my second. Not that I’m very good, but it’s such a thrill to sing some of the songs that my mother used to play on her piano.

Listening to piano music – Wonderful. Singing with piano music – Fabulous. Singing with piano music wearing a hat – Priceless!

Posted in Entertainment & Fashion, Ladies Hats | 4 Comments