Cowabunga 2014! A Colorado Girl's Guide to LA Travel

Cowabunga 2014: Summer Vacation to LA started off simple enough in the way most vacations do...Relentlessly fretting about wardrobe options, spending eleven hours picking out a swimsuit I’ll wear for two, and whimpering some more about wardrobe. As someone with maximum travel to New Jersey (the anti Surf’s up) and minimal travel to Los Angeles I had a strategy: Throw every summer item I own into the washer, steam wrinkles out. Throw in suitcase. Flawless. Off to Cali we go! 

Malibu (like totes): 

The Malibu beaches are truly incredible and majestic. We retreated to a semi private beach, where there was a only sprinkling of dudes and dudettes. Beautiful sand and water. I felt like Malibu Barbie (if Malibu Barbie was 34, brunette, 5’3” wearing a romper and “beach jewelry”). Long story made short, after seeing who could jump higher for a photo op the rental car key was propelled from a pocket (not mine, beach rompers don't come equipped) and- fists shaking at sky- was gobbled up by the Malibu sand. At least it was lovely ambiance while stranded for five hours. 

Beaches + Attire (in general): 

What does one do at the beach? Oh yes, that’s right...Chill. But what about when you get bored with chilling? Then what? And most importantly WHAT DO YOU WEAR? Yea, I may only know how to run screaming through the sand with my hands in the air like a seven year old after fourteen pixie sticks, but that holds a certain charm. It’s relaxing, in it’s own way. As a Colorado native I may not feel the “catch a wave” spirit of some, I managed to rock a Marc Jacobs formal dress to Laguna Beach (answering the time old question, is that a Marc Jacobs dress or a skirted swimsuit?)  I always wear a hat , a lesson my Mom taught us. 

Recreation (fun!) 

Go get a drink at the Culver Hotel. You’ll feel swanky, like you’re part of Old Hollywood, without the pretentiousness. Every munchkin from the Wizard of Oz stayed there during the filming of the movie. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for you. 

There were two recreational high points of the trip. One, was the Wi Spa in Koreatown, an experience that is in and of itself worthy of a trip to LA. The Disneyland of Spa’s, the facility boasts four stories, including a fabulous roof top deck, and an abundance saunas with various attributes that are tauted for health benefits. I personally love anywhere where you wear a uniform of elastic waist shorts. Hold tubs, hot tubs, whatever temperature suits your fancy. Open 24 hours a day- 7 days a week the Wi Spa is the perfect place to jump start a cleanse, or nap for 22 hours on a mat. 

Another must do is Cold Spring Tavern in Santa Barbara. It began as an actual stagecoach stop in 1886. The antique buildings have been protected for years, then in 1941 Cold Spring began it’s operation as a restaurant/tavern .The structures are quaint and you feel like you’ve been transported to a different time. There are two things I heard most about on this trip: The freeway traffic and Tri Tip sandwiches. What's a trip tip, ma? We don't have those in Colorado. Tri tip is cut from the point where the sirloin meets the round tip meets the flank. Or so I've been told. Tri tips cook on an open grill as you sip a PBR tall boy in the wooded mountains of Santa Barbara listening to country blue grass. After indulging in a sandwich you know why they are so legendary. The meat is cooked to perfection, and layered with horseradish and bbq sauce it’s rustic culinary experience that could certainly pass for gourmet. 

Love to stroll? There is no better location than the Mission Santa Barbara Rose Garden. The beautiful gardens give new meaning to "stop and smell the roses" as many sit, picnic, read and just enjoy the beautiful clusters of bright flowers.  And the view of the Santa Barbara Mission is pretty impressive as well. 

Food (let’s eat) 

Dining in LA is much like dining in any big city- only a bit more secretive. In New York you can wander off the subway and into the most amazing restaurants. In LA you have to have a clue where you’re going. My tour guide/driver/boyfriend is native to LA so he’s “in the know.” We had a vast variety of cuisine, from all sorts of ethnic to fresh seafood. In Koreatown at BCD Tofu House we indulged in lava like bowls of scorching tofu soup. When it arrives at your table in it's Dante’s Inferno-esque state, you crack a raw egg into it. The gratis "sides" include the best kimchi ever and a whole fried fish. Once you eat all of your rice, the bowl is filled with water and the burnt bits are scraped- those are delicious and smoky.

Sipping delicious, traditional matzo ball soup at legendary Canter’s Deli on Fairfax, you’re sure to overhear the musings of record excs in the next booth. Canter's is an LA staple and they're corned beef is simply divine. In Colorado we're corned beef starved, so at Canter's we tucked in to giant sandwiches and washed them down with a to-go selection of incredible cookies we proprietarily divided into threes. My sister has never been so over joyed when after a night out in Hollywood she discovered a random Canter's cookie that had not yet been eaten.

Overlooking the ocean in Santa Barbara at the full length bar it’s easy to induldge in one too many oyster shooters at Brophy Bros. Restaurant and Clam Bar (they’re booze free after all- unless you ask for yours to be topped off with vodka). And it is simply impossible to resist the Venice Ale House- I highly recommend chugging a beer then randomly order corn, and insisting on it to go. Corn Beach Break ended up being a near crate sized amount of corn smothered in queso fresco- aka the least convenient of all beach treats, yet 100% amazing. 

LA...We came, we saw, we ate, we drank, we frolicked, we conquered. By the end of the long weekend I was an California convert (at least to visit). See, who knew I was cowabunga after all? 

Back to School Bags

With back to school right around the corner, it's the perfect time to think about bags. Sure, shoes and jeans and cute coats are important, but what will you be using every day? Your bag. It needs to be roomy enough for function, but cute enough to go with all your outfits. And you can't get sick of it after two months. Here we show you our favorites for Fall 2014, all of which would look great on the CU Boulder campus. 

(details each row from L-R) 

Jansport Tie Dye Bag, $34.99 Embrace your boho inner hippie.

Modcloth Satchel, $184.99. A touch of preppy with a classic nod. 

Street Level Reversible Vegan Tote, $48. A “goes with everything” bag, with a conscious. 

Marc Jacobs Knapsack, $198. A designer bag that has every day appeal, in a price that won’t break the bank. 

Lesportsace Every Girl Tote, $98. A whimsical Mini Mouse pattern is sure to bring a smile to finals week. 

Mop Bag, $197. A chic, utilitarian bag that would look great with combat or heeled boots. 

Vintage suitcase, Free. Scour grandma’s attic for a 1960s inspired luggage. A kooky and unique way to carry your books around. 

Gotta Flurt Breakdown Neon Bag, $58. Taking it back to the old school. Conjure memories of your elementary school days in an ironic neon and denim carry all. 

Love LYFE (Kitchen)

     Occasionally, the event fairy smiles down on me, and I’m semi-cordially invited to something cool. The “event fairy” is actually my sister, who is (unfortunately, or fortunately for me) considerably more fabulous and socially connected. Still, I’m a reasonably decent plus one. I speak when spoken to. I golf clap. I laugh at everyone’s jokes, and even harder at hers. 

     On a recent evening we ventured to South Denver for the opening of LYFE Kitchen. See, I’m not much of a food writer. That’s Jessica’s job. I just tag along, snap a few pictures and grab some gluten-free pizza (delicious). Recently opened in Park Meadows, with a location soon to follow in Boulder, LYFE Kitchen (Love Your Food Everyday) is healthy and sustainable. The focus in on organic, when possible; antibiotic-free meats; loads of fresh, flavor-packed fruits and vegetables; and an assortments of offerings for special diets (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc). You can get Quinoa Buttermilk Pancakes to start the day, vegan Sweet Corn Chowder, or Art's "Unfried" Chicken with roast brussels sprouts. Everything on the menu is under 600 calories, which is a difficult task in today’s Awesome Blossom culture. And perhaps most importantly,it actually tastes good. Like, really good. 

      "All of us have concerns, whether it's allergies or following a vegan diet. And we all just want to eat delicious, affordable food that we don't have to worry about," LYFE's Executive Chef, Art Smith, said at the opening. 

      Ain't that the truth. 

      But there was a secret, covert, hush-hush reason I was thrilled to be attending the event. On not one, but three occasions while visiting New York City I have chased down contestants from Top Chef and Project Runway respectively to say (verbatim quote) “OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU!”  Usually this is extremely uncomfortable, although once time it nearly yielded a date. But I digress. As one of the masterminds behind the LYFE Kitchen menu, Art Smith was not only the personal chef to Oprah (THE OPRAH), he has cooked for Michelle Obama, and was ... wait for it ... a contestant on Top Chef Masters. On the show he was funny and delightful, and if given the opportunity to meet in real life I was fairly certain we'd become instantaneous besties. 

       I had difficulty remaining cool as an organic cucumber when I approached Chef Art Smith for a photograph, but I kept my photographic composure. “Can I see your purse?” he asked once he graciously took a picture. In this case, “Oh this old thing?” was an adept description. One of the first vintage items I began collecting years ago was 1960s kit bags. I’m drawn to anything glitzy and kitschy, and these unique purses are both full of history and totally wearable. “My grandma had one in the 1960s,” Chef Art Smith told me. “I think she may have made it.” The purses came as a kit, with glue and a pattern. We chatted amicably for a bit about the bag. “It was fun to see your purse, it brought back a lot of memories, thanks for that!” This was exciting stuff. 

      As my sister says, vintage makes people happy. And when you think about vintage and current food movements there are many parallels. At LYFE Kitchen, food is how is was years ago (but with a delicious modern twist), fresh from the earth, without additives, and healthy. Whether in fashion or food, everything that is once old eventually becomes new again. 


Frisk named 5280 Magazine's Top of the town

Some time ago we received a call at Frisk asking to confirm details about our business. Going into your tenth year? Check. Mother and two daughters- Donna, Jessica and Amanda, respectively? Check. You make all the jewelry in our store, from vintage pieces. Yes! And we waited... Who was behind this covert, fact checking phone call?

Then there was an email- 5280 Magazine mysteriously revealed there would be a "blurb" about Frisk in the July issue- so to keep a look out. 

The July edition arrived. While picking up Sunday night essentials (chapstick and strawberries) the newest issue sat on the stands. July! We flipped through the pages with purse rested on an end cap of paper towels....Much to our excited delight we had been named 5280 Magazine's Top of the Town for Accessories!

The reporters of 5280 Magazine spend months conducting research anonymously, heading into stores, checking out services, and the editors' choices are published in the magazine's popular Top of the Town issue. There was even a lovely pic of our Flowery Cuff- the perfect summertime accessory.   

We are so incredibly honored to be recognized by 5280 as one of their shopping Top of the Town picks! Click here to see a full listing of all winners 

Denver's Top Taco: Celebrate summer in style.

The taco craze has reached new heights in Denver and Boulder, where both the specialty/fusion and the authentic Mexican taco are experiencing newfound popularity, despite being a beloved food staple for many of us Colorado natives for years. As locals and taco enthusiasts ourselves, it probably comes as no surprise that the Frisk senoritas were elated when we found out about Denver’s first ever  Top Taco, a taco and marg competition on Thursday, June 26 at the Sculpture Garden at The Denver Performing Arts Center.   

What to expect: Delicious tacos from more than 20 restaurants, music from Sambadende (a Boulder-based band definitely worth checking out), and—of course—a tequila/margarita tasting. Arriba! 

Why we love tacos: well, they don’t just have flavor, they have flava. It seems to me that no two are ever the same, regardless of whether it’s a traditional street taco served with small white-corn tortillas, a perfectly cooked protein (fried Baja fish, carne asada, even grasshoppers) and simple toppings like jalapenos and radishes or a more creative, fusion-style found at some of Colorado’s newer restaurants. Either way, they always seem to be perfectly accessorized and easily customized to our tastes. Ah, don’t food and fashion have so much in common? It’s the very same each-is-unique concept that makes vintage so appealing to my senses.  

In honor of TopTaco, we searched through our archives for some of our in-theme favorites and emerged with 1960s and 70s Mexican peasant dresses and blouses, 1970s zodiac boots, and lots of vintage turquoise.  The embroidered detailing, vibrant colors, and lightweight fabrics make these picks so fun and wearable for summer 2014 (not to mention a flowy silhouette is great for eating when you really mean business … ehem, Thursday). 

As for which style (of taco) comes out on top, the competition is stiff. A few on our radar: The Source’s Comida, which specializes in ingredients like smoked gouda and sweet potato mash; a flavor-packed quartet from chef/restaurateur Richard Sandoval, including La Biblioteca, La Sandia, Zengo, and Tamayo; our long-time stomping grounds The Rio and Illegal Pete’s, the location of some of the photos shown here; Pinche Taqueria, the food truck that opened a brick-and-mortar location to bring authentic street tacos to the Highlands neighborhood; and one of Troy Guard’s latest restaurants, Los Chingones, which uses creative proteins like octopus and lamb neck. Fittingly, there are two categories: Top Traditional and Top Creative. Click here for a complete list of restaurants competing. 

We are most definitely ready to eat and drink. Now … what to wear? 

Top Taco is this Thursday, June 26 from 5:30- 9:30 for VIP and 6:30-9:30 GA. Sorry kids, this event is 21+. Denver Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Center, Speer Boulevard between Araphoe & Champa. Use code DAVTOPTACO2014 for 25% off your tickets! 

Photographed at Illegal Pete's on The Hill and the Flatiron Mural 

A walk in the park(let)

    We all know what a park is. And certainly in the City of Boulder there are no shortages of green spaces to sip a (fair trade, soy, reusable cup) latte and stare at idyllic scenery. But what, City of Boulder, exactly is a parklet? 

     A relatively new concept introduced in San Francisco, the SF parklet program is described as a place that “repurposes part of the street into a public space for people.” Through transformative power of imagination and creativity, something as mundane as a road becomes an aesthetically pleasing place to “chill”- replete with elements of an actual park- seating, plants and bike parking, all to be enjoyed in an urban environment. And best yet, I can shout my coffee order into the walk up window of Innisfree coffee shop without hardly having to move. Score. (note: I'm still looking into the logistics of Cafe Aion delivery to the parklet- it is, after all, three feet away). 

    In early March the City of Boulder invited members of the community- architects, designers, landscape architects, and anyone with a inventive spirit to create a vision of the first pilot parklet in the city. The winning parklet used the idea of repurposing in their urban retreat. Working with a combination of recycled doors, windows, floor materials and planters (many sourced from local business, The ReSource Yard) the space was transformed into an outdoor room. There is an exquisite attention to detail that makes the space feel like a living room for all that love Boulder culture- fresh grown herbs, wooden details and repurposed kegs- a nod to the craft beer culture of Boulder.   

    The six designers are all landscape architects who have worked together in some fashion over the past years. Local company Coalesce was responsible for welding and fabrication.  Sandy Brown, one of the designers behind the parklet, said the concept can be summarized by the phrase “Doors Open, Opportunity Knocks.” The space will be open from now until mid October. On The Hill we’re thrilled to be hosting the City of Boulder’s first parklet installation. Who needs a walk in the park when you can take a seat in the parklet? 

The parklet doors are always open

The parklet doors are always open

Boulder City Council Members Andrew Shoemaker, Mary Young and George Karakaehian at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the City of Boulder's first parklet. 

Boulder City Council Members Andrew Shoemaker, Mary Young and George Karakaehian at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the City of Boulder's first parklet. 

The fabulous design team behind the project : Susan Wade, Sandy Brown, Angie Nelson, Marleen Hagen and Josie Kohnert. Missing: Tracy Colling.

The fabulous design team behind the project : Susan Wade, Sandy Brown, Angie Nelson, Marleen Hagen and Josie Kohnert. Missing: Tracy Colling.

Everyday vintage

One of the things I’ve discovered after years of loving fashion, is that vintage makes people happy. Something about a one-of-a-kind print and nostalgic style creates a much more unique, fun look than an outfit just pulled off the rack. It’s a statement. And all thought-provoking statements lead to conversation. The problem: sometimes these prints and fabrics can seem un-wearable. But … don’t be a fashion coward. Make it your own, modernize it with your favorite accessories, and most importantly, wear it with confidence (you’re looking fuuynnne, I just know it). 

I love a seasonal vintage dress for spring/summer and this 1970s red maxi dress with gold detailing is one of my current favorites. I paired it with gold 1960s-1970s necklaces, textured layered bangles, and a chunky wooden heel. Plus, I mixed it up with a hand-tooled purse to give the feminine look a slightly rustic edge.   

Be bold and rock the vintage frock.

Photographed in front of the Boulder History Museum

How to Wear: Alexis Carrington Power 80s

A (Brief) History:

Shoulder pads are commonplace in many/most 1980s pieces. Fashion has an uncanny knack for repeating itself and this trend is no exception. The original roots of the shoulder pad appeared in the 1930s-1940s. As a reaction to the oppressiveness that was transpiring in Europe, designers began adding padding to women's ensembles, as a sign of subversion to the idea of "likeness." In America, women were now working in factories and had active roles in the economy, and padding in the shoulders became the aesthetic of power- quite literally it broadens the shoulders. 

In the 1980s there was a resurrection of the style. The bigger, more opulent and luxe, the better. This new found "power dressing" was adopted by fashionable women working to obliterate the glass ceiling of corporate America. The bigger the shoulder pad the grander the perception of power and position. 


How to Wear: 

When I first picked up this 1980s dress I was thrilled- could the look be any more Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan? It's white. It's ruched to the max. It has a cowl neck. A COWL NECK I SAY. And giant shoulder pads. To me this super Dynasty/Dallas glam is EVERYTHING.

...Then I tried it on.

It was, as my sister would say about many of my sartorial choices "a lot of look."

But I was determined to make it work (with vintage purchases that haven't been tried on steely resolve often settles in, in lieu of buyers remorse). I put together a chic, simplistic look I like to think of as "1980s Mad Max Meets Diaspora Chic Glam" (and that's after I took out a few reference points). Rather than play up the inherent fussy nature of the silhouette, I choose to style it accessibly for every day wear. 

I ditched heels in favor of simple, flat, dark hued gladiator sandals (these are $20 from Forever 21), plain vintage hoop earrings and my mom's original 1980s Ray Ban Aviators (which she said I could borrow for precisely two hours, and if I smashed them there would be hell to pay). Simple accessories- simple for someone who has a "more is more aesthetic"- modernized the dress. On my wrists I wore all of the gold vintage clamper bracelets I hoard and layer accordingly- an accessory nod to opulence. I decided a plain, tousled bun was a modern version of the Joan Collins coif- minus a million pounds of Aqua Net, back comb and hot rollers.  

The key to modernizing a look that is so iconic is to style against the expected...And if all else fails, you can always ditch the shoulder pads with a pair of scissors. 


Photographed by Meg Houlihan on The Hill. 

Like the look you see here? Shop more vintage looks on our Etsy Store, Frisk Vintage! 

A Brief History of the Maxi Dress

Oscar de la Renta was the pioneer when it came to the maxi dress. A lacy cotton version made for Elizabeth Arden was featured in the New York Times in 1968 and the rest, simply stated, is fashion history. The wardrobe in the film Dr. Zhivago helped solifidy the trend when Julie Christie wore flowing romantic maxi dresses, and maxi coats over trousers.

Some of De La Renta's earliest designs 

Some of De La Renta's earliest designs 

During the beginning of the 1970s YSL, Dior, Halston, Biba, Ossie Clark and Cardin hopped on board the maxi train and all came out with their own stunning versions of the trend. Lace and cotton gave way to bohemian look and prints, included vibrant paisleys. The Moroccan caftan also came into vogue lending an exotic and hippie chic look. During the 1970s the maxi made a cameo appearance on the disco floor but slinkier in form with platform heels and disco ball earrings- hello, 70s!

A traditional 1970s Maxi in Vogue. 

A traditional 1970s Maxi in Vogue. 

For two decades the maxi disappeared as other fashion trends became mainstays but now they are back to stay (at least for awhile). The maxi of the 60s and 70s had more lace and went down to the ankles. The maxi of 2014 is a bit longer- almost touching the floor, and the fabrics are soft and luxurious. This style has always been a trend to take fashion from day to night without skipping a beat. Lunch and shopping to dinner in the city. 

A modern and flowey Ralph Lauren maxi 

A modern and flowey Ralph Lauren maxi 

When I was in high school we were neither allowed to wear mini dresses, because they showed too much skin, OR Maxi dresses which looking back I can't imagine the reason for that rule. Guess extreme lengths didn’t bode well in NJ and naturally I was sent home for both. Now girls . Makes for a rounded fashion experience and a lot more freedom of expression. 

A 1970s maxi made modern

A 1970s maxi made modern

 For years the three of us have collected our favorite Maxi dresses- for a bit of fashion history and because they are so wearable, fabulous and easy to update with accessories. Here we've paired a classic 1970s maxi with our tribal beaded bracelets for a boho vibe that is so summer arm party. We've recently started selling pieces from our vintage fashion archives. Each of these well curated dresses are one-of-a-kind and totally wearable. Check out our selection of dresses in our Frisk Vintage Shop on etsy. 

Be fabulous, xo Donna 

Hippie vs. Boho Style

With Coachella soon approaching I began to think about the topic of Bohemian Chic vs Hippie Style. As a teen of the late 60s and seventies I always liked to fancy myself as a bohemian. Unfortunately, I ended up dressing more like a Jersey girl with a nod to boho- think fringed purses and bell bottoms. Loving the Four Seasons (Jersey Boys) as well as Jimi Hendrix showed you my loyalty in style was divided.

Me (left) in the 70s

Me (left) in the 70s

Hippie style is more simplified than boho. Floral crowns, tee shirts, long loose skirts with an Indian print and sandals or possibly sans shoes at all in the summer. Very fluid and flowy. Makeup is minimal and a peace sign whether on jewelry or a shirt is usually evident. The hippie ideology is a simplification of life, being happy with what you have and who you are.


Boho chic on the other hand has quite a bit more lux to it. The fabrics, the way everything is put together and perhaps the price tag too. Lots of turquoise on fingers and wrists, clothes either loose or tailored but quite fashionable. Necklaces are stunning pieces and eye-catching. Hamsas and evil eyes have become a staple of boho dressing and who wouldn't want to wear a sign that wards off evil and brings good luck anyway? Perfume provides the finishing touch and Heaven's Alchemy embodies the spirit of boho chic with its incredible packaging and exotic fragrances.


So whether you favor Hippie style or Bohemian chic, both  embrace the free spirited thinking that makes you wild, eccentric and a one of a kind woman.

Frisk Jewelry & Runaway in LA

Check out our Arrowhead Necklace featured on one of our favorite fashion bloggers Runaway In LA. NYU student, Nylon Magazine intern and editor-in-chief at Atelier Indigo magazine, 18 year old Kelsey Nguyen "lives in Disneyland, but sleeps in wonderland." She has fabulous personal style as well as a clever and charming writing style. We're basically obsessed with this blog- from her outfits, to the section "life" Runaway in LA covers in the ins and outs of the fashion industry as told through the eyes of a super stylish (and super smart) college student.

Here are a few of our favorite shots of her in the necklace at New York Fashion Week! We love this look SO much.

Check out the entire post here- Runaway In LA: monochrome

Check out the entire post here- Runaway In LA: monochrome

Cowgirl Up! Frisk Vintage & American Cowboy.

It's the holiday season! While you've been spending the fall tallying up who is naughty and who is naughtier (nice is a bit passé these days) we've been traveling around the west collecting vintage, hand tooled leather pieces. These unique, one of a kind make a great gift for any enthusiast of the wild west. Two of our Frisk Vintage hand tooled leather items are included in the American Cowboy holiday gift guide!American Cowboy

We're always excited to see our line in action, and around the same time our items were running in American Cowboy, our friend Jill Carter asked for Western pieces for a shoot she was working on. Shot on location in Fort Collins, Colorado, western wear never looked so good!

Frisk Vintage Hand tooled leather purse

Spirit of the Southwest


Frisk Vintage hand tooled bag

How the west was won

CREDITS Stylist and MUA - Jill Carter - Model - Victoria Olana - Photographer - Robert Hawthorne - Hair - Riley Vinnola -