Thursday, December 30, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

I think it's safe to say 2010 has been a difficult year for all of us - job losses, sickness, bankruptcy, deaths, break ups, breakdowns and the list goes on...  I believe 2011 will be better and brighter.  The adversity in our lives and the difficult times only makes us stronger.  It is during these challenging times we have the greatest wisdom to learn.  Problems won't disappear, but we can navigate a new path to make things manageable.  Lets look forward to a new year with optimism of new good things to come.

I wish you health. And more than wealth. I wish you love. 

Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas in Vermont

This year my family wanted to do something different for the holidays.  My brother gets a place in Killington, Vermont for the skiing season every year and he graciously invited us to come stay with him.  The scenery was absolutely gorgeous.  The snow covered mountains and wooded bridges were so charming.  We checked out the skiing resort, the quaint small town Woodstock VT, and hung out at his house by a famous trout stream.  We kept the wood-burning fireplace full stocked.  As we were driving across New York State into Vermont a billboard read, "Yes, even gas stations are nicer in Vermont."  I thought it was pretty funny, but it's seriously true!  Christmas night was spent stargazing.  The darkness in the woods surrounding the house was free of light pollution so we really had an amazing opportunity to enjoy the winter sky.  I had an amazing time with family - old and new.

What's the best gift for the holiday season?

KINDNESS!  This is the kind of gift that doesn't cost anything, you can give it everyone, and it keeps giving.  It's limitless.  The other day I was brushing the snow off my little 1997 compact car after work.  It only takes me a minute because my car is so small. After I was done I realized the women next to me in their 40s-50s were still trying to clear the snow off their cars.  I quickly jumped right in and started brushing the snow off.  It brought me such joy to see their reactions.  They thanked me and smiled.  It's these little actions that make us feel like a community and help to spread joy to everyone around.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Healthier Gingerbread Cookies

Above are some of my gingerbread cookies - freshly cut out dough.  The aroma of gingerbread fills the air when you bake these babies.  I used a Betty Crocker gingerbread cookie recipe but substituted honey for brown sugar and used whole wheat flour instead of white.  Instead of using sugary frosting I used raisins to decorate the cookies.  This is a guilt free way to enjoy the holidays!  mmm delicious!

The Gingerbread Man Story
Run Run Run as fast as you can
You can't catch me
I'm the Gingerbread Man

To make cookies from scratch:


  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 stick butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting work surface
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Cream the honey and butter until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs and molasses and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine with a spoon or spatula.
Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap; place in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, until pliable. Take about 1/2 cup of dough at a time and roll onto a floured board until about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out with gingerbread boy and girl cookie cutters. You can re-roll the scraps. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies from the board to the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 minutes, until just beginning to brown at the edges. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
To decorate, add three raisins down the front of the cookie to serve as buttons.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Holidays from Rice Rafferty!

Do you have any fun plans for the holidays?  The holidays can be a magical yet stressful time.  Try to remember nothing is perfect and to make the most of every moment! Are you baking any special treats?  To me the food makes the holidays.  I made some thumbprint cookies and plan to make gingerbread cookies and spritz.  I love the traditional recipes passed down in my family.

Have you wrapped any gifts yet?  Here's an eco friendly gift giving idea - try wrapping your presents in fabric this year to eliminate waste.  You can use the fabric again and again.

We have lots of new hand dyed velvet devore skinny scarves on our website.  Don't forget our devore is completely homemade, so your scarf is one of a kind. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Evening Look for Winter

I'm not one who wants to look like everyone else especially when I'm going out for a special evening.  This is the look I choose for a winter party.  This look can take you from Christmas to February parties. I believe in investment shopping.  I want clothing and accessories I know will last, so I can mix and match the items for years to come.  All of these accessories above can be added to a casual look like jeans and a t-shirt to dress it up.  I know this look is best for warmer climates, but a gal can dream, right? :)

Grey Dress - Jcrew Silk Chiffon Juliet Dress - $180
Purple Red Devore Scarf - Rice Rafferty Handmade Devore Hand Dyed Velvet- $45
Metallic Gold Shoes - Alexandre Birman
Metallic Silver Snake Skin Embossed Hand Bag - BCBGeneration Maya Clutch - $48
Rhinestone Cluster Earrings - Ann Taylor

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Buffalo Botanical Gardens

A beautiful sleigh filled with Christmas gifts at the Buffalo Botanical Gardens

me - dancing around
During the cold and snowy Thanksgiving 4 day weekend I felt like hibernating and designing.  I managed to get out a few times though.  One of my favorite visits was to the Buffalo Botanical Gardens.  Being in the warm, earthy environment makes you feel alive again.  The gardens included desert, jungle, and Japanese style gardens.  Christmas decorations were all around - toy trains, poinsettias, sleds, Christmas lights, and Christmas trees.  Winter is such a great time to check out your local Botanical Gardens for some inspiration.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Black Friday Madness 2010

Did you go out for Black Friday?  Find any amazing deals?  I have never been out in the middle of the night for black friday.  This year I got so excited while designing this festive Black Friday ad (see above) that I decided to get out there and see what this black friday business was all about.

After cooking Thanksgiving dinner I took a disco nap, followed by a few cups of coffee then headed out the door.  We drove to the Niagara Falls Outlet Mall.  There were surprisingly a lot of people on the road.  Once we arrived I was astonished the parking lot was packed solid.  We had to park in a parking lot across the road and proceed to run across the street to the shopping center. Canadians love coming to this shopping center too so it was extra crowded.  There were police on patrol at the entrance.  We luckily missed some riff raff that occurred moments before our arrival.  We entered the shopping center around 12:15 ad it was jam packed.  Any store that had a huge line outside the door (like Coach, Juicy Couture, Bath & Body Works) we quickly walked by it.  We went to stores that weren't as crowded.  The environment was stuffy and hot because there were SO many people.  I bought a few items from Ann Taylor and Brooks Brothers as Christmas gifts.

I'm happy I went and saw the spectacle of people.  The items I purchased were smart, not impulse buys.  I can see how people may over shop in environments like this - you begin to feel irritable, tired, and hungry, but you tell yourself, "i'm here so i might as well buy something".  You become like a hungry animal in search of a great sale.  I bought some excellent quality items at decent prices (I'd rather spend more for good quality than buy cheap clothes for $5 a piece).  We left around 3:00 am and I began to feel sick from lack of sleep.  Next year, I think I'll sleep in and if I need something I'll order it online.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Make Thanksgiving a Part of Every Day

Happy Thanksgiving from Rice Rafferty!  I have so many things to be thankful for this year.  We hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday. This four day weekend was action packed.  I cooked the Thanksgiving dinner for five people and I went with an organic, free range turkey (mmm mmm worth every dollar).  The more I make Thanksgiving dinner the easier it gets. 

Throughout Thanksgiving day I switched between making dinner and creating more accessories!  We're getting ready for our holiday sale at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA.  Dec 4 - Woodland Road, Mellon building 1st floor, between 1-4pm.  Pittsburgh is our hometown so we always enjoy going back for a visit.  We have designed new handmade headbands, bib necklaces, and earrings.  The bib necklaces now come on a board for easy hanging or wear if you dare.  WARNING:  When you wear a Rice Rafferty accessory you will get noticed. 

Our accessories are completely one of a kind - made from up cycled materials, hand dyed, and designed for you with love.  Hope to see you there!  If you can't make it you can contact us directly or visit the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts or Burchfield Penney Museum gift shop.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rice Rafferty Accessories November 2010 Photo Shoot

Our Rice Rafferty photo shoot with the photographer Jessica Elizabeth was amazing.  It was a magical day.  Our fashion stylist Liz Szeluga found inspiration from the JCrew 2010 Lookbook, Marc Jacobs Spring 2011, Alexander McQueen 2010, Ecco Eco, and Confetti System.  Liz was my right hand person helping with hair ideas, makeup, inventory, organization, and style ideas. We decided to go with a blood orange matte lipstick - Revlon, and natural looking eyes with minimal makeup.  We wanted the look to have a vintage flare with a modern twist to work with our accessories.  Rice Rafferty accessories are inspired by dancer/ballet clothing, old hollywood glam, and current influences. 

The day started off with a flat tire and my makeup artist who sadly canceled (because her son was sick) and ended with magic.  The photo shoot was a complete success and that's what happens when you have a hard working, creative, and passionate team.  Liz Szeluga and I started the day by getting everyone's makeup ready.  Once everyone had the uniform blood orange lips we were ready for hair.  For the hair I wanted a soft, romantic look.  Carolyn Holmes Harbison, a hair stylist and makeup artist, came prepped with every hair styling and makeup tool one could imagine.  Carolyn's hairstyles included a soft braided up-do, a bun, long soft curls with braids pulled to one side, and soft curls with bangs framing the models face beautifully.  Carolyn nailed the look!

One by one we got models prepped and they were ready to accessorize.  Liz helped me dress and style the models.  It was a great time intuitively coming up with color combinations and deciding which scarf with which necklace or hair piece.  One of my favorite looks was the lace on lace.  I also love the combination of the bib necklace and a devore scarf.  Rice rafferty accessories are so interchangeable.  We brought hand dyed devore scarves, long and short tutu with fiber optic lights, hand stitched bib necklaces, and headbands with feathers and up cycled jewelry.  Most of our looks were wedding and dance inspired. 

Our photographer Jessica Elizabeth has an eye for accessories and fashion.  I knew she would be the perfect photographer for this shoot.  Jessica photographed from so many interesting angles which really helped make the accessories the focal point.  Our models all brought something unique to their photos - Bri - bright innocent modern yet vintage look, Tina - was regal and mysterious,  Laura - brought a sexy look and flexible ballet moves, and Christian - was confident and glamorous.

Rice Rafferty is a company for women by women.  As our company grows we are giving back to our community.  We print our business cards and marketing materials locally in Buffalo, NY.  We buy our materials locally and work with local photographers, models, and stylists.  Thank you to everyone who made it a magical day!  We can't wait for the next fashion photo shoot!

Visit us at

Friday, November 19, 2010

Shoe of the Moment

The shoe trends for Winter 2010-2011 are very high or pancake flat shoes.  Above is my favorite trend right now - the hidden platform high heel.  This is perfect for us shorter girls because it gives the illusion of height.  UGGs are still very popular - now in new colors, looks, and styles.

BCBGirls Parade Platform Pump - pick from a variety of colors and textures.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mood Fabrics from Project Runway

Mood Fabrics was so inspirational!  As many of you may know Mood Fabrics is the fabric shop on the hit television show Project Runway.  Mood is located in Manhattan, fashion district.  The store is two floors full of luxurious fabrics and trims.  I felt like a kid in a candy store.  My favorite part was meeting Denise, a worker there, who was also a textile design major at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology).

We discussed our education, backgrounds, and interests.  Denise told me about her experience working as a temp at Express.  She felt it was a little too corporate for her.  I appreciated her honesty.  One of the most important things when beginning your career is to know about YOURSELF and what kind of environment you can really thrive in.

She told me about Amy Butler textiles which I love!  Amy Butler's designs are Midwest Chic.  She uses a beautiful color palette and exquisite designs full of rich hand painted textures.  If you live in Buffalo, NY you can purchase the fabrics on Elmwood Ave at Elmwood Village Fabrics (which was featured at the Mass Appeal Fashion Show 2010 in the wearable art segment).  Elmwood Village Fabrics is a great place to go for inspiration if you're feeling stuck on your next project.

Visiting Mood Fabrics reminded me of my old days at the University at Buffalo hanging out in the costume/theater closets drawing shoes, hats, and accessories.  I found such peace surrounded by these fashion items.  Do you ever have those aha! moments (as Oprah calls them)?  Those moments when everything in the world starts to make sense?  That's how I feel when my graphic design, marketing, and fashion background all come together.  Every little experience adds to where you will go and what you will be.

In our studio
Right now at Rice Rafferty we're preparing items for our holiday sale at Chatham University (Chatham College) in Pittsburgh, PA.  We're also getting ready for an upcoming fashion photo shoot - more details soon.  I'm also planning a trip to Toronto soon to investigate their fashion district and report back.  Does anyone have recommendations on where to go?  I also want to check out their shoe museum!

And Yes, the above textile is designed by me.  I hand painted flower motifs and created a repeat pattern.   You can also learn how to do this by taking a textile design class at Buffalo State College, which is one of the best in the United States for fashion.  The class is taught by the head of the fashion department Professor Elaine Polvinen.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The FIT Museum Luxury Collection

What is luxury to you?  Egyptian cotton sheets?  A manicure?  A $400 pair of shoes?  A couture gown?  Luxury changes with the eye of the beholder and with the times.  Above are some of my picks of Etsy luxury for 2011 from  The items range in price from $90 -340.  The shops are Ouma, Myrakim, Gimmenicole, and Ashesandempires.

Since I was a young girl I would dream of visiting the FIT campus and years later I finally got to see it.  I remember reading an article about the Fashion Merchandiser for the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in 1998 which lead to my research of FIT.  I thought wow what a cool job!  I want to do something like that!  The FIT Museum is a fascinating place to visit.  Everyone from fashionistas to historians will enjoy it.  I love seeing the evolution of fashion throughout the years.

The collection we went to see was about Luxury.  Coco Chanel once said simplicity does not mean poverty.  Her goal was to bring high fashion to every woman's life.  Coco saw the value in the less is more philosophy.  She placed emphasis on luxury and minimalism.   There are many degrees of luxury.  Lavish fabrics, trimmings and embroidery.  It is thought we live by and for luxury.  Luxury tends to show class distinctions. 

Fashion, like most things tends to repeat itself and go through cycles.  Fashion is influenced by the economy, politics, technology, and environmental concerns.  The collection at the FIT Museum emphasized that luxurious things can often be the most simple.  This was my first time seeing the authentic dresses and women's dress suits by Coco Chanel.  Some of the items I remember most were the Chanel dresses and flapper 1920s dresses.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mass Appeal Fashion Show 2010 Review

Mass Appeal is a fashion show to benefit the Elmwood Village of Buffalo, NY inspired by Project Runway.  It's Buffalo's Fashion Week!  Buffalo, NY has become fashion central.  Buffalo is in close proximity to Toronto, Niagara Falls, and the Finger Lakes bringing in multicultural influences to a creative hardworking community.  Buffalo State College offers one of the best fashion programs in the United States, so it's no wonder Buffalo is now fashion mecca.

The fashion show included local shops and designers.  The event was sponsored by Sorrento Cheese.  Some of the shops included were Half & Half, Anna Grace, Splash Panic, and Anatomy. The designers were Morgen Love, Clementiny, Atelier, Holly Hue Clothing, Aella, among others.

The overall trends from the fashion show were recycling and up cycling (which we strongly support through our Rice Rafferty accessory designs).  There was also an idea of extremes - casual street wear to dressy couture gowns.  High waist dresses, lace gloves, empire waists dresses, big belts, fur coats, and lots of big jewelry.  Old style Hollywood glamor is making a huge comeback.  We're a society deprived of formal dressing and we now crave it (at least I know i do).  I'm always looking for an excuse to dress up.

The show opened with boys in t shirts and jeans with painted faces and holding baseball bats.  Next up my favorite, couture gowns, wearable art, tattooed men wearing g strings and the show ended with a circus performance.  It was really quite a show!  The wearable art segment was my favorite.  Inspired by Project Runway, artists made dresses to represent local shops using the materials from that shop - materials used were books, egg cartons, jewelry boxes, and garbage bags.

After the show I headed to The Chocolate Bar to celebrate my best friend's birthday.  We enjoyed white chocolate martinis, brie cheese, crab cakes, and a chocolate volcano.  Overall it was a very decedent and glamorous evening.  Marie Antoinette would have approved.

Kristen and I after the fashion show.  I'm wearing the Rice Rafferty Celebration Bib Statement Necklace!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Color Association of the United States

Color has the ability to set the mood.  Color can entice hunger, cause relaxation, and even create anxiety.  Color has proven to be the number one way to drive performance and create a positive impact for a company.

The Color Association of the US was founded in 1915.  The association delivers color forecasting knowledge to many industries throughout the world.  Its headquarters in New York City began with the specialty of fashion - specifically textile manufacturers; items like hats, gloves, and hosiery.

While I was visiting the office, we were told of the Childrenswear trend for Spring 2009 - Summer of Love - clothing and accessories receive a 1960s influence with faded pastels and worn fabrics.  As you've seen the 1970s trend soon followed with earthy tones, avocado green, brown, orange, vegetable colors (this has become such a huge trend because of new eco friendly mindset).

Trends in color are spurred by people wanting change.  People get tired of the same colors after a few years.  What colors are you sick of right now?  I've tried to minimize black in my wardrobe and I've turned to gray as my new favorite neutral.

The color trends for men in 2009 were deep red, navy, brown, gray - cotton tweed fabrics - casual every day - down to earth look.  Menswear tends to stay in this earth tone realm because men love earth tones.  To look for the hottest trends look at street wear - what are the young kids wearing?  Also look to NYC - Soho, Lower East Side, Tribeca, and the Meat Packing District.  I see a huge contrast between casual dressing to very dressy and sophisticated.  Recent fashion revivals of the 80s and 60s have influenced everything from leggings, jeans, long over sized blouses, thicker belts, to chunky heels.  Women's fashions have the most color stories aka colorways.

Green is emerging right now and will slowly become more accepted.  Organic cotton is huge with the organic food, fruits, vegetables, cereals movement.  As places like Whole Foods becomes more accepted this changes all other markets as well.  Organic cotton is cotton that hasn't had pesticides so the fabric has a grainy, off tone look.  Colors for 2009 - rock crystal and vegetable gardens.  What has been growing in your garden?  These are the hot colors of today!  Fashion is about mindset.  Political, social, and economic concerns heavily shape and influence fashion.

What are some intimidating colors?  I picture navy, charcoal, black.  I took a social psych class in college where we discussed how certain sports uniform color were banned because they were too intimidating looking.  That's why the basic black became so popular.  It was a quick, simple way to give yourself a sophisticated look in the work place and be taken seriously.

The Color Association of the US has a committee that chooses the color trends.  They get inspiration from museums, travel, moods, streets, and politics.  As Coco Chanel once said, "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."  Go outside today and see what speaks to you.  Have a very creative day!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Donegar Group

The next stop on our fashion trip was The Donegar Group, a fashion trend company founded in 1946.  The environment was pristine, very corporate and professional.  Our fashions today are a mix of yesterday and today.  To prove this point.  Check out the list of trends from Autumn 2008 and how relevant these trends still are today.  It takes awhile for trends to reach the general public - it's a trickle down process.  At first glance we typically reject trends, but the more we see the trends we begin to accept them.  For example, I was always anti UGG boots and after 6 years of seeing these boots EVERYWHERE I began to wonder - how great are these boots?  Two weeks ago i tried on a pair of Uggs for the first time and damn, they're pretty comfortable!

Womens trends - striped blazer, cargo pants, striped top, double breasted jacket, bubble skirt, navy blue, piping or banding on skirt, knit tops, turtlenecks knit tops. 

Mens trends - more polished and dressed up. V-neck argyle sweater, Mr. Rogers sweater (this is fun because i'm from Pittsburgh, the home of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood), peace scarves, military pins

Childrenswear trends - Catholic school look - tie backwards, shirt out - rebellious catholic school look (Gossip Girl totally worked this look)

Color - lots of black & gray, red added to basic black outfit, bat wings, red pants, navy and black combination, eyelet, rich jewel tones - amethyst/purple, rich colors - magenta, fuchsia with black, brights and neutral.  Greens against bronws - green leather. (i see this as an influence on the peacock trend now)

Issues and Objects & Desires
texture, long furs, feathers savage chic
new fabrics - plastic resin
luxe pink - pyrania studs on jeans, belts, earrings (now it's zippers on purses, wallets, belts, etc)
metal objects - metallic
Art Deco & Bauhaus - drop waist, color blocking
Art Deco accessories - hats, jewels
lumberjack plaids
denim - wide and skinny
white - all year
ankle zips, twisted seams
layering - adjusting to weather
cap sleeves, salt and pepper jacket
menswear trend - boyfriend cardigan, boyfriend pant
celebrating in style - pleats and ruffles, tuxedo jackets and shirts
the 70s - Farrah Fawcett hair flip, t shirts, bow blouses
kids - hippie style

Statement Makers
sleevless/short cut sleeves with gloves, driving gloves, berets, satin footwear, clutches are larger. Feminized oxford shoes, scarves go much larger

The biggest trend since the economy tanked is investment dressing - reinvested classics.

New retailers - Luella, Twenty&Twelve, Jack Wills University Outfitters, fabulously British clothing (new competition for Abercrombie because it's more polished and sophisticated.  I really dig it!)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

For Your Baby, Trust Fund Baby

Have you ever heard of Trust Fund Baby?  The hip, little shop opened in 2004.  Trust Fund Baby specializes in childrenswear.  Many celebrities buy clothing from Trust Fund Baby for their little ones.  The store is decorated like a really cool apartment.  Very homey.

Trust Fund Baby designs and manufactures.  Items are manufactured in Hong Kong, Turkey, and Italy.  They have shop locations in NYC (239 Elizabeth St. NYC 10012) and Atlantic City (The Pier at Caesars).  No advertising.  They rely on word of mouth.

The owner's background is in wholesales, sourcing, and merchandising for Armani.  She dropped out of school after 6 months.  She started off faxing for people, buying them coffee, and worked her way up.

The owner said when she interviews people she asks about their culture and family.  Interesting approach, right?  Like her clothes, her business is about the people and it makes sense to create a team of like minded employees who have similar values in family and the celebration of our differences and similaries.

KEY TO SUCCESS FROM TRUST FUND BABY OWNER - Work back.  See where you want to be, then see what you need to work there.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Concrete Jungle

In Autumn 2008, I took a jetblue flight to NYC with fellow Buffalo State College fashion students.  We toured the hottest fashion companies and museums in Manhattan - Trust Fund Baby, The Donegar Group, The Color Association of the US, The FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) Museum, Mood Fabric, WWD, Vivienne Tam, Design Tex, Target, and Diane Von Furstenberg.

We ran around Manhattan 3 days straight up early and to bed late.  It was a really interesting experience being able to see inside the companies, behind the scenes at their store fronts, touring fashion museums, and running around the fashion district.  Any time a rack of clothes was sitting nearby my heart would skip a beat.  We saw everything from the hottest most expensive trends to the clothing vendors down on the streets and in vans selling a knock off Prada for $20. 

Some highlights:
-When we were visiting WWD, Ricky Lizalde, Project Runway Season 4 contestant, happened to be there so he came in to talk to our group. He was dropping off some dresses.
- While drooling over the fabric at Mood I was talking with a worker there, also a fashion student, about how much i love textiles.  She recommended Amy Butler and Ms. Butler's designs have been my favorite ever since.

My fascination at the time was textile design...little did I know I'd be working at a fashion trend book company, art directing photo shoots at a kitchen appliance company, and starting my own cottage industry, rice rafferty couture accessories.  The more we go out there in the world and try various jobs, and meet people we learn where we fit.  Every experience is valuable whether we see it or not.

I'll be posting a separate post about each company I visited soon, so I can give you a more in depth description of each experience.  I loved going to each place and observing the vibe - like when you go on interviews and you think "I can see myself here." It's funny how the congestion on the streets of Manhattan, aka the concrete jungle, give me flashbacks of the tall towering trees from Lake Tahoe.  Both are completely different - one serene, one hectic, but both give a similar vibe.  :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mass Appeal; An Elmwood Village Fashion Phenomenon

It's that time of year again, YES!  the Mass Appeal Fashion Show is this friday in Buffalo, NY.  Mass Appeal is the place to see and be seen.  I've been going the past two years and I always look forward to the next fashion show.  Mass Appeal is a high quality fashion show, very hip, like something you would expect in New York City, but with real people as models.  Mass Appeal is hosted by the talented Erin Habes, a Buffalo State graduate.

In May I was part of Runway 3.0 for Carol Ann Rice Rafferty's beautiful ultra feminine warrior collection, but it's seriously just as fun watching from the audience.  Dare I say it's a magical experience.  The DJ's Shock & Awe play only the newest music and keep a great energy throughout the entire show.  The clothing is mostly from the boutiques on Elmwood Avenue as well as designs made by local designers.

This year I heard there's a wearable art segment which should be interesting since I've been creating a lot of wearable art.  Ahem, where was my call to be in the show?  haha  but seriously it's a really fun time!  I'm going to check out the show for makeup, accessory, and hair ideas for upcoming rice rafferty photo shoots.  So come one, come all to the Mass Appeal fashion.  You'll love it whether you're a model, actress, fashionista, artist, or someone looking for a fun friday night out on the town.  Dress to impress! 

Friday, November 5 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm

LocationLafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church
875 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY
$30 a ticket

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why be negative when you can be positive?

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.  -Albert Einstein

When faced with a difficult circumstance you have two choices - be positive or be negative.  It's just as easy to be negative as it is to be positive, so why not be positive?  Rice rafferty is faced with some challenges, but we're ready.  We will put on our warrior headbands go full speed ahead.  Always advance...never retreat.

We're working hard like little elves in the rice rafferty studio and most importantly we're having fun!  We designed new headbands for the ultra feminine warriors. 

Headbands made from up cycled silk, tulle, jewelry elements, and feathers. We can make custom designs for weddings. One for all your bridesmaids. We can use different hair clips/combs, colors, feathers, jewelry elements (rhinestones, pearls, silver, or gold) - you design it!  Each piece is one of a kind.  We are also working on veils, cake toppers, garters, corsages, boutineers, and wedding bouquets.  We'd love to be part of your special day.  Send us a message to learn more.  :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

When Your Fear Becomes Reality

What do you do when your worst fear has become a reality?  My mom just got the results from her surgery and she has breast cancer.  It's hard to even type the words.   How ironic is it my mom gets diagnosed with breast cancer in October, breast cancer awareness month?  It's times like these that you realize we really have no way of protecting the ones we love.  We can only show our love for each other and hope for the best.

When I was a little girl my biggest fear was my mom would get sick.  I'm sure every child has this fear.  You wonder who would take care of me?  I knew there was nobody else would take me in and if they did i'd become like Cinderella and the ugly stepsisters.  Now this fear has become a reality.  I'm an adult and can take of myself, but everyone wants their mom to be healthy.   

She followed what they say to do - breast feed, mammograms for years, eat a healthy diet, stay away from harmful chemicals (she never dyed her hair), have children when you're young.  Yes, breast cancer runs in my family, but even those who don't have it in their family run a high risk.  Environmental factors are increasingly becoming a culprit.  It seems like a lot of people have cancer right now.  Is our medical system really working for us?  Are there things we can do now to prevent illnesses/disease?

I'm happy that family has been and will continue to be a priority in my life. I don't have a lot of family members, but the ones I do have I'm extremely close with.  I'm trying to be grateful that they caught it early enough for her to get surgery and get better.  My mom has always been on top of her medical exams and she always had the feeling she would one day get breast cancer (call it a woman's intuition?).  My two grandmothers had breast cancer, my aunt, and now my mother.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all cancer patients and their families.

Tips for choosing cancer-fighting fats and avoiding the bad

  • Reduce your consumption of red meat, whole milk, butter, and eggs, as these are the primary source of saturated fats.
  • Cook with olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil. Canola oil is another good choice, especially for baking.
  • Check the ingredient list on food labels and avoid anything with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, which are usually found in stick margarines, shortenings, salad dressings, and other packaged foods.
  • Trim the fat off of meat when you do eat it, and avoid eating the skin of the chicken.
  • Choose nonfat dairy products and eggs that have been fortified with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Add nuts and seeds to cereal, salads, soups, or other dishes. Good choices include walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, pecans, and sesame seeds.
  • Use flaxseed oil in smoothies, salad dressings, or mixed in snacks such as applesauce. But do not cook with flaxseed oil, as it loses its protective properties when heated.
  • Limit fast food, fried foods, and packaged foods, which tend to be high in trans fats. This includes foods like potato chips, cookies, crackers, French fries, and doughnuts.
  • Eat fish once or twice a week. Good choices include wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring, and black cod. But be conscious of mercury, a contaminant found in many types of fish.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Prom of the Dead

 Looking for something to do this weekend in the Queen city?  Are you a fan of zombie movies?  Check out The Prom of the Dead!
Tomorrow at 9:00pm - Sunday at 1:00am

LocationDnipro Ukrainian Cultural Center
562 Genesee Street
Buffalo, NY

Created By

More InfoProm of the Dead is Torn Space Theater's first annual costume ball and fundraiser, featuring live music, DJs, and theatrical performances.

Dress in your most frightening, offbeat, hilarious, or ingenious attire to compete for our costume contest’s prize and the coveted titles of Prom of the Dead King and Queen.

For more Prom of the Dead details visit:

$15 in advance / $20 at the door

Tickets on sale online at:

Tickets on sale in Buffalo at:

Rust Belt Books
202 Allen Street

Talking Leaves
951 Elmwood Avenue

Talking Leaves
3158 Main Street

Terrapin Station
1172 Hertel Avenue

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

History of Halloween

Are you ready for Halloween yet?  Halloween comes every year on Oct 31, but do we know why we go trick or treating, go bobbing for apples, carve pumpkins, and decorate with bats?  Halloween is between two seasons - fall and winter.  It's a time between life and death. 

Most of our traditions for celebrating come from ancient Celtic practices, Catholic, and Roman religious rituals and a blend of European folk traditions.  Halloween was believed as a time when the dead can return to the earth.  Ancient celtics would wear scary costumes and gather around Halloween bonfires to ward off these ghosts.  While gathered around the bonfire, bugs would be attracted to the light which would bring bats hence the bat imagery for Halloween.  People would decorate their window with Jack O Lanterns to keep the evil spirits away too.  The Catholic holiday of All Saints Day also influenced our modern holiday. 

In the 19th century Halloween became more of a children's holiday, but we adults still look for our fun by dressing up and going to parties. What are you going to dress up as for Halloween?

Looking for some places to visit for Halloween?  
I recommend:
Sleepy Hollow, NY (tale of the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane)
Salem, MA (home of the Salem witch trials)
Lilydale, NY (a village of psychics and inspiration stump)
Savannah, GA (tour the city as well as the cemeteries...there are many ghost stories)
Lake Ontario (The Lady in White legend)

I wish you many warm nights as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder.  Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rethread Fashion Show

The Buffalo Reuse Rethread Trashion Show (Fashion Show) is next week Oct. 21, 2010.  Rice Rafferty has designed some very chic and eco friendly dresses made from recycled materials.  Stay tuned for updates and photos!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's Cold, So Lets Get Cooking!

It's Autumn now and all the kiddos are back in school.  The end of summer is always bittersweet.  I feel the crispness in the air and the leaves are beginning to change.  I can taste fresh apple cider and a slice of pumpkin pie. 

I've been making homemade granola bars (perfect for the colder weather).  My friend Nikki Dinki, an actress and chef in NYC, has this fab cooking show online.  She has inspired me to get cooking after work lately.  Yes, she made some granola bars as well as sushi, sloppy joes, marshmallow bars, quiches, and hummus.  Watch for Nikki Dinki!  I'm sure she'll be on the Food Network very soon. 

Check out Nikki Dinki cooking

Granola Bar Recipe:
Recipe from Alton Brown


  • 8 ounces old-fashioned rolled oats, approximately 2 cups
  • 1 1/2 ounces raw sunflower seeds, approximately 1/2 cup
  • 3 ounces sliced almonds, approximately 1 cup
  • 1 1/2 ounces wheat germ, approximately 1/2 cup
  • 6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
  • 1 3/4 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup packed
  • 1-ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries


Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.

Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fashionable Active Wear - Green Apple

For years I have been searching for attractive active wear.  I'm not a fan of the black pants that look like garbage bags with three white strips on the side.  Yes, I need to feel somewhat attractive while I'm working out.  I'm a woman and I don't want to look like a boy just because I'm going for a jog.  Recently I discovered a fabulous clothing line for working out - Green Apple Active wear - eco active wear for free spirits. Green Apple Active wear is designed by Cristofer Smith.

I love finding brands I believe in.  The clothing is made of a bamboo and organic cotton blend.  It keeps you warm during cold weather and cooler during hot weather.  I know what you're thinking...bamboo???  Wouldn't that be rough?  No, actually it's extremely soft and comfortable.  The bamboo also minimizes sweat, acting as an anti-bacterial deodorizer.

I bought a tank and leggings and it's sooo comfortable to wear!  The tank has an attractive floral screen print around the neckline adding a simple, feminine touch.  I also bought a short sleeve Hurley hoddie to go with the tank and leggings. 

I want to work for Green Apple!  Are you looking for a graphic designer or marketing coordinator to add to the team???  :)

Green Apple is divine!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A family that goes to art galleries together stays together

This past weekend was Beyond In Western New York.  All the galleries were open in Buffalo with no admission fee.  Buffalo is a rather small city with an extremely large arts community.  I personally feel Buffalo should restore historic buildings downtown and turn them into art buildings like at SCAD in Savannah, Georgia or Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI.  Buffalo could use an art institute or something.

My family and I gallery hopped Friday - Sunday.  I believe a family that goes to art galleries together stays together.  We've been going to art shows/openings all my life.  We were more of an art gallery, reenactment group, Williamsburg visiting kind of family rather than going to amusement parks.

This weekend we went to: 

Albright Knox Art Museum
CEPA Gallery
Burchfield Penney Art Museum
Big Orbit 
El Museo Francisco Oller y Diego River
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center
Hi-Temp Fabrication
Hotel Lafayette
Squeaky Wheel
Starlight Studio and Art Gallery 
Western New York Book Arts Center
Carnegie Art Center 
Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society
Anderson Gallery
UB Center for the Arts Gallery

It was quite a weekend!  Now rice rafferty is newly inspired and ready to get back to the studio to continue making things!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wine, Yarn, and Animals

Two weekends ago I went to the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival.  The countryside was absolutely beautiful. The Finger Lakes Wine Tasting was also going on that weekend as well as next weekend.  It was warm, sunny fall day and there were scarves, yarn, and animals abound.  They had lhamas, sheep, and rabbits there since they use their hair for making clothing.

After the festival we headed up to through Honeoye Falls, which is a stunning little town.  They have a waterfall right in the middle of the town (that's my kind of place).  Next, we drove up to Rochester.  I really love Rochester.  It's a beautiful little city.  We drove through the suburbs up to Lake Ontario and Irondquoit - Durand Eastman Lake.  Since it's almost Halloween (well not quite but in Western New York we like to start Halloween as early as possible) we drove to Durand Eastman Lake which is known to be the place where The Lady in White appears.  The story goes back to the early 1800s when a woman's child went missing.  The mother of the girl had a feeling the farmer next door raped and killed her.  Every day the mother went wandering the woods with her dogs searching for her daughter.  Eventually she was left so grief stricken she threw herself off the cliffs into the water.  They say on a foggy night you can see the Lady in White rise up from the lake and continue to search for her daughter.

When we drove up to the lake I had a strange familiar feeling.  I knew "this was it."  There was a white swan swimming in the lake which gave an eerie feeling (it was almost dusk too..ooohhh spooky).  It's a gorgeous little spot between two lakes Durand and Lake Ontario.  The story of the Lady in White was also made into a movie.  I recommend checking it out.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Spread Joy Wherever You Go

The day my mom was having her mammogram my coworker told me she was diagnosed with cancer.  It was terrifying to sit and wait the past few weeks to see which way the pendulum would swing.  My mother doesn't have cancer, but both my mother and my coworker are having a lumpectomy surgery on the same day next week...kind of freaky, right?  Today, I told my coworker my mom is having surgery the same day and she felt kind of comforted that she's not in this alone.  I was hesitant about telling her at first, but i'm glad I could bring her some comfort during this really difficult time.  You never really know what people are going through or how you can bring joy to someone in an unexpected way. 

Rice Rafferty also has big news.  Our, in the Pink, rice rafferty Statement Necklace will be available tonight at Viva for Life ;~)  So happy to be part of the solution ;~)   

2010 ViVA for Life, Buffalo, NY, an evening of celebration benefiting
The Western New York Breast Resource Center
at Roswell Park Cancer Institute