LIV'n Large

Glamorous grand opening leaves me itchin' to feel sexy again.

A few weeks ago I attended the grand opening of LIV la Vie, Los Gatos' newest clothing store. I had waited seven long years for Karen Giordano's next venture after she sold Bella Rosa Boutique, and nothing was going to stop me, not even a torrential downpour.

I sloshed up the red carpet and into LIV where it was warm and lovely with the aroma of St. Barts—scented Vie Lux candles wafting through the sleek space. Right away I could tell it was going to be a fabulous night. There was champagne flowing! A D.J. spinning! Delectable bites passed around on silver platters!

No sooner had I walked through the door and scored a glass of Rombauer chardonnay than a gorgeous saleswoman poured into a blush pink dress introduced herself.

“Hi, I'm Gina, Gina Martina.” Only she said it so fast I heard her name as “Ginamartina.” Ginamartina had flawless Sophia Loren skin and more curves than Highway 17. “If I can help you find anything, please let me know.”

After Ginamartina flitted away, I checked out the store. The clothes were amazing (indulgent cashmere sweaters and wraps, ultra soft T-shirts and colorful pastel denim leggings.) The decor was stunning (triple-tiered white birch chandeliers and pops of orange throughout—an homage to Karen's favorite designer, Hermes.) And the women were smokin' hot. Every where I looked throngs of L.G. tennis babes stood sipping champagne, their tanned, toned gams exquisitely showcased in short cocktail dresses.

The crowd was so chic I half expected Kate Middleton to breeze through the door at any moment. After all, vibrant dresses by her favorite British designer, Issa, graced LIV's windows.

And then there was me—Wonderbread white skin (more on that in ) and furry legs (my Lady Schick hibernates in winter) splotched with patches of poison oak.

Intimidated? Lil’ bit. Maybe that’s why I said yes to a second glass of wine. Just as I was eyeing a diamond seahorse necklace in the jewelry case, Ginamartina appeared at my side again, this time holding a blue and yellow sequined shift dress. “You ARE trying this on! You would look sooo gorgeous in it.”

It was cute but I thought, No freakin' way am I trying on a skimpy cocktail dress tonight in the pouring rain surrounded by all these bronzed Glamazons.

“Oh, you’re very sweet,” I demurred. “Maybe later.”

For the next hour I noshed on hors d'oeuvres, caught up with old friends and made new ones. The buzz was unanimous: Karen was a star at opening stores. She had thought of everything—down to the bright orange bags imprinted with LIV's logo.

Twenty minutes later Ginamartina was baaack. “So are you ready to try on your fabulous dress?” she asked. Damn, this woman could sell Ambien to a narcoleptic.

Finally I succumbed. Ginamartina tucked me into the dressing room, a cocoon of tangerine velvet and winter birch wallpaper. My head was spinning from the chardonnay. My family was texting me wondering where dinner was, but I was having much more fun hanging out, nibbling on goat cheese and blackberry compote stuffed endive. All was wonderful. Until I slid the dress over my head, and stepped out.

Gazing at my reflection in the mirror, all I could see was my white skin, my hairy legs and the fact that I was totally wearing the wrong bra. I looked at the women behind me sipping champagne in their pricey dresses, and resisted the urge to scratch an oozing patch of poison oak on my ankle.

“Oooh! Don't you feel sexy?” Ginamartina cooed.

Um, did she forget to put in her contact lenses?

Two seconds later the dress was returned to its hanger. “I'll think about it, Ginamartina, I promise.” 

She gave me a warm hug. Then I swept through LIV past the Glamazons and out into the rain.

Once I shed my winter coat, my poison oak subsides and I get a spray tan, I can’t wait to return to LIV so I can feel sexy again.

Joni Holland May 03, 2012 at 02:01 PM
LOVED this. Must admit, shaved and tan I still would have been a fish out of water. But thanks for the glimpse into how the other half shops!!
Shelley Merrick May 03, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Great article on LIV! Congratulations Karen!
Amie Sue May 03, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Sounds like a great time Kim! Great article! That store looks amazing! You and I can party more comfortably this week if we go shop at Ace hardware with Joni, who cares if we're white and hairy there. Ace has bottled water and jerky at the registers, hedge trimmers for our legs, and heck- we can gab on my tailgate while sunning ourselves in their massive parking lot...I need new gardening gloves and orange paint samples....let's go! Stat! Then we'll all go shopping at Liv next week! Tanned, hairless, and gorgeous. Can I borrow $100?
Jennifer Croll May 03, 2012 at 05:08 PM
I am thrilled that Karen has brought her style once again to LG! Great store and such a nice addition to the new LG Boutique line-up ... Lindsay Jones' 'Haute Bride' and Cristian Croll's (yes my EX-but still my BF) Men's store called 'The Library!'
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz May 03, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Nice to see a new Boutique in Los Gatos! Welcome & Good Luck!
susan testa May 03, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Umm Kim... You better not have had the wrong bra on!!! :) Sue Testa (Romantiques)
Kim Ratcliff May 03, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Ha ha, Sue! Not a chance my bras from Romantiques are awesome. It was just that the dress had spaghetti straps and I needed a strapless bra (and probably a boob job). How are my granny nighties coming?
Kim Ratcliff May 03, 2012 at 06:44 PM
AS, you are hilarious. Bring on the hedge trimmer. And seriously, you're gonna need to borrow a lot more than $100 to shop at LIV with the other half. I am lusting after a GORGE scarf with flocked hot pink and orange birds and it's 200 bills! Not even gonna say how much the seahorse necklace is gonna set you back.
Tamara Archer May 03, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I had tears I was laughing so hard. Great piece and it's a date with the LIV la Vie next week to check it out! Humor and fashion, always a great combo!
Larry Arzie May 03, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Glad to have you as a neighbor. Wonderful location, great shop. Los Gatos Museum Gallery Larry Arzie
Jeanne Rajabzadeh May 03, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Sounds like a fun store-I will have to check it out. Great article!
Katie Palacio May 04, 2012 at 03:23 AM
I love you Kim. Officially hilarious without tearing anybody to pieces like some other bloggers I know. :)
eileen May 04, 2012 at 04:52 AM
I'm a tad disappointed that there isn't a picture of you in the sequin blue and yellow dress, Kim. For the cause! You and your friends remain the most gorgeous people I've seen outside of People magazine. I'm glad I don't live in Los Gatos.
Gina martina May 04, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Kim, this is GinaMartina you DID look sexy in that dress! Can't to see you again! GinaMartina
Gina martina May 04, 2012 at 06:31 AM
Kim Ratcliff May 04, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Hi GinaMartina, you babe! Thank you for being my muse. What days do you work @ LIV? I am coming in to see you soon. Xo
Kim Ratcliff May 04, 2012 at 09:24 PM
JC, the dresses in the window of Haute Bride have me drooling, too. Makes me want to get married again but I kinda like my hubby so I'll have to appreciate my oh-so early '90s wedding dress.
Kim Ratcliff May 04, 2012 at 09:25 PM
But Katie your rip-them-to-shred blind items about the who's who of LG are soooo much fun to decipher. Glass of wine + your bitchy blog posts = Better than the RHOC!!
Dyan Chan May 04, 2012 at 11:43 PM
I also chanced upon the grand opening and have to say it was fabulous, although I felt a little awkward in my raincoat, jeans and T-shirt! I didn't try anything on, but I was taken with these pretty little beaded clutches.
Gina Martina May 05, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Kim, I will be there next week,come in and see me! You sexy thing!
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) May 05, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Gina Martina, I want to meet you. I need a total makeover. My goal is to look like Kim Ratcliff one day! Can you help me and I am not kidding! LOL
Gina Martina May 05, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Sheila, come in with Kim I promise we will have a great time!!!


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