Trendspotting: Sugary Sweet Spring Style...

The fashion media may be lauding the return of pastels, but I see the color story as a bit more punchy. There's nary a note of the chalky colors I associate with true pastels. These colors are a bit more cheery, a bit less Easter Sunday and clearly more fresh. Think: festive mint green, optimistic Barbie pink and a dreamy sky blue and you're on the right track. 

The best part? These aren't your mamma's pale hues. Our color palette for spring is more bold (witness those grass green lace-up trainers below) and perhaps a bit more fun than expected. It seems we've finally reached "anything goes" nirvana when it comes to getting dressed. Frankly, if you're rocking a handbag the color of a ray of sunshine, feeling happy should be the edict of the day. Don't you agree? 

SHOP THE SUGARY SWEET TREND



YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Tech Chic: Making the Case for Cases...

Oh how I love (and need) a good iPhone case. I live in admiration and disbelief at those of you who rock your slim handheld devices sans case. You are either blessed to live in a completely cushioned environment impervious to accidental bumps or straight up crazy. Regardless of how delicately I handle my lovely iPhone it most assuredly will take a tumble at some point. Perhaps while working out, perhaps as it slides from my handbag as I exit the car or (as is often the case) while in the young hands of my daughter. 

Since I spent a fast half hour last week replacing my shattered phone I'm now hot on the quest for a newer case with more padding (or at least a more anti-slip grip) than the previous. While our male counterparts can rock a military grade rubberized black case and call it a day, we girls love our cases slim and sophisticated. Who can blame us? A pretty little cover adds a layer of protection from would-be mishaps as well as individualization to an otherwise ubiquitous device.

Perhaps it isn't the rare device drop so much as the ease of daily use that makes a case so sensible. Texting, video watching and taking pix is so much easier with a surface with more tact than the super slippery rose gold aluminum shell my naked phone offers. Life is easier with a chic case with a slim rubber lining giving hands a surface upon which to grip. The case for a case is simple. I need one, and I feel everyone does.  

What about you? Are you a freedom-loving girl who eschews the idea of a case, no matter how pretty? Or, like me, do you cling to the comfort of a personality-showcasing case that offers a little cushioning for those inevitable bumps and drops? If you're in the mood for a new case I've done the shopping for you. These cute covers will set you apart from the crowd and (perhaps) prevent you from having to spend any unnecessary time with your favorite Genius. 

Besides... spring is on the way. And a fresh little look for your technology bestie is just the thing to get you in the mood for sunny rays and warm days ahead. Happy hunting! 

SHOP MY CHIC FAVORITES


YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Musings: On Focusing On Yourself....

If your aim is to please others, you've got it all wrong. Seek first to raise your standards and live up to your own expectations. Exceed them. Confidence is attractive. Self-driven success is appealing. Demonstrated personal skill is magnetic. Set high standards for yourself and exceed them. Impress yourself. Aim high and blow away your own personal best. Rest assured... the satisfaction from such private personal goal attainment is reward enough. But I've discovered time and time again that those very things you would have been chasing will soon be chasing you if you'll just BECOME the very thing you wanted at obtain.

Consider this: produce the type of work you wish to be recognized for. Be the kind of person you wish to become one day. Be the friend you hope to once day find. Host the style parties you wish to be invited to attend. Step up and move yourself to the next level through sheer will and an commitment to living a better life - to being a better you. A much better you. 

Aspire to the incredible. Achieve the awesome. Discover that you are indeed already living the dream. 

Trendspotting: Highlights From Milan Fashion Week...

Oh, Milan! So much black, so much leather, so much genuine Italian style. It would be an understatement to say that Milan fashion week is one of my favorites of all of the "fashion month" cities. Paris tops it, yes, but Milan is a close second. 

Prada, Pucci, Cavalli, Bottega Veneta, Armani, Etro, Versace, Fendi, Moschino, Gucci... ahhh. My fashion happy place. These are only part of my #MFW is such a standout showcase of style. More than that, it's the setting. Rome may be where my soul resides, but Milan takes its street style seriously. The city is less picturesque than many of its Italian sister cities, but it is not devoid of architectural significance and beauty. The Duomo, the Milanese and the pulse of the city beckon. It is the ultimate black leather clad backdrop for its all-star list of brands coming to showcase their fall wares. 

What did I love? Pucci is a perennial favorite. This season's offerings featured their signature funky kaleidoscope-inspired patterns. The colorful, swirly designs dovetailed beautifully into the overall 70's vibe that has been seen across the globe. My surprise brand crush? Sportmax. The line offered up a clean-lined sense of chic that appealed to my "classic feminine" leanings. I loved focus on tailored leathers and belted dresses.  was very figure flattering and set the stage for a romantic fall ahead.   

Fringe is, of course, still a having its moment in the sun. As is the thematic presence of fun (presumably faux) fur on almost all runways. I'm loving the emergence of the flowy pants we've been seeing, gentle pleating on cascading folds of fabric and the overall optimistic visual story happening. Another recurring element? Seemingly adopted from street style, flats and flatforms were everywhere. That's not to say heels are out by any stretch (boots are surely still on the rise), but it seems comfort might suddenly be chic. 

The Autumn/Winter shows naturally offer an abundance of coats and jackets. But rather than the staid wools and leathers we commonly enjoy, 2015's fall season is all about the statement coat. Wild embroidered pieces, bold (almost neon but not quite) quilted puffers, opulent hand-stitched pieces and every feathered and fur-adorned style one could possibly imagine. When considering a top layer for next year, best leave any sartorial shyness at home and go for bold "yes, it is fabulous, isn't it?" attitude. As you know, this is an investment piece I"m fully behind! Jackets and coats are my apparel indulgence of choice. Separates may come and go in my closet, but those well-made top layers are mine for the keeping for years to come. 

And then there was Dolce & Gabbana's tribute to mommies everywhere. The fashionable duo paid sweet homage to motherhood without veering into matronly style. The looks were flirty and youthful. Think: postcard inspired prints, message-emblazoned sweaters and roses... oodles of roses. The message love was crystal clear.  

Beauty wise? Simple hair. Easy hair. Tousled hair. Love! And of course... that flick of eyeliner at the corners. Add this to kissable lips and a dewy overall look and I'm smitten. 2015 promises to be one the year of celebrating actual beauty. I couldn't be happier. 

BUT FIRST... A TASTE OF SPRING

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Loving: Pucci x Ladurée Sweet Collab...

Missing out on Milan Fashion Week means missing an opportunity to bite into a limited edition treat via the iconic pastry boutique Ladurée and legendary design house Pucci. MFW attendees can purchase these fabulously designed boxes bearing the italian fashion powerhouse's eye-popping prints. Inside? Those classic macarons you've come to love with notes of rose & lemon as a tribute to la dolce vita. Sweet life indeed. 

Not to worry, I suspect these will show up on eBay for outrageous prices for those willing to cough up the cash. Perhaps your resources are best spent catching a flight to Milan and sampling the sweets in person. While there, take in the city-wide street art in the form of manhole covers designed by the various fashion houses. 

LADURÉE MILAN

Via Spadari, 6
20123 Milano

LADURÉE MILAN CHEZ EXCELSIOR

Galleria Del Corso nr 4
20122 Milano


ADD A LITTLE PUCCI TO YOUR LIFE

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Musings: On Forging New Pathways...

Knowingly or not, we are largely creatures of habit. In order to change your life, you'll have to make consistent changes to your daily routine. That's right: switch up the tiny behaviors we do each day to make sweeping changes to your life. Change on a micro level is what results in big results on the larger scale. Consider your daily practices, your daily habits and your routine carefully, as you just might be walking yourself down humdrum lane without much thought. 

Need an example? Consider the cup of milk. Just one drop of red food coloring and it's now glass of rosy fluid. To the diabetic, even a tiny piece of chocolate throws the insulin levels off. That brief call home to mom might be the moment of change she needed that day. The quick hug to your neighbor might be the only one they receive that day. 

But what about you? Could you rise 30 minutes early to workout or begin writing that novel? What if you took a different way to your desk each day, deepening relationships with the marketing department rather than isolating yourself with your direct colleagues? What if you started each day with a green power smoothie instead of skipping breakfast? How would that impact your energy and output for the day? 

Do you work from home? Maybe relocating to a co-working space or a cafe would allow you to widen your circle of contacts or opportunities. On a more practical level, perhaps a sales call or introductory note once a day would put your business in front of the right clients.

Think big. Act small. Minor shifts for major impact. 

What's your personal daily challenge? What do you do each day and what do you WISH you were doing each day? Decide how you could alter your daily life right now that would bring you closer to alignment with the life you dream of living.

Is "future perfect" you fit and trim or on the front page of Fortune magazine? How does "present reality" you begin shifting into that new iteration of yourself? The truth is, transformation is what life is all about. You just have to be willing to make small daily changes to get there. 

Do you need to add something in or omit something? Consider the answer carefully. Only you know, but don't be afraid to make shifts - large or small - to yield the result you are committed to achieving. 

I urge you to do something NEW, try something different and move FORWARD on your journey to the life you truly crave. We all have something we know we should do to get us there, to put us on the map to success, to bring us deep personal satisfaction. You might not be ready for massive change, but I assure you that small tweaks in your daily behaviors ARE within your grasp.

It's time to step forward and make moving the ball forward part of your DAILY life. Even if it makes you nervous. Embrace the fear and do it anyway. Be bold. Be awesome. Be powerful. You hold the key to everything you crave right inside you - it's simply time you stopped denying yourself the opportunity to shine. 

{image credit}

RECENT BEAUTY DISCOVERIES

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Loving: All Black Everything...

Thank God black on black is the go-to look for models off duty and every street style favorite out there. For good reason: this rich shade makes even a simple tee and shorts look chic. Not many colors of the rainbow can achieve such a glamorous look with little or no effort. But black, glorious black, is here to save the day every day. Strip my closet down to just black, white denim and pink and I'd be happy. Prizing black perhaps the most of that limited list. For me it exudes sophistication, luxury and a regal air regardless of the season. 

SHOP THE SHADE



 

If you need further proof of noir's power as a trump card, here it is: no other color can be worn head to toe without seeming like a costume. Black on black head to toe reads tailored, polished and fabulous. I've witnessed its staying power first hand during any clean sweep activities in my closet, my black pieces tend to be firmly in "keepers" section of the edit. This is reassuring proof in the power of this timeless fashion choice. Join me on my quest for all things chic and black. I promise it's surprisingly happy and sunny here. 

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Color Crush: Fresh Squeezed Zesty Orange...

wall.jpg

Never underestimate the power of color to energize and inspire. When I need a lift, a zesty dash or bold orange - be it by embroidered pillow, scented candle or cashmere sweater - has the power to elevate my mood. Not as rich as red, not as sunny as yellow, orange is in a realm of it's own. I find it endlessly cheerful and packed with power. It's no wonder it is a longtime designer favorite in both fashion and interiors. 

SHOP THESE FRESH SQUEEZED FAVORITES





Styling tip: Much like citrus juice itself, a little goes a long way. A dash of orange, a hint of tangerine a pop of lemon does the trick. The head to toe (or wall to wall, as the case may be) look was once reserved for those with enough chutzpah to pull it off, but lately committing to color has taken off and become an "every girl" approved look. That said, if pair that orange dress with metallic heels or fun wedges. Save the matching shoes for a different day with a different ensemble.

Less is absolutely more with a powerful color such as this. Orange makes no apologies and bows to no one. Worn well, this powerful color brings a welcome kick of "wow, look at her!" to your look. Be memorable, be fabulous & rock that pop of orange like you mean it. The world is your runway! 

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

The Everyday Bombshell: Effortless Envious Locks...

This is the first in a series of posts I feel inspired to write to share some "get fabulous fast" tips & tricks. Face it, none of us have enough "free" time or need to extend our morning routine. In the spirit of sharing, I wanted to share a few beauty & fashion methods and practices I employ to pull it all together with limited time. The Everyday Bombshell series should be viewed a busy girl's guide to looking (and feeling) fabulous when the clock only wants to trip you up. I hope you'll enjoy! 

If you've read my other hair posts you'll know I love long loose messy waves and have found them remarkably easy to create. The look is not perfect, in fact it's a style I love rocking daily even if I have no plans to leave the house. Over time I've developed a few quick methods of achieving that perfectly imperfect look. 

How do I find the time is what most friends ask me. The answer? I don't. I cheat using hot rollers to achieve these rolling locks. They are super easy to use and I can leave them in while I dash about doing other things.

A similar loose curl result can be achieved with a 1" or larger diameter curling iron. The difference, in my opinion, is the curling iron offers more staying power but less volume. The rollers offer considerably more volume at the roots but less precise (read: more loose & wavy) curls.

Given the choice (and much more time) I'd definitely use a large barrel curling iron, but the convenience of the hot rollers beckons me daily. They are just so very easy and allow makeup to be applied and breakfast to be cooked while they do their thing.

That said, I'd love to encourage you to experiment with tools of your choice, and I can't imagine you don't have a curling iron tucked in a bathroom drawer. So pull that baby out and enjoy this video guide. This is one of my favorite video tutorials on how to achieve that perfectly tousled look using a curling iron. You'll feel like a pro in no time! 

Regardless of your tool of choice, these turned tresses will highlight your shiny locks and frame your face beautifully. I'm linking to a few favorite hair styling products that have made bombshell hair significantly easy (and fast) for this busy girl. I hope they do the same for you. 

MAKING WAVES


My other tip? Color. 

There's a great Dolly Parton quote (in fact, the only one I know at all) where she remarks that dumb blonde jokes don't offend her because she knows she's not dumb and she knows she's not blonde. Her self-deprecating humor is surprisingly refreshing and incredibly self aware. In that one simple moment of humor, the iconic blonde frees all of us to admit that we're not, in fact, born with it. 

Beating us all to the punch, hair goddess Lauren Conrad was the original balayage (as the hand-painted highlight technique is known) girl. Visible roots in all their glory finished with sun-kissed tresses that lightened towards the ends. The ultimate California girl look, and hair inspiration to women of all races and ages.  

Dark roots, once the very bane of every salon regular, are now an essential a part of the "look" and a welcome feature of this graduated color look. In a genius twist of fate, the problem is now the solution. 

The common thread amongst all who rock the "fade" is the styling. The dégradé effect looks best with loose, beachy waves - so the tutorial and tips above go hand in hand with my "no extra time" approach to styling. If you've been a slave to the salon for regular touch-ups, perhaps it's time to give this less severe approach to hair color a go and join the ranks of celebrities (and housewives) everywhere for truly effortless and envious locks.

Next time you hit the salon ask your hair stylist what it would take to transform your high-maintenance mane into a beautiful bounty of effortless graduated color goodness. Your busy schedule (and your image in the mirror) will thank you. 

Happy styling, ladies! 

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Perspective: Outlook is Everything...

Life is all about your perspective. Are you tending to your flowers or the weeds in your garden? Are you focusing on the brilliant wonders in your life or the nuisances and lack? It's important, because your mindset determines your outlook... your outlook determines your experience and your daily experiences tally up to be the very summary of your life. 

There are flowers all around you. Your friends, your family, your internet connection, your incredible mind, your very breath. Celebrate those incredible assets in your life and choose to focus on them. Stop feeding the weeds and they'll surprise you by slowly dying off... and all you'll be left with is a colorful, life-affirming garden of flowers. 

FLOWER-INSPIRED FAVORITES




YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Foundations: Building a Killer Collection of Chic Jackets & Blazers...

kerr.jpg

You'll often find me flipping much of my wardrobe on ebay, poshmark & others. But several categories of my closet are strictly off limits: shoes, handbags & jackets. Those items are cherished, carefully selected and fit me like a perfect white tee (which is an entirely different post you should look for in the coming weeks).  

So... how do YOU build a small collection of jackets & blazers you adore? A few rules of thumb apply. 

  1. INVEST IN THE BEST
    Dolce & Gabbana may very well not be in the budget. But I bet you can snag a great deal on a solidly made jacket on sale at J. Crew or at Nordstrom Rack. The point here is to find a great deal of a very well constructed classic piece. Spare your cash & skip the poorly made pieces. Take time to inspect seams, interior construction and lining. All of these elements matter. 
     
  2. KNOW THY SELF
    Know your style AND get to know what different brands offer. Theory is a brand well known for killer basics, but perhaps you're on the petite side (like myself). In this case, familiarize yourself with brands that cater to your body type. I've found incredible pieces that fit me fabulously at J. Crew, WHBM and Ann Taylor. All of whom offer great buys for those of us with smaller frames. 
     
  3. FIT IS EVERYTHING
    Here's the harsh truth: fit is everything when it comes to jackets & blazers. Sleeves can be tailored, waists can be nipped in, but shoulders must fit from the moment you discover a piece. Be sure your natural shoulder width works with the cut of the acket. And don't forget to inspect the view from the back. Beware of puckering or drooping when viewed in the three-way mirror. It never lies.
     
  4. CONSIDER A LITTLE NIP & TUCK
    While shoulders should fit from the get go (refer to Rule #3), you may want to have the sides or sleeves of a jacket taken in to get the perfect fit. But beware: carefully consider the jacket needing significant tailoring. I've often found that the cost to do so could have been avoided if I'd simply coughed up the cash to invest in a better brand (see Rule #1 above)
     
  5. SHAKE IT OFF
    Cherish those moments alone in the fitting room or changing area. Take a few moments to raise your arms or shimmy to the beat to see how a jacket moves with your body. It might seem "tailored" for a second and feel like a straightjacket when you raise your arms. Conversely, "roomy" one moment may feel boxy and shapeless when you go to wear it to lunch the next day. Evaluate how you look and feel in motion in clothing before buying.  

The above are shopping tips, now let's get to the business of building that killer collection of jackets. Here's what I love owning: 

NOT-SO-BASIC BLACK

Don't underestimate the power of a fabulous black jacket. Paired with jeans & heels or a dress and pearls, these pieces are key to any woman's closet.  It doesn't matter if you're a self-employed artists or a corner office queen bee, you'll need at least one of this wardrobe essential. I love having one summer weight and one light wool blazer for cooler months. 

TERRIFIC IN TWEED

My favorite jackets are my chunky tweed pieces. Some are cropped with embellished crew necks, some are East Coast prep, others are in-between. Their real charm comes from their versatility. Again the "jeans & heels" vs "dress & pearls" question comes to mind. This category of jacket pairs well with both and makes for a smart fashion acquisition. Think of this as your Coco Chanel moment. I like to let freedom rule here. Over time add a wide variety of styles to the mix. I find these useful in every season, and once you begin adding them you'll feel the same way.  

Since a range of options abound here, I'll tell you some of the hallmarks I look for: raw or frayed edges for modern edge. I strictly choose cropped or belted & flared styles. These are the most flattering. That said, I have only one belted, as the cropped variety is so much cooler and flatters my frame the best. Bracelet sleeves (those falling between elbow & wrist length) are a girl's dream come true as it keeps you from looking like you're going or coming from a board meeting. And color. I love color here. Think pink, minty green, icy white or (since it is tweed) a melange of colors all woven together. Bonus points if a jacket has metallic threads woven throughout. Those are the best.

My go-to brands for these is Milly , Rebecca Taylor or Nanette Lepore. All three of these offer incredible construction and a surprisingly tailored fit. While stepping more into the investment category, these are impeccably made and require zero alterations to fit your body flawlessly. At least that's been my experience. But J. Crew, Ann Taylor & WHBM cannot be underestimated. I have at least one amazing tweed jacket or blazer from each of these brands that I wouldn't trade for anything. Fit & quality are supreme! 


 

DECKED OUT IN DENIM

Like Yolanda Foster, white denim reigns supreme in my world. But then again I live in the warm south. The key for me with a denim jacket is details. I love mine cropped and not too distressed. Also (despite what might be trendy) I'm not a fan of denim on denim UNLESS it's white paired with blue. But: fashion is fun so set your own rules. Regardless, these pretty pieces pair as well with sundresses as they do with more dressy options. Consider adding one white and one darker rinse version to your wardrobe and watch the myriad options present themselves. Caution: shy away from faded denim & any vests. Not chic. Not timeless. Not investment pieces. 

THE NOVELTY PIECE

Another favorite category: anything goes. I love having a heavily embellished jacket to toss on over a simple tank & jeans for a "where is she going?" effect. Or how about a Barbie pink blazer? Why not, right? The novelty blazer will quickly become an "outfit making" addition to your wardrobe. Word to the wise: add these in slowly and only when you really fall in love with a jacket. That said, there are no rules. Boleros, ostrich feather cropped pieces and other wildcards all are welcome. 


Keep in mind, these are not outerwear pieces. These are lighter blazers & jackets intended to be part of your ensemble. By building a stable of killer jackets in your closet you'll find it gets easier and easier to pull together a great look with minimal fuss. My collection of blazers & jackets have proven invaluable for years and still stand the test of time. Experiment with brands and fit to determine what really works for your body type and your personal style. Decide what you love and make plans to acquire your staples first and your wildcards later on. Build this collection slowly and with a discriminating eye, investing only in pieces that truly make you happy. 

One of the best tips I ever received about buying jackets was from a salesgirl who wasn't afraid to push the boundaries. She demonstrated the cool "it girl" appeal of what looked like "little old lady" jackets on the rack. It's that effortless mix of a nonchalant fringed tweed jacket with sky high heels & skinny denim that looks so great together. It's youthful and fresh and fun. My perspective on tweeds and less typical jackets was forever changed and my eyes opened to the stylish possibilities. Since then I've been a self-proclaimed connoisseur of jackets and my closet thanks me daily. 

Now... happy hunting to you all! Don't be afraid to experiment! 

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Get the Look: The Bold Blue Velvet Sofa...

While most homes are a sea of beige and cream and white, we hold no fear when it comes to choosing a bold blue sofa. I myself have an admirably fierce aqua sectional that makes no apologies for its fabulousness. 

So... how do you pull it off? Assess enough photos on ArchDigest & Pinterest and you'll begin to detect an undercurrent of themes. I'll share what I've learned: 

  • ALL BUTTONED UP
    The best of the bunch are tufted either on the back or on the seat - occasionally both, when Chesterfields are involved. Not only does this highlight the inherent qualities of velvet, it makes the sofas that much more inviting to sit on. 
     
  • CALL OF THE WILD
    An element of the exotic seems to always appear nearby, either in the form of leopard, zebra or a tribal rug. It adds a much needed "we don't take ourselves too seriously here" vibe to the room. 
     
  • MAX IT OUT
    You've chosen a bold blue velvet sofa. There's no hiding it. So roll with it, baby! Add accents and accessories and art to carry the eyes throughout the room. It enriches the look and reinforces your masterful style. Trust me on this one. 
     
  • AU NATURALE
    In stark contrast to the richness of the saturated (and shiny) velvet, the most successful spaces soften the blow with the roughness of wood. Be it bleached floors, a Mid-Century accent piece or a wicker chair, something nearby is usually rocking a natural finish. 
     
  • GO FOR THE GOLD
    Other metals may make an appearance, but it's clear that gold is the finish of choice for pairing with brilliant blue. From nail heads to frames, the warmth of brass and gold are a classic and timeless choice paired with saturated blue.  
     
  • SHOW ME SOME LEG
    Skirts be gone. These velvet sofas all show a little (or a lot) of leg. Turned or tapered, chrome or mahogany, these blue beauties all eschew the idea of skirts 

So...  how do you get the look in your home? Make the simple yet bold choice to commit to the saturated hue, then rock it like it's nobody's business. Are you a deep teal fan or is true navy more your game? Make that simple choice and the rest of the room will simply come together. Here are a few of my favorite pieces to pull this look off with aplomb. 

SHOP THE DEEP BLUE LOOK




YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Musings: On Daring to Ask..

If you're waiting for life to give you permission, brace yourself... that moment it isn't coming. Go out and grab what you want from this brief time you have. Dare to be bold. Dare to take massive action. Dare to take small steps. Dare to fail so that you can perhaps succeed. The only one who can give you permission is you - so why would you stand in your own way? That's right... you wouldn't. :) 

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Beauty: A Few New Raves & Faves...

ling.jpg

While I'm a die-hard fan of all things in my fragrance & beauty arsenal, I'm always down for discovering new noteworthy additions or improvements.

candle.jpg

As you may know, NEST is one of my true personal home fragrance lines. Laura Slatkin has squarely earned her floor space at Neimans and on my counters. Two weeks ago while picking up a few of my usual candles I was introduced to their new sensational scent Sicilian Tangerine. Hellooooo, olfactory senses! This intoxicating fruity scent lit my eyes up with excitement and in a split second transported me to its namesake Mediterranean island. Wow, talk about a dreary winter day wakeup. This new introduction is a welcome rush of bright tangerine with sexy mango & sultry bergamot knocked my socks off. It has since become a household superstar, finding space in both my closet (where a diffuser works winders) and my kitchen (where candles reign supreme). 

fond.jpg

Next in my "why didn't I discover this earlier" category is Guerlain's Lingerie foundation. Let it be known, I'm not a foundation fan. For many years I've used Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturizer. But lately I feel it sits on top of my skin rather than settling in and seeming invisible. Ick. Has my skin changed? Have I introduced a new moisturizer serum routine? Yes to both, and it's also the dry season of winter. So perhaps it is time to move on or put this item on hold for half a beat.

After receiving a generous sample of Guerlain's product a few weeks ago I decided to take the leap and give this featherlight coverup a chance. It easily lives up to the name, as it goes on as smooth as silk and feels weightless and invisible. (Note: In Laura I wear "Nude" in MAC I've worn "NC30" and in Guerlain I seem to be exactly Beige Clair, a light shade with yellow undertones).

Make no mistake, this is definitely a foundation. I was amazed at the coverage and how it evened out my skin tone with barely a drop. I'm not keen on the resulting matte finish (I have a personal preference for dewy finishes), but the overall effect was pretty much nailing the "no makeup makeup" look. In addition, my eye makeup stayed in place all day. Even my liner. High points for that. 

I always prefer a dewy face, but lately my finished look is just too shiny and my eye makeup wanders (not good), hence the need for a fresher look. And when I tell you Guerlain's Lingerie Foundation is absolutely invisible, it is. Think: your skin... perfected via a weightless and completely undetectable product. It's amazing. No joke. 

Bottom line: I've not sworn off my coveted Tinted Moisturizer. I adore it and I do plan to always have a tube on hand. In fact, I might try dabbling in a mix of the two for the optimal result. For the moment I am reveling in the discovery of Guerlain's feather light product.

Next: my SPF. Oh... this is a tricky one. Like the Laura Mercier product, I've purchased the same UV facial protection product for many years and can't find a single fault with it. Nothing. It is absolutely magical. No stinging eyes, no running, no caked feeling. Clarins UV Plus is absolute perfection.

Why, you ask, would I rock the boat? Kate Somerville offers a version with reviews so good I can't ignore them. Her Daily Broad Spectrum 50+ Waterlight Deflector boasts spectacular reviews and offers more SPF value in addition to a host of other anti-aging benefits. Since my Clarins was running out it seemed a good time to give it a go. So far, so good. I'll keep you posted on whether this is a beauty bag mainstay or one-time fling. But make no mistake: the Clarins UV Plus is absolutely amazing and I would welcome a lifetime supply of the miraculous liquid. 

Bonus discovery: this Bobbi Brown eye shadow palette of smokey nudes is THE BOMB and is exactly what you've been wanting. It is a mix of shimmering nudes, matte ivories, deep browns and rich neutrals. Bobbi's shadows have always been my favorite for good reason: they stay in place! This double-decker compact is limited edition so get it while you can. I found mine at Neiman Marcus.  

So... Those are my new adventures in beauty & fragrance. Would love to hear your new discoveries or all-time favorites! For you savvy shoppers out there: Saks & Neimans are both having their beauty events at the moment. In addition to individual brand bonuses, each store offers a free tote filled with deluxe samples with any beauty or fragrance purchase of $125 or more. Expect to snap up some generous gifts with purchase at either event. 

PUT YOUR BEST FACE FORWARD

Spectacular Properties: The $18.9MM Santa Monica Spread...

Fancy yourself a new pad? I stumbled across this 6 bedroom "cottage" yesterday and drew a deep breath when I saw that top photo overlooking the pool. That's what California living is all about. That endless, jaw dropping view. 

The bones of the house make me think of a Kelly Wearstler project from the AD archives. While it's not the same house, this pimped out English Tudor has seen its share of celebrity designers leave their mark. Elaine Culotti, Ralph Pucci, David Bromstad, Susan Cohen, Sami Hayek and Kyle Schuneman all played a role over the years on this 11,000 square foot spread on the best street in Santa Monica overlooking Riviera Country Club.

Is it my taste? No. But isn't it fun to look at these fully outfitted houses with strong design choices and wonder about the owners or the experience of living there? Of course it is. We all love stalking "out there" real estate. This house holds more than a few signature details - no question. 

In addition to a fully tricked out recording studio, 6 bedrooms, 8 baths and an unexpectedly contemporary kitchen, the home comes with a rich history. According to the listing, "In its last incarnation, you might have found Grayson performing a duet with Mario Lanza while Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra cozied up by the fireplace and Howard Hughes slept in a guest room." All that's missing from that epic gathering is Marilyn Monroe. Let's suffice it to say you won't be moving in without going unnoticed by your well-meaning (and well-connected) neighbors. 

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY...

Personal Style: My Pitch Perfect Spring Look...

shoes.jpg

Ladies & gentlemen... it is on. This is so going to be my jam this spring. Pretty culottes, a quilted bag and these seriously amazing platform wedges. I need look no further for fashion inspiration for those months ahead that promise sunny days, flower-filled moments and butterflies fluttering about. 

Perhaps I'm just bored of my skinny jeans & boots this winter, but the idea of cushy cork-bottom shoes & flowy pants seems freeing and fabulous to me. Fashion freedom, baby! 

Tory Burch Fleming Quilted Flap // Jimmy Choo Patara Cork Wedge // Tibi Simone Pleated Culottes // Tibi Simone Silk Top // Layered Pendant Necklace // Bobbi Brown Brightening Brick Pink // 

My only hiccup? I'm not one to throw down upwards of $425 on a pair of pink pleated pants. So I'm on the hunt for a suitable replacement. Accessories, jackets & dresses are my investment pieces, but fun pants & blouses are not items I sink heavy cash into. But those platforms & the bag are on my radar and most certainly happening. 

I did find a few pair in a range of price points, but still no pleated pink. Trust me when I tell you that black and white ones will surely be my staples. 

PEEP THESE CUTE CULOTTES

What about you? What will your spring 2015 look be? Will you be joining me in my quest for culottes or sticking to your skinnies? 

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY...

Perspective: Believe It to See It...

Call it chutzpah, call it blind ambition, but willing things to happen with unstoppable faith has incredible power. Kick of this Tuesday without fear, without hesitation and without any doubt. What you seek is already in your power. It's all about realizing it. 

PRETTY LITTLE "DAY MAKERS"