Color Crush: Pale & Pretty Yellow...

Oh, yellow. You taunt me. You tempt me. You occasionally betray me. And still... I adore you. You make me happy and are a surefire mood boost on even the most cloudy of days. 

Owning the fact that can only wear certain shades of this juicy color doesn't temper my love of it. Considering that I've dedicated previous posts to this amazing spectrum of radiant shades on the color wheel will reveal that I'm downright envious of the Eva Longorias and Lupita Nyong'os who can don this happy citrusy tone with reckless abandon. I, on the other hand, must dabble in a certain range. 

But for my house I can get a bit more bold. Peppy pillows, fantastic art and a golden accent here or there. What about you? Are you too craving this happy hue?

SHOP THE SHADE

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Current Obsession: The Perfect Rose Pink Tote...

Color me obsessed. This beautiful rose pink bag has my name written all over it. Add in gold hardware, scratch-resistant leather (why doesn't all leather come with that quality???) and delicate pink lining and I'm already mentally making room for it in the closet. This rose hued handbag is making all my Valentine's Day wishes come true by being the prettiest tote I've seen all month long. Her most endearing quality: she comes with a price that doesn't knock me over....and an optional cross body strap. Thank you, Tory, for keeping it real. (Robinson Tote $575).

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Dreaming Of: Snowy Castles...

Thinking of all of you snowed in (or at least enjoying a light dusting of the good stuff) up north. May your day be bright, light and filled with magical moments. Stay warm & safe. 

COLD WEATHER FAVORITES

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Shopping: Beautiful Bargains via Net-a-Porter's Sale...

I only love shopping sales when it means I can score timeless classics at great prices. Net-a-Porter's clearance is still going strong today. Be warned: some great finds are final sale but others are an ADDITIONAL discount of 20% off. While it's tempting to go crazy grabbing fashion :"steals" I have learned to stick to tried and true looks to make sure that my bargain discovery is truly worthy of the coveted closet space it will require. I've found a few pieces I think are great choices. Pieces you're sure to love for years to come (or at least I would!) Enjoy using code 20SALE to snag your investment pieces at the best price. Happy shopping. :) 

I love these shimmery gold strappy sandals. Originally $1465. They are now $293 and your size might still be available. You. Are. Welcome. :)

Seven days of silk Stella McCartney style for about $60 total. These blush silk beauties with ruffled hems & embroidered days of the week are perfect for sleeping. 

You mix & match queens will love this amazing leopard bikini bottom. The matching top is sold out, but this cutie will look great with any black bikini top you might own. Rowr! (Note: this find is final sale) 

Marc Jacobs stretch ponte LBD 40% off. Yes, please. $180 (limited sizing available).

Just when you think you've seen and loved them all, Givenchy offers a cuff you love even more than the rest. This pretty piece is also on clearance. Take an additional 20% off to make it about $526 at checkout. Not cheap, but almost 2/3 off the original price. Beautiful bargain, indeed. 

Stay warm post-yoga in this zip-up hoodie from James Perse. I love a classic black cover-up, and I love a sweet bargain even more. Originally nearly $200, he's now almost 60% off after the final discount. Happy workouts to you :) 

Lanvin lover? Save 30% on this chic two-tone tote. Timeless and classic, I'm partial to the minimalist styling and gold hardware. 

Eugenia Kim wool felt cap. Now $120. Don't mind if I do. Classic cool style. 

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Color Crush: Punchy Persimmon ...

One of my all time favorite colors is a shade somewhere between orange and pink and coral. I think of it as persimmon, but as trends change it is frequently called other names. Regardless of what you choose to call it, this color is happy, energetic and flattering on most skin tones. I love it in tulips, a adore it in sweaters and as a hue occurring in nature I am endlessly amazed. I hope the color crush of the day makes you feel fiery inside and it sets your ambition for the week on fire. Happy Monday! xoxo

SHOP THE SHADE

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Celebrity Living: Camuto's Ethereal Villa Maria...

You know already that this amazing Hampton home has my name written all over it. Ina humble nod to Vince Camuto's passing this week, it seemed only appropriate to showcase one of his great personal achievements: restoring a waterfront Jazz Age mansion to its former glory. He and his wife & business partner Louise lovingly took on the challenge of repairing and resurrecting a 21,000-square-foot stuccoed estate and making it modern while retaining its classical roots.

The photos of restored Villa Maria are nothing short of breathtaking. Considering the couple's unmatched professional success at building global brands we shouldn't be shocked at their ability to turn a dilapidated estate into a fresh sprawling residence. But still, renovations are a labor of love and require discipline, tenacity and commitment. All traits these moguls no doubt possess. And...it helps that this wasn't their first rodeo. They brought a French Norman estate in Connecticut out of ruin years ago, so this Gatsby-esque structure was a challenge they were prepared to face. 

While it would have been easy to turn this manse into a gaudy affair, what I appreciate is their restraint. The soothing color palette, aged finishes and open airy spaces bathed in light are nothing short of spectacular. Along with co-conspirators NYC architect Andre Tchelistcheff, landscape architect Edmund D. Hollander and celebrated Manhattan designer Carol Egan, they transformed a vast mansion into a welcoming and inviting home. No easy feat.

The result? Chalk, pale ivory and dove hues come to mind. While there are shimmering details, the interiors exude casual elegance and family-friendly appeal. I can almost imagine them entertaining their extended family on the lawn and enjoying the magnificent waterfront view. 

While I wish for us all to own our own Villa Maria one day, you can infuse a touch of its effortless glam with a few carefully chosen pieces. I've shown a few of my favorites below. But be sure to go back and read the ArchDigest feature on the home to learn more about their magnificent dedicating to the estate and to creating an intimate home within. 

ROCK VILLA MARIA'S AIRY & BRIGHT LOOK

This pretty perch is versatile and functional. Place in pairs in a living room, at the foot of a bed in the bedroom or along a wall in a wide hallway. 

A pretty chandelier in a delicate gray patina. Dreamy!

Add a pretty neutral throw on a chair or ottoman for an instant "come stay a while" vibe. 

Every room benefits from a piece showing a bit of age and patina. I love this distressed white chest in a hall, a dining room or a bedroom. 

Live orchids are always better than faux, but for high quality silks never need to be watered and will never need repotting.

I love that this garden stool features floral cutouts and an unexpected concave silhouette.

Nothing beats an orchid in an urn. I love this etched mercury glass version.

Capiz shells lend a glowing aura to the petals this pretty pendant light.

A traditional oushak rug gets a fresh new look in dreamy dove and ivory. Unify a large seating arrangement with one of these underfoot to ground the room.

Classic carved Louis XVI dining chair pairs well with everything and can be moved around a room as needed. 

An elegant beveled mirror in gilded finish reflects light and brings sophistication to any wall.

This chic upholstered tête-à-tête in dreamy neutral linen can float in a room and be a favorite place for intimate conversation or a midday nap. 

lyre lamp brings a nod to history and classicism without saying a word. 

Glamorous embroidered pillows are always part of a well designed space. Buy in pairs and enjoy for years to come. 

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Buon Weekend: Fly...

Indeed, darling. What if you fly? Happy Weekend! 

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For Her: Pretty Valentine's Day Gifts She'll Adore...

It's just around the corner, you know... Valentine's Day! A day to show love, share love and be the embodiment of generosity in the world. It doesn't have to lend itself exclusively to romance. This is also a holiday when you might want to honor your girlfriends, your mom and anyone else who makes you happy. Perhaps even a gift for yourself is in the cards. It's up to you. But I do encourage you to get into the spirit of sharing your appreciation for those around you. It can be a small token of appreciation or a generous surprise that makes them blush. It's entirely up to you, the key is to do it with heart and without expectation of anything in return. Gifts from the heart are the best gifts of all! 

HEARTFELT GIFTS SHE'LL ADORE






Perspective: Make It Happen...

Consider this your nudge to chase your dreams. I promise you this: NO ONE is going to work harder to make your dreams come true. No one has the same passion for your life that you possess. No one has the exact dreams you hold in your heart. 

What do I want? The ability to travel comfortably and slowly and really enjoy each destination. I want a closet full of pretty dresses and shoes. I want a house on a hill overlooking the water. I want a handful of amazing girlfriends to laugh with and grab for days out & about. I want radiant health to enjoy my life. I want a gorgeous home filled with beautiful things I've designed and created. I want sunshine. I want a butt kicking (and booty tightening) yoga instructor to take me to the next level. And the level after that. I want a passport with an excess of stamps from far-flung locations and dreamy destinations. I want to feel fabulous, look flawless and live a life of laughter and adventure. I want enough Benjamins in the bank to put me at ease about the present and far into the future. That's what I want. 

And I know better than anyone that I'm the one who has to chase these dreams for myself because they are nearest and dearest to my heart. I'm the one who sees them. I'm the one who needs them. I'm the one who has to has to hustle to make it all become reality. 

The same is true for you. Have you written down your goals? Have you physically authored your 2015 plans? No? Then read this and start working, honey!  

A few things I'm going to add to the mix to make sure my plans come to life...

TOOLS OF THE TRADE: TURN THOSE DREAMS INTO REALITY 

PB Teen Gilt Pinboard // Make It Happen Pink Notebook // Yours Sincerely Note Card Set

Why the gilt pinboard? I definitely believe in the power of visualization. See it, believe it, experience it seems to be the name of the game. It reinforces the words you'll no doubt have jotted down in your journal (hint, hint). Put up what moves you. For me this is a collection of gorgeous people, places and things. But I'm also keen on adding fabrics and other non-traditional inspiration board objects. It's all about creating an energy and an emotion. 

Why the note cards? Manners matter. Send thoughtful cards. Write heartfelt notes. Care enough to send a "thinking of you" letter to friends and family. Congratulate people. They will remember and it will reinforce (and create) meaningful relationships. 

Now... go "make it happen" people! 

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Art & Design: Let Your Art Speak For You...

Hope you're all having an amazing week so far. Today the topic of creativity came up over and over again in conversation. To celebrate artistic design in its many varied and wondrous forms, I've pulled together a few images of diverse abstract paintings that really "make" the space. Enjoy these and other inspiring works of art on this pinterest board. Until tomorrow... xoxo

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Beauty: Making (and Faking) that Mid-Winter Glow...

Winter skin can be a challenge. The highs of the holidays have passed and now it's just... cold. I've learned a few tricks that I have to remind myself to employ when January's skin "blahs" come around. The lack of sunny days and chilly nights are enough to make anyone's regular beauty routine seem lackluster, so having a few tricks (and targeted products) on hand can help. Here's what I'm using:

First, the basics. You'll need to make sure your'e drinking enough water. Trust me, even more than you're presently consuming. Add a few more glasses of filtered water to your day (I like mine with lemon) and watch your face plump back up and your eyes shine bright again. It's a basic beauty truth you (and your face) cannot afford to ignore. What's more: being hydrated keeps all of your body's systems running and aids in having a clear and glowing complexion. Just drink. Trust me. 

Now on to products. Exfoliating and moisturizing are key here. I like to use a resurfacing mask from time to time to keep skin smooth and glowing. Tata Harper's mask has reached near cult-like status amongst beauty enthusiasts and now I see why. Wow! What a difference this little $55 investment can make. Use once a week for best results. I like to do mine at night and follow it with a one-two punch by using Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Complex ($46) because you should never strip your skin without putting on a soothing layer of nutrients & antioxidants next. Boom! Glowing skin by morning with little effort on your part. 

Now... moisture. I can't deny my love of Bliss products. Deeply hydrating, they play well with makeup (a huge pro) and lend me a flawless finish. Loaded with peptides & antioxidants, this longtime beauty bag staple of mine has earned its place in my personal hall of fame (cue the confetti!). While I know I should be upgrading to cosmeceuticals and the like (and I do here and there), when in doubt I bust out the Bliss Youth As We Know It Day & Night Cream. Works like a charm to rev up my skin. 

The tips above all help induce a naturally dewy visage. But let's be fair... it's nice to have a little "help" inducing that ethereal glow. While there is no substitute for great skin and vibrant well-rested eyes, you can leverage the power of skillfully applied cosmetics to bring out your inner Gigi Haddad.

What beauty products do love?

Start with a "your skin only better" base of either Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturizer or (my new crush) Guerlain's Lingerie de Peau Invisible Skin Foundation. Each of these leave only a whisper of color and lend themselves to layering as much (or as little) as desired. Apply where necessary and touch up undereye circles or other spots with (you already know what's coming next) the must-have highlighter pen I've been addicted to for years. YSL's Touche Eclat is a miracle worker and a lifetime beauty bag essential. (Editor note: I've recently switched to color #2 Luminous Ivory and am so happy. Yellow undertones and a more natural finished look.)

My winter go-to for a pop of color is the Too Faced Snow Leopard compact. It's just the right mix of pinks, golds and tawny bronzers for my yellow-undertone skin. The shimmer isn't too shimmery and the bronze isn't too bronze. It's just right when applied with a light touch. I prefer a kabuki brush like Aerin's for feather light dusting on temples, apples of cheeks and anywhere else the sun might actually have graced your skin. But... go lightly, sister! Less is more. 

Finish with fabulous lips in a barely there nude. I was seriously into Tom's Nude Blush lipstick but now I'm feeling Pink Dusk for its "hey there, handsome" qualities. It has a hint more rosy pink in it - perfect for revving up your look in the dead of winter. For eyes I'm swearing by Bobbi Brown's super precise liner these days. It lends a very thin and immovable line to highlight those peepers and avoid that dreaded smudged look that only works in editorial spreads. (Tip: I do recommend her "ultra fine liner brush" to achieve a pixel perfect lined eye.)

My final tip? Exercise!!! Girls, you're going to need to move that body to get blood circulating. Don't miss out on the sheer beauty of truly radiant skin caused by a healthy (read: active) body. Choose an activity and stick with it. Or choose a half dozen and enjoy them all. Given the choice I'd mix in yoga, zumba and cardio kickboxing every week. I love to move it, move it and I'm a firm believer in the necessity to maintain your fitness and build healthy habits. Remember: one body for what promises to be a long life. Take care of yours and it will long take care of you. Promise. 

SHOP THE GLOW


Mind & Body: The Quest for Authentic Matcha...

Lately whenever I drink my morning coffee I'm plagued by a nagging feeling that I'm in dire need of a health overhaul. I wish it weren't true, but I can't deny it to myself any longer. Shouldn't I start my day with a green tea or a superfood-packed wheat grass shot? I should, I know I should. Last year I gave up a host of bad dietary habits: gluten (which was an underlying cause of multiple issues), Splenda (horrible and very difficult to give up, but I did!) and protein bars. 

2014 was the year I committed myself to whole foods, less convenient meals (those aforementioned protein bars) and cleaning up my diet. Well... it's time to take it to the next level. Yes, I'm jumping on the goji berry, chia seed, matcha track much beloved by supermodels for good reason.

If 2014 was the year for eliminating the bad, I want this year to be the year I focus on adding in the good to my life and my nutritional routine. 

Why am I considering kicking my coffee habit? First: coffee is acidic. Green tea by contrast is rich in antioxidants and is alkaline in nature. It is hailed as a cancer fighter and a fat burner. All good things, but what I really want is a genuine health boost and an energy lift that doesn't affect my blood sugar levels. All of which lead me back to my coffee habits. 

That second reason? I don't drink my coffee black. I want to stop using stevia (my splenda stand-in in my daily java) and look for ways to radically transform my natural energy levels. In addition to stevia I also add either milk or creamer - neither of which seem easy to clean from my mugs, so I can only imagine what these film-inducing substances are doing to me internally. Ick. Ick. Double ick. 

And so...  it seems perhaps my rabid coffee-lust could perhaps, just perhaps, be replaced by something more positive and better for mind & body. 

Matcha is hailed as a miracle drink for all that ails us. And I'm ready to add this to my repertoire as well as add in a collection of those other yummy superfoods I mentioned. The berries & seeds are easy picks. These and a host of other popular miracle foods are readily available at Whole Foods and any organic market. Even Amazon can get them here in record time (hello, Prime!). 

But the matcha? It's a bit trickier. I'm not in search of the American version of this frothy whole-leaf tea concoction. I'd like to be a purist and enjoy a traditional bowl of the good stuff. After much research I determined that O-Cha has an amazing organic version. Prized for its smooth taste and rich verdant hue. But this award-winning Japanese tea requires special accessories to make properly, and it's no shock I don't have those specialized accoutrements on hand. 

Enter Panatea. I discovered them via a Bon Appetit article late last night. Panatea makes entering the world of matcha look easy and, dare I say it, desirable. Their videos and streamlined site make it seem simple to whip up a batch of this rich-in-antioxidants drink. Yes, they are Americanizing it for me (exactly what I swore I didn't want), but it makes the ceremonial drink a bit more approachable and attainable for the masses.

If you've been curious about matcha yourself, peep at their starter kit for a very reasonable $59. It comes with a traditional double-wall glass bowl, a measuring scoop and a traditional whisk (called a "chasen") to transform this coffee boss into a matcha guru in no time flat. Hopefully. 

Downsides: I don't see any reviews or details regarding the quality or source of their matcha powder. It's not organic and I see little info on the product itself. I'm not expecting the product itself to be on the level with O-Cha's premium powders. But... for my initial foray into the world of Japanese tea this starter kit might be a good first stop. The gateway product to set me on the path to my "zenlightenment" that surely must follow. Primarily, I see the acquisition of the tools themselves and the knowledge of how to use them as perhaps the real beauty of the Panatea offer. 

I haven't ordered it yet, but I've got a kit in my online cart. Pondering. Considering. Researching. (Note: I have no vested interest in the brand, but their sleek marketing and mention in Bon Appetit has me intrigued.) 

***update: I ended up going with quality over quantity. O-Cha makes a truly organic authentic premium grade matcha. It's on the way from Japan as I type this. From all online accounts this is a very good brand with high quality products. I decided to start with the very best and make my decisions from there!***

What about you? Have you matcha'd yet? Are you whisking up a frothy batch of the good stuff each morning in lieu of coffee or are you dabbling in it with matcha-infused baked goods or lattes? Do tell. Also.. Are you tossing back goji berries and chia seeds on the regular? I'd love to hear all about it. What nutritional changes are you making this year? 

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Musings: On Embracing Your Inner Icon...

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Like it or not, someone somewhere has you on a pedestal. Someone, be it your best friend, your daughter, your co-worker or your mom thinks you are amazing. And guess what? You are. There is something remarkable about you that sets you apart from everyone around you. You have a unique gift - perhaps a handful of them - that makes you amazing. Downpllay it or showcase it, it's there. Your shining qualities radiate and should never be hidden. Your gifts should never go unused or underdeveloped. 

While many are out there embracing the selfie stick and showing the world how and why they think they are awesome, others of you are almost waiting for permission to be awesome. You're almost waiting for a formal invitation to reveal your full self to the world. 

Let's go back to the fact that someone sees you as an icon, and someone to look up to and admire. You owe it to them (but even more so to yourself) to live up to your full potential. Your role here isn't to compare yourself to others. Your only mission is the evolve into the very best version of yourself that you possibly can. We do this by trying and failing. We do this by making mistakes. We do this by allowing ourselves to try new things and to confidently move the ball in the direction of our dreams. We do this through action. We achieve i through allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and to grow. It takes action and a willingness to be slightly uncomfortable in that growth. But, perhaps more reassuring, we do it by following our instincts. 

My challenge to you this weekend: embrace your inner light and be a beacon of light in your own life. Be positive. Be happy. Be in love with life. Embrace this day and each moment. And most of all - embrace you and what sets you apart from everyone else. Rise to the challenge of living a life less ordinary and not ever - ever - blending in with the crowd. Follow your own instincts and become the memorable "you" you're meant to become. 

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