Loving: A Week of Wonderful New Discoveries...

I found many special little things this week. Perfect casual dresses, the ultimate makeup palette (a total surprise for this non-palette fan), a go-anywhere tote and pretty shoes in my size. It's the little things, really. Right?

While it feels to me that summer is in full swing, I can see that for many of my friends it is quickly winding down as kids head back to school and vacations are wrapping up. Luckily those end-of-season sales are in full effect keeping us from getting all wistful about how quickly the sunny months are passing. Distractions are wonderful things. 

But what's really rocking my world this week is my renewed passion for life. I've begun eating a far more alkaline diet, stripping out all non-essential & unfulfilling things from my life and diving deeper into those things which matter most. Focus. Determination. Vision. 

I am in the midst of giving my office a good zhushing and my closet a big purge (what's new, right?) and the effects are downright freeing.  What about you? What made you happy this week? 

FUN (AND AFFORABLE) LITTLE DISCOVERIES


Mind & Body: Overcome Your Case of the Workout Blahs...

We won't kid ourselves and imply I ever gave up yoga, but leaving the studio to maintain my practice at home has had mixed results at best. In the beginning it was easy to challenge myself and keep up (most) of the intensity that I found in classes with my favorite instructors. And then it hit. The plateau. The complete lack of enthusiasm for hitting the mat. The craving for more variety, for a longer sessions, for HEAT. Well... I'm back at it. And I'm headed into a new studio that emphasizes the style of yoga I crave. Their class list reads like a wish list "sweaty vinyasa flow" classes mixed with more intense power ashtanga sessions. I can't wait to step my foot back on the hard wood floors and get my flow on for those hour long workouts. 

But first... my yogi apparel needs a little lift. Here's what I'm presently loving (spoiler: there's quite a bit of pink!):

SUMMER YOGA ESSENTIALS



Why the urge to add to my workout apparel & accessories? Because sometimes a few new threads will get you excited about rolling out your mat. On that note, a new mat can often be inspiring and be a shortcut to setting your mind free and getting into the zone. Workout stagnation can sometimes be kickstarted by a bright sports bra, a cool gym tote or a flashy new fitbit bracelet. Is it superficial? Not really. It's like a change of scenery. Working from the "outside in" is often a way to quickly add new energy (mental and physical) and appeal to your internal feelings about your fitness routine.

What about you? Are you feeling the fitness "blahs" this summer? What are you doing to combat it? I encourage you to try something new. A new routine. A new location. A fresh outfit. A new activity. How about new playlist? Add something to the mix that motivates and inspires to you to get up and get moving. It's so very worth it. YOU are worth it. 

Mind & Body: Amazing Natural Wonders for Beauty & Health...

Beneath all the seemingly superficial fashion & beauty posts, this blog is truly about living an optimized life. Peak performance living is the ultimate goal for me, and hopefully for you as well. Facing each day energized, revitalized and free from ailments and hindrances is the ideal existence. And yet, so many of us - self included - have introduced things into our lives that drag us down and make us feel (or perhaps look) less than our best. 

For me, I was noticing severe energy level issues and general feelings of lethargy. Unusual. The answer is usually whispering to you, telling you the cause. In my case I felt it was a mashup of a my food intake and an overall mismatch of nutrients. And let's not avoid the other elephant in the room: toxins entering our bodies through plastic water bottles and skin care products. 

While I have much to continue sharing on the topic. I will share that I've shifted to an alkaline approach to eating, glass water bottles filled with lemon-infused water and in many cases, skin care from innovative brands harnessing the power of nature. Another fun new addition? Tumeric. And lots of it. Apparently this vibrantly hued spice is loaded with disease fighting compounds and can even battle the bulge. Who knew? 

As I warm up to share much, much more with you, I wanted to introduce a few natural all-stars in my life. 

AMAZING NATURAL WONDERS FOR BEAUTY & HEALTH

Beauty is just as easily achieved with nature-derived solutions. Who knew? And because your body is your temple, below are a few of my nutrition-related obsessions...

I have SO much to share with you. From spices that can prevent (or even reverse) health issues to plant-derived skin case obsessions, I'm charting a personal new path that really energizes me. I hope you'll join me in on the journey! Much, much more to come in future posts.  

Luxe Accommodations: Thailand's Tranquil 137 Pillars House...

The idea of spending a few slow weeks in Southeast Asia is absolutely thrilling to me. Cambodia, Burma, Java, Bali... oh, it entices me like few places do. So far I can boast about no Asian travels as we've stayed largely on the European continent and surrounding areas. But when I think of epic journeys and unforgettable voyages, Thailand and the surrounding areas certainly come to mind. 

A quick tour of Kiwi Collection (which I ADORE for their unique rating system & huge photography) led me to 137 Pillars House, a tucked away retreat in Chang Mai. Stay long enough (or even for one magical night) and you'll forget it's a hotel at all. The suites feel like private estates hidden within tropical gardens. In addition to inspiring my approach to patio decorating this season (hello, wall of meandering greens!) it conjures up images a breezy dresses and slip on shoes over nothing more than a bathing suit. Now that's the kind of vacation wardrobe I can get behind.

CHANNEL YOUR INNER VACATION BABE 



Now... on to the idea of vacations. Where do you long to go? Where are you plotting to visit this year? What was your favorite trip. And how do you go about researching your accommodations? 

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What to Wear: Channeling Your Inner Luxe Boho Babe...

We're not talking festival gear here. Think: a modern day Brigitte Bardot as Mara Hoffman's muse and you get the idea. I touched upon the idea in a previous post, but today's topic all about how to wear it. A breezy floor-grazing kaftan. Shimmery bronzer. Statement rings. And... of course, a head wrap. I can't get enough of this look and - left to my own devices - would dress the part all day every day. 

CHANNEL YOUR INNER LUXE BOHO BABE





Love that bronzed glow but trying to save your precious skin from the ravages of the sun? Me too. Check out my beauty series on mineral sunscreens and achieving that coveted St. Tropez glow for body and face. Up soon: a post on safe (and essential) exfoliation that is my current obsession for revealing smoother, fresher and more healthy looking skin. In the meantime... happy summering, lovelies! 

Loving: Mid-Summer Exotic Glamour...

As if hit by this mid-summer heat wave (it's reaching 100 and 100+ degrees as far out as my iPhone app can see), my internal style compass is aimed squarely at more exotic looks. While it's easy to keep it consistent, I'm loving the idea of pulling a more complex Eastern theme into my design lens in a sophisticated way. Think: detailed patterns, vibrant hues and pops of gold (always!). It needn't be much, but why not have a bit of fun and bring this Morocco-meets-Bollywood look into your living room, onto your closet and into your life? Perhaps a bit of hot color is just the thing to cool you off in this mid-summer burn session. 

Here's what I'm loving for around the house and in the closet...

EXOTIC ACCENTS FOR EVERY OCCASION





What about you? Does the heat inspire you to change things up? Do you dress differently? Do you deck out your pad with a more intense flair - or perhaps swing it the other way in soothing colors and less intense prints?  Tell me what feels like the mid-summer mood for you. I'd love to discover more about the inner workings of your style inspiration. 

xoxo,
Franki 

Visual Poetry: Pantone Matching Everyday Objects...

 
 
 

Fellow internet addicts have no doubt seen these images circulating in your news feed, but for the rest of you (you know... you NORMAL people who don't obsess over the minutiae of the social media memes of the moment) I wanted to share this cool photo series. Images were taken (and conceptualized) by a Inka Matthew of Green Ink Studio and are definitely worth a second look. See her Instagram feed for more. Simple? Yes And there's in composition and focus to be learned here. Ask yourself... when was the last time you appreciated details of the objects you see every day? Perhaps a pause is in order for you and a closer look and the lovely qualities of the "ordinary" beauty in your life. It's Sunday... no better time to stop, look, appreciate. 

INJECT A SHOT OF COLOR INTO YOUR LIFE



Shopping: Tory's Jewelbox on Paris’ Rue Saint-Honoré...

Once upon a time I loved Tory Burch shoes. Loved them. My closet shelves can attest to that declaration. Wedges, flats, boots and more. Tory offered fabulous quality for a not terribly unreasonable price. For the logo averse, a savvy shopper could avoid rampant branding by opting for her more subtle options with discreet use of her iconic medallion.

Somewhere along the line I feel for other shoe peddlers... JImmy Choo, Stuart Weitzman and others beckoned with their equally fabulous heels. But I do admit to appreciating Tory's ongoing brand evolution and her expansion into lifestyle offerings. Acrylic & brass goods, picture frames, tableware and beauty are all part of her expanding empire. 

In case you too have been missing out on Ms. Burch's general fabulousness, I thought I'd share a few pix of her new Rue Saint-Honoré flagship store and some of her more noteworthy goods for your vanity and desktop. No one offers gold accents quite like Tory and it's fun to celebrate the general gorgeousness of these pieces. Even for the "logo allergic" amongst us :)

ADD A LITTLE GOLDEN GLAM TO YOUR LIFE



Musings: On Creating Your Own Joy...

Happiness really is a choice. Every minute of every day. But happiness itself is a mood and joy is a more profound feeling of deeper enthusiasm for life. So if you can choose your mood, choose to be as happy as possible each moment... and eventually you'll train your mind to experience the joy of life. It might seem silly at first if you are forcing it, but with repeated efforts and a reconditioned mind you'll soon discover that moments of silliness were totally worth it. Now... go find reasons to smile! 

WHAT I'M CRUSHNG ON RIGHT NOW


Extraordinary Journeys: Trina Turk + Jonathan Adler's Epic Italian Summer Vacation...

 
 

What happens when two of the fashion & design industry's most vibrant characters go to the Italian coast? An Instagram feed of epic photos emerges. Traveling with their significant others (Mr. Turk & Simon Doonan, respectively), the fierce foursome gave us plenty to add to both our bucket list and our ultimate closet wish list.

What, you ask, did they do? Everything a good little vacationer should do. They enjoyed colorful cocktails, wore gorgeous tunics (or cool shorts, for the boys), dipped their toes in stunning pools, enjoyed the view of the Italian coast from a boat and dove head first into the sea. The photos of Capri, Sicily and Naples are enough to have me strategically plotting my tunic and fedora purchases. 

What did we learn from this digitally documented journey? Let's review a few teachable highlights:

  1. Italy is awesome. (Not that you needed a reminder of that.)
  2. Happiness and a big smile are a clearly girl's best accessories.
  3. Trina truly lives the lifestyle her brand portrays. (Way to represent, sister!)
  4. Tunics & kaftans are a must-have summer vacation staple for every female. 
  5. You can never have too many chic straw hats. (Smart sun protection is always in style.)
  6. Never underestimate the power of a stylish and confident man. He makes life more exciting. 
  7. Get out on a boat. The view (and the breeze) is far better from the water. 
  8. Take in the local scene and indulge in the experiences your vacation destination offers. 
  9. Italians can make even common popsicles seem incredibly chic. 
  10. Book the ticket. Take the trip. It will ALWAYS be worth it. 

Where did they stay? Naples, Capri and Sicily were among the photographed locatons. In Capri they enjoyed the beauty of La Scalinatella and I'll dive deeper into that property in another post. For now, let's focus on loading your closet up with tunics & other Turk-worthy looks. 

CHANNEL YOUR ITALIAN SUMMER GODDESS




See more of Trina & Jonathan's pix here. Don't be envious. be inspired. Go make your own memories and build a life worth smiling about! Now... go book those summer trips!   

Giveaway: Chill Out with a Cool New Nespresso Machine...

No giveaway is ever as popular as our Nespresso collaborations! As summer reaches a fever pitch (we're tickling 100 degrees here in Texas this week!) it seemed the best time to cool you off with a brand spanking new Nespresso machine and a few chill recipes. So... who's ready for some caffeine-infused fun? 

Nespresso just rolled out a limited edition Cru called Perú Secreto and it is rich and marvelous. While I have other crus I enjoy, this one is really special in that it lends itself to sweet cocoa notes. It is intense and smooth and... well, frankly it inspired me to plead with the team at Nespresso to let you try it as well. And thus, a giveaway (and a few crazy good recipes) came to be. 

AUTHENTIC ITALIAN TIRAMISU

First up, tiramisu. A longtime favorite dessert of mine. Readers know I do not have a sweet tooth, so this must be worth it, right? It is, but it has to be made correctly to truly be considered great. And Perú Secreto is so seductively intense that it pretty much begs to play a role in this recipe.

A few things to bear in mind: the best results are achieved with authentic ingredients. Don't expect this to be bikini-friendly or kid-friendly. This is an indulgent, sweet dish with coffee, full fat ingredients and coffee liqueur. As such, you should expect it to be packed with calories and caffeine. So be prepared to invite friends to enjoy it with you. 

For complete recipe & instruction, Pretty Simple Sweet offers the recipe I love. It achieves the picture perfect results seen above. 

And now for a drink I consume almost daily. An iced coffee of the most rich variety. I like to think of this as my doppio on ice. Here is how I make it in about 60 seconds flat. Yes, if you happen to have a Nespresso machine... you are one minute away from a perfectly delicious energy boosting summer beverage. Ready? Here goes: 

FRANKI'S SIGNATURE ICED COFFEE

  • 2 shots strong espresso (my current favorite is Perú Secreto or Roma for you Nespresso fans)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (the So Delicious brand is my favorite)
  • stevia to taste
  • tall glass filled with ice 

This is very simple. Draw up two strong shots of espresso (my Nespresso machine pulls a shot in just a few seconds) and set them aside. I like this beverage with two shots for an extra kick of afternoon energy, but if you prefer you can scale back to a solo shot.

Pour the coconut milk (or milk of your choice) and mix in stevia (or sweetener of your choice) to taste. Now... pour those shots of espresso over the top of your sweetened icy, milk mixture. Add a straw if you want to feel fancy (and don't we all?) and brace yourself for a masterpiece of creamy and sweet coffee-filled goodness. Repeat as often as necessary.  :) 

Bonus recipe: Pour the mixture (sans ice) into any popsicle mold, place in the freezer and in just a few hours you'll enjoy the best frozen treat of your adult life. Make them now. Thank me later. 

THE SIZZLING SUMMER GIVEAWAY

So... on to the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a brand new Nespresso Pixie Clips machine. Like my beloved machine, your can count on the Pixie Clips to create the perfect cup of espresso while minimizing time, space and energy. The new clip technology allows you to change the look in the same fashion you change the look of your smartphone - simply "clip" on new colored side panels for a fresh look. The giveaway prize is valued at $229 and I assure you this will be a very welcome addition to any kitchen. I adore mine (but a teensy bit envious yours will have those cool swappable clips!). 

That lovely cup of espresso in the intro image? That's an single shot of that Peruvian goodness (read about it on Nespresso) prepared with my own machine. Less than 30 seconds to perfect espresso or cappuccino. You will not be disappointed, friends. 

HOW TO ENTER

It's easy! Drop a comment below. Boom! You're entered! Want to improve your odds? Mention this post on Instagram or Twitter (tag me in your post @frankidurbin so I can track it) and I'll toss your name in the hat again. Entries must be received by July 22, 2015 at midnight CST. That's it! Happy coffee drinking, everyone! Drop a comment below and let's get this contest rolling! 

Visual Poetry: Dronestagram Winners Will Take Your Breath Away...

In case you've been a castaway on an island for ages and missed it, drones are the "must have" toy for tech lovers everywhere. While we feared they'd be used for nefarious purposes, these miniature tech-wonders are taking selfies and photography to a whole new level.

Enter the era of the "dronie" (that's a pic of you from your drone) and a brand new spin on documenting our lives and observing our surroundings from a sky high new vantage point. By the looks of it, we are in for some sweet photography from here on out. 

Above (see what I did there?) you'll see a handful of winners from the 2015 Dronestagram photography awards. My vote goes to the swimming with sharks moment thanks to composition, subject matter and color, but all of the photos are fascinating. More can be found here

Beauty: Fresh Faced & Fabulous With Summer Favorites...

Look back through old posts & you'll see I have a long terms love affair with one specific product: Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturizer. When I want to look fresh and fabulous, this hydrating product works wonders on my face. Winter may call for a different color, but come summer it's all about her "Nude" version which is my skin only better. It leaves me dewy and even-toned without masking my skin. 

Recently I discovered a few new items to add to my "forever favorites" category. What are they? A blush the shade of joy (seriously, it might even beat out my NARS), the perfect nude lip liner (and nude lipstick to match) and... wait for it... a liquid bronzer good for adding that sun-kissed sheen anywhere on the body.  

So... let's talk about the basics. This tinted moisturizer. I've used it for about 7+ years now (not kidding) and feel it more than earns all those beauty awards. It delivers enough pigment to blur imperfections and enough hydration to keep your skin from feeling parched. I personally use it over my own moisturizer and my favorite primer, but it's a fantastic product. Consider this the Swiss Army knife of cosmetics as it has SPF 20, it hydrates and plumps with a healthy serving of hyaluronic acid and it makes you look all J. Lo glowy. 

LAY DOWN THE BASE

Now the fun part... color! I love, love, love applying makeup but I am big on achieving a clean look in the end. No bizarre experimentation here, it's all about ending up with fresh appearance and a healthy glow. With that, let me introduce you to the newest blush in my arsenal... Heather Pink. If you follow the post-show break downs of what your favorite celebs wore to this event or that and what makeup they rocked, this blush is one that has been seen on the red carpet a LOT this year. I now understand why. It's pretty, perky and just the right shade of pink and not a hint of "glitter" in the mix. It's Audrey Hepburn perfect. 

GET CHEEKY

Now for the finishing touches. I've trimmed my eye routine down for summer. I'm loving a wash of neutral over the entire eye, a glaze of shimmery bronze-beige shadow on the lids themselves, my "must-have" waterproof black liner and volumizing mascara. For summer, it's perfect. For lips I'm really loving dusty pink nudes. Here's what's presently in the mix: Natural Lips is the name of the liner. It's ideal for achieving the Kylie lips your crave. I don't normally do liner, but this year I'm obsessed giving my pucker a bit more pout. For color, try Spiced Rose, it's that nude-ish/rosy-pink you want but never quite seem to find.

LINE & SHINE

Now for the surprising little tube that took me a while to appreciate. It's a bronzing product in gel form. For some reason I can't work this one into my facial routine, BUT... I've discovered it is amazing for collarbones, shoulders, legs and other areas of the body you want to give a sun kissed look to without, you know, actually going in the sun.

Try it and see if you have the same success. It is not sticky at all, it absorbs into the skin and leaves behind a very believable warmth. And I have yet to see it "rub off" on things the way some of my other bronzing products do. However, when it's time to shower off, it vanishes like a thief in the night. This is a genuinely great product in a smart format. Get your glow on here

Yes, I know, it's intended for your lovely face, but there's no shame in using a great product in a different way if it makes your legs & décolletage look fabulous, right? Beauty hacks are awesome. 

So that's a little look at my current summer beauty routine. For a look back other beauty & skin care (a personal obsession) posts, explore a few more of my beauty-centric posts: 

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Loving: Emily Schuman's Incredibly Wearable Debut Collection...

It's here. Cupcakes & Cashmere's debut fashion collection at Nordstrom. Priced fairly reasonably (about $110 per dress), the looks are classic and casual. Reflecting her now signature approachability, each piece is thoughtfully designed and totally wearable. As a street style star, it should come as no surprise that the overall vibe of effortless cool. Very easy pieces to wear, fun looks to dress up or down, stress-free dressing for busy days. 

When I take a step back and appreciate the moment I realize one thing. he did it. Emily is living every lifestyle blogger's dream. Successful blog --> two great books --> your own collection. You have to hand it to Emily (who is also a new mommy, I should note) for pushing through the clutter and building her brand the way she has. More power to you, girl. I can't wait to see what else you create.

SNAP UP HER STYLISH BOOKS

Here's a fun video that gives an overview of her pieces and her home.

So what do I think? I love that the collection consists of mainly dresses. I am "over" separates these days and am finding more and more freedom with jumpsuits and dresses. It also makes me happy to see lengths that hit just above the knee (universally flattering) and plenty of solids. You know I love black, and the C&C collection does not disappoint. Most of the looks embody the cool California-chic-but-a-bit-more-dressy vibe for which she is known. There are lace options, solids and stripes. As noted above, it's classic. There are no edgy looks here, and I'm a big fan of timeless dressing. There's much to love here, and I think it's a very wearable, well-priced fashion debut. I would not be surprised to see a few of these cuties appear in my closet soon. Hence... my favorites are highlighted below...

LOOKS I LOVE FROM THE COLLECTION



This proves, again, that if you focus and apply consistent effort towards a goal you can achieve it. It doesn't matter how outlandish, how outrageous or how "out there" your goals are. If YOU believe you can achieve it, you can. Now... go write down some nutty goals of your own. I'd love to know that something you've imagined and dreamed of for yourself will one day become your reality. 

xoxo
Franki 

Dreaming Of: Italy's Monte Argentario peninsula

Italian hotels don't get much better than this one. Nestled on Italy's picturesque Monte Argentario peninsula, Il Pellicano is the stuff of legend. The terracotta-hued beauty is perched on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Tuscany’s famed Chianti wine region (surprise, it's not just rolling hillsides and farmhouses there). This is a legendary hotel that draws a crowd of the world’s rich and famous. The minute you set foot on the hotel’s grounds, you will understand why. While the rooms are exquisite, it's the pool that offers guests the main attraction. Turquoise waters as far as the eye can see. 

The Pellicano is a home, not a hotel. We have clients who have been coming here since the late ’60s. They feel they are in a family.
— Hotel Il Pellicano’s Creative Director, Marie-Louise Sciò

This magnificent boutique hotel has all the makings of a dream destination. A long line of famous (and infamous) guests, epic views, signature martinis and incredible exclusivity make this a hotel worth the journey. Offering only 50 suites, you'll enjoy views of the crystalline sea in relative privacy during your stay. Although it may behoove you to wear dark sunglasses so as to peek at the low-key celebs and who's who's tanning themselves and sipping on those signature cocktails.  

What famous faces, you may wonder, have enjoyed the same view? Jacqueline Kennedy, Lee Radziwill, Sophia Loren and Emilio Pucci are a few of the more prominent names from the past, but this hotspot is still a much-loved haunt of Hollywood's hottest. On any given week you're likely to run into princes, princesses (real ones) and jet setters of all varieties. But... what do you (yes, you) wear while lounging poolside amidst the rich and famous? I've rounded up some selections for you and your honey to enjoy while living la dolce vita in this historic location. 

 

POOLSIDE DRESSING FOR YOU

Tom Ford Miranda Sunglasses // Mara Hoffman Swimsuit // Omorovicza Gold Shimmer Body Oil

No tugging necessary with this peek-a-boo Mara Hoffman swimsuit. It affords the skin-baring exposure of a bikini with the comfort of a one-piece. Heaven. Legs not quite ready for prime time? Rub up in Omorovicza's shimmer oil and prepare to be amazed at your newly Giselle-like limbs. And sunglasses, dear sweet sunglasses. Tom Ford's options won't leave that imprint on your nose, so they win high points for that. Add a tunic or kaftan and flip flops... you're all set for lounging seaside under an umbrella in the company of movers & shakers. 

POOLSIDE  FOR HIM

Cutler & Gross Mirrored Aviators // Hartford Board Shorts // J. Crew Panama Hat // Acqua di Parma Deodorant Stick

Guys like to keep it simple. Classic board shorts, a cool fedora and reflective aviators are pretty much all he needs. Be sure to pack his flip flops and sunscreen, but aside from that he's going to require very little to be happy in your very plush poolside situation. 

Ready to head make your way to this fabulous and famous destination? Read more about it on TripAdvisor, Booking.com has tons of additional pix or get fiscally savvy and see what Priceline can do to net you a sweet (and perhaps suite) deal. 

STUNNING PRE-FLIGHT READS

Love to read? Find out why this small Italian hotel has captivated so many for so long by reading Robert Violette's book featuring photography by Slim Aarons.  

PRETTY PIECES FEATURED IN THIS POST


Entertaining: Bring Together Fronds & Friends...

Fronds are EVERYWHERE this summer and I am loving it. From jumpsuits to candleholders (more on that in a moment) these oversized leaves are showing up in the most unusual of places.

Let's first pay tribute to 1942 by decorator Don Loper and others for popularizing the iconic Martinique wallpaper. Using a banana leaf wallcovering is a bold design choice that has made the Beverly Hills Hotel a legendary example of chic design over the years. Dorothy Draper decked the halls of The The Greenbrier Hotel in leafy green paper as well during in it's renovation in the 40's (what was it with that decade?). In more recent years, designer Tom Scheerer made waves when he wrapped the walls of the Lyford Cay Club lobby in Quadrille's towering palm wallpaper.

The message is clear: palms are cool. Palm leaf prints are even cooler. So today's post is all about working this motif into your life in the most sophisticated of ways. It doesn't need to be a head to toe look, just a hint of a frondy print does a space good. Think: Palm Beach Chic and you've got the right vibe. 

Personally, I love the look in proximity to the water. If you have a pool, God bless you. This is the moment it will shine! Rocking a waterless patio? Not to worry, these plans will make you feel as though you're lounging at the Beverly Hills Hotel being catered too by their overly-solicitous staff. 

Now... are you ready to see how I'm suggesting you dress up your dining area to channel that iconic leafy vibe. 

DRESS UP YOUR DINING AREA (INSIDE OR OUT)

Michael Aram Palm Candleholders (note: these are pricey, so bookmark & watch for a sale!) // Velvet Leaf Applique Pillow // Bead-Trimmed Placemats & Napkin Rings // Juliska Classic Bamboo Dinnerware // Palm Leaf Pitcher & Drinkware (note: total steal!)

The key is to have fun and play up the tropical vibe without being terribly overt. The pillows are gorgeous and the dinnerware is CLASSIC for indoor or outdoor use. You will never, ever be disappointed you invested in the Juliska dinnerware. I am obsessed with the brand, so more on that later! 

Set the tone with the right tunes. Think: bossanova. Think: Bebel Gilberto. Think: chill mode. Now for scent. Yes, I know fragrance and dining are supposed to be mortal enemies. But in this instance I love Nest's Sicilian Tangerine to seal the deal on the tropical vibe. The diffuser (versus a candle) will lend subtle fragrance to the space. 

Need more help getting in the mood? I have a few books you might enjoy. 

PALM-FROND INSPIRED READING

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Objects of Desire: All Things Crystal Clear...

Confession time: I am not a big fan of all things acrylic. It requires proper application of this sparkling medium to impress me. The waters have been seriously muddied by cheap plastic $5 objects that just happen to be clear. Plastic spoons = not sexy. Perfectly crafted Lucite legs = dead sexy. 

Like anything, it comes down to quality. High quality Lucite and some of the more luxurious English acrylic products on the market are stunning. Cheap impostors are everywhere, though, and it seems many don't know the difference because they've only seen them online. To try to give insight: It's the difference between Waterford Crystal and a mason jar - they might both be clear containers but that's where to comparison ends. 

Higher quality acrylics (name brand or not) will set you back a pretty penny. You can, however, begin to develop an eye for those pieces produced with more intention by studying the clarity of the pieces. Look for crystal clear legs on ottomans,  heavier objects, pieces that look have substantial weight and clearly cut edges. Like diamonds, it comes down to the four C's of acrylic: you are looking for the best cut, clarity, color and cost you can afford. Don't fool yourself into thinking that a piece of clear plastic is going to sparkle and shine as nice as a lovingly made high-end acrylic. It's just not happening.  

However jaded I may be, when something beautifully created catches my eye I have to celebrate it. Recently I've noticed the emergence of high-end furniture using top quality acrylic and an abundance of very nice home accessories (a few of which are on sale at the moment). 

I hope you'll appreciate a little post featuring some lovely scenes that tastefully use Lucite or acrylic that give me hope that it is indeed a timeless material when skillfully employed. 

CLEAR WINNERS

Game Changers: "Rise" Puts You (Yes, You) On a Private Jet...

Last week I learned about Rise, an awesome Dallas company that is to aviation what Uber is to taxis. For $1650 per month you and a companion can fly unlimited (yes, unlimited) flights. Currently it's a regional service, but even as such this is a game changer. If you've booked a flight anywhere lately your jaw has no doubt dropped by reading he above line about unlimited monthly jaunts to and from a destination for a flat fee.

A single round-trip flight on American Airlines from Dallas to Houston for a couple will set you back a pretty penny - and that's you and your lovely sitting cramped in commercial. Imagine if you will the fine appointments of private jet. You and your guest casually strolling out on the tarmac at an agreed upon time and being greeted by plush leather seating, a charming pilot, and none of the stress of what has become typical modern air travel.

This all-you-can-fly service requires no long-term contracts, has no hidden fees and is definitely taking the area by storm for professionals who regularly travel back and forth from Texas's major metropolitan areas. Need to take more than just your client? A variety of membership level options make it easy to scale up the size of your entourage. 

All of this is thanks to Rise founder and CEO Nick Kennedy who is perhaps not so quietly changing the world of private aviation. 

Members of Nick's private flight club enjoy the ease of booking online or via a smartphone app, before being transported directly from their homes and offered complimentary drinks and snacks. This is all the much anticipated before wheels up moment. Imagine how nice it is once aboard the jet? At the airport, guests board the luxurious eight-seat Beechcraft King Air 350 and relax in a comfortable seat that is both window and aisle before heading off to one of the cities currently covered by the service. In flight fresh coffee, accessories and travel kit are provided by Dallas startup Need - another game-changing service.

Not in Dallas? Don't worry, Rise is in a growth phase, expanding to the UK and other US regions is just a matter of time. 

Change your life one flight at a time at iflyrise.com.

Luxe Accommodations: Securing Some Alone Time In Sicily...

When someone asks you to fly to Sicily, you don't take long to say yes. Instead, you promptly thank them for their graciousness and begin plotting outfits and pulling out your TSA-friendly toiletries. In addition to checking another destination off my list, it is Italy - my happy place! I'll be traveling alone and I cannot think of a time in my life when I've been more excited about flying solo (literally & figuratively). Hectic schedule? Daily routine? Workout rut? Buh-bye! Armed with my camera, a few dresses and little more, I'm excited about making this a carry-on only trip. 

Where to stay? I'm looking at all options, but have stumbled upon what looks like paradise. Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo has hosted such lovely ladies as Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn. The hotel is nestled in a stunning hillside overlooking an ancient Greek theatre and oozes Sicilian charm. One look at that view & those suites and it's not difficult to see why. A wellness center, locally grown fruits, the essence of orange blossom drifting through the air - this is one vacation I'm really looking forward to. 

So... why am I going? It's a work trip, actually, for a fun new client. More on that later. And since this isn't exactly a business hotel I'll be trying to work out the accommodations on my own. BUT... since I am desperate DES-PER-ATE for some "me time" it would be worth the cost if Im footing the bill on my own. Did I mention there will be fresh flowers and fresh fruit in my room upon arrival? Major swoon. And can't you just see me on that balcony overlooking the water, dreaming up lovely ideas? I certainly can. And you can bet I'll be instagramming my little heart out. But I'm also very, very committed to a not checking my bags. It's a fast trip, so a carry-on sounds like sheer heaven. And that pool? I have got to squeeze in a quick dip in that lovely situation. Dreamy, indeed. 

Care to see what I'm hoping to stuff in a my bag? Let's look:

WHAT I'M PACKING





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