Monday, January 28, 2013

Wardrobe Diaries: Winter Layering

Lately I've rediscovered this beautiful woolen coat in my closet. For the longest time I wasn't quite sure how to incorporate it into my outfits. The loose fit and awkward length makes it difficult to pair with your usual jeans and t-shirt uniform. Well, as it turns out that very same loose fit and awkward length are what makes this coat so perfect for layering.

Unless you're either French or an Olsen, most women I know have a little self doubt when it comes to layering. While I've yet to fully master the art myself, there's a few basic principals I've learnt so far along the way. Scroll down to read my basic guide on layering.

{ wearing: marcs coat . witchery sweater . thurley shirtdress . witchery belt . witchery hat . vince camuto booties . ny&co tights . pietro alessandro satchel . nail colour adore-a-ball by essie and licorice by essie }

The Basic Guide to Wearing Layers

1. Start with a shirt/blouse then add, add, add.
When it comes to layering it's never just a shirt and jacket, there is always three or more elements involved. Whether it's the shirt-sweater-coat approach or a blouse-blazer-cape, the bare minimum requires a base layer, intermediate layer and outer layer, not to mention all the accessorizing, but we'll get to that later.

2. Stick to the triangle formula.
Picture a triangle, now apply the same logic to your outfit. If you're wearing a chunky sweater and coat then keep your bottoms streamlined and minimal, think skinny jeans, tights, peg leg trousers etc. If boyfriend jeans are more your thing, then pair them with pumps or flats that reveal a little skin, ankle skin that is.

3. Keep colours/patterns in the same family.
Keeping to a similar colour palette adds depth and dimension to a layered look. It's much more effective and aesthetically pleasing than layering different colours. Neutrals in varying shades work best.

4. Always accessorize. 
Be it hats, sunglasses, gloves, belts, statement shoes, luxe handbags, bouncy blow waves, kohl eyes or all of the above. If you've choosen the path to layering then know that more is more. The key is to look effortless and never like you're trying too hard.

5. Finish off with a scarf (or fur collar in this case).
French women are never without scarves and they know a thing or two when it comes to layering. In fact they practically invented it. A scarf not only helps tie an outfit together but is the easiest accessory to change up for different looks and when in a flattering shade even eliminates the need for make-up. Here's a whimsical little article titled: Why French Women Wear Scarves.

I would love to know if you have any tips on layering. Have you given it a try lately?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday's Fancies

It was really great getting to learn that little bit extra about each of you in my previous post. To be honest, I didn't think so many of you would come forward to reveal what a major role books have played in your lives, so thank you for sharing.

Another week has come and gone, despite the four day weekend, this week has felt exceptionally long. It probably had something to do with the frigid weather we've been experiencing and the early onset of cabin fever. This weekend is going to be all about eating, sleeping and exploring. Who's with me?

Dark and gloomy mornings call for a breakfast by candlelight naturally. Lately I've been waking up craving hummus and pretzels, I mean it does fulfil all the requirements for a complete meal am I right? Protein (hummus)... carbs (pretzels)... dairy (coffee)... am I forgetting something? 

A pretty jeweled Ted Baker collar from my sister that I've yet to wear. I can't wait till it warms so I can layer it over tees and sweaters without the added bulky coat. 

Too cold to leave the house this week and today was no exception. Has the thought of licking icicles ever crossed anyone's mind? ... not that I spend every winter thinking about it. Really!

I couldn't help ordering Kate Spade's new coffee table book for myself.  I must admit, the gold gilded page edges was what originally sold me, but when the book arrived in the prettiest pink tissue paper that was custom designed for the book, I knew I was onto something. Packaging does makes everything. 


Sometimes I think my toddler has a better wardrobe than I do. She's been clashing prints and colourblocking ever since birth. Never mind the mixed matched socks, corny slogan tees, and the odd food stains.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Inspire Me: The Beauty of Books

There's something very special about a printed book that no amount of e-books in the world can replace. Upon a recent quest for new and noteworthy coffee table books, there was one book among the masses that caught my attention. It's called The Ideal Bookshelf by Jane Mount (November 13, 2012). While some may liken this book to Kramer's infamous coffee table book on coffee tables. For the avid reader and book enthusiast this comes as a window into the homes and minds of leading cultural figures as they share a collection of books that matter to them. Upon flipping through the pages you start to realise how little of the literary world you have actually conquered as you slowly take mental notes of titles to add to your reading list. If you are ever at all curious about what other people read, then this one's for you.

And when it comes to the love of the printed word I think author Joe Queenan said it best in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal:

"People who need to possess the physical copy of a book, not merely an electronic version, believe that the objects themselves are sacred. Some people may find this attitude baffling, arguing that books are merely objects that take up space. This is true, but so are Prague, and your kids and the Sistine Chapel."

I'm staring to get off topic, but then again that's the beauty of the written word. One thought lead to another to another and soon you have a full discourse on the meaning of life. But I digress again. Since The Ideal Bookshelf is all about the books that define us, I couldn't help but ponder over the very same question myself. Which books have defined my life? Which books do I turn to? Which books have altered my course of history? The list in the picture above was no small feat to compile, in fact I had trouble filling in the titles of all ten blank books. I guess I have a lot more reading to do.

If you've made it this far then I must apologise for the heavy nature of this post. Don't worry it's back to my usual frivolous writings in the next one.

      My Ideal Bookshelf
                   available >> here and here.

Do you have a favourite book or reading list to share? What books have defined your life?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wardrobe Diaries: Weekend Coffee Run

Weekends usually call for dressed-down casual wear, but when your day job consists of sweats, diapers and food stains, you can't blame a girl for wanting to glam things up a little. Even a simple Saturday morning coffee run becomes an excuse to play dress-up. And what better way to do it than to wear all those tricky textural pieces you wouldn't normally wear when solo parenting. After all, you never know when grubby little fingers will come out to attack. Be it, calf hair, faux fur, suede, chrome, waxed denim so on and so on. The key here is fine textiles and being able to wear it is a luxury.

Those of you who follow my instagram would have seen these J Brand jeans before so it's beyond me why they've never appeared on my blog till now. These are by far the softest, most comfortable skinny jeans I've ever owned. Never mind the fact that they have a wax coating which usually renders denim a tad stiff, because these are anything but. Now that they're on sale, I'm thinking of picking up an extra pair to have on hand. You know, just in case the kids decide to flush these down the toilet or something. I wouldn't put anything past them.

{ wearing: j brand coated jeans . country road knit . bb dakota faux fur . clare vivier calf hair clutch . lucchesi cap toe heels . aliss & ena cuff bracelet }

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Can't get enough of: Organic Argan Oil

There are beauty products and then there are amazing life transforming elixirs. I cannot say enough good things about Josie Maran's 100% pure Argan Oil. For those of you who are unfamiliar, argan oil is a plant oil derived from the kernels of the argan tree native to Morocco. It has traditionally been used  as a treatment for skin diseases and for nourishing the skin and hair. They say this oil even has medicinal uses against rheumatism and the healing of burns. Don't you just love it when products multi-task?

Josie Maran's Argan oil is made cold pressed from 100% pure organic argan oil. Given the vast amount that I apply on a daily basis, it gives me great comfort in knowing there are no toxins, parabens or any other nasties present. In fact the ingredients list just states: 100% organic and natural argania spinosa kernal (argan) oil. How simple and brilliant. We all know that when it comes food products, the shorter the ingredients list the better, the same goes for skin care. The day I discovered this product was a turning point in life (and skin), kind of like that big leap when you first change your facebook status from single to 'in a relationship'. And the best thing is, you actually see immediate results! 

But it here

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wardrobe Diaries: Little White Dress

While we usually associate knits with cold weather, lightweight summer knits are actually a favourite clothing item of mine. I'm talking crochet, pointelle, cable, basically any knit with an open pattern. Take this dress by Ronny Kobo for instance, simple in it's design yet so lovely in it's textural details. The drop waist hem gives it a playful edge while the pointelle fabric gives the dress a good weight resulting in a lovely form and drape. All the qualities one looks for in the perfect little white dress.

These photos were taken not too long ago in sunny Australia. Right now a snow storm is slowly setting in as I type up this post. I dare say, I feel like I'm cheating on winter by posting such fond warm weathered memories. Who else is looking forward to a blue skies and sun?

{ wearing: torn by ronny kobo dress on sale here . karen walker anytime sunnies . alannah hill belt also loving this . clutch thanks to boticca . michael shannon pumps . bracelet thanks to karen london similar here . lip colour blackberry by revlon }

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday's Fancies: Things that make me smile

Happy friday, I hope your first full week of the year has been off to a great start. The girls and I are settling nicely back home in Tennessee. While I don't have as many beautiful scenic snaps like what I had in Australia, here's a look at a few things that are making me smile this friday.

New take on old nursery rhymes. This book exposes toddlers and the like to the wonders of Louboutins, Nobu, Bolly, Krug and Premier Cru. Pretty sure this book is going to come back and bite me in the butt. My favourite rhyme from the book- 'Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been? I've been to London to visit McQueen. Pussycat, pussycat, what did you there? I bought the collection and kissed lots of air.' 

A whimsical neon bow bracelet I chanced upon at a boutique store by the sea. It's finding little gems like this in unexpected places that brighten my day.  

While Pockys (those Japanese choc dipped cookies on a stick) and I go way back, I've only recently discovered how even more delicious they become when dipped in milk. The only downside is wrestling over them with the kids.

Subdued with a tinge of colour, this winter I'm all about nails that look polished and refined. I recently picked up these Essie colours for my sister. The dark wine is a nice departure from your usual bold red lacquers. 

Imagine my delight when I came across these ready made box mix macarons at the supermarket!  For anyone who has ever attempted to bake these tiny delights from scratch, you'll know how difficult and frustrating they can be. The evil genius of Adriano Zumbo has taken all the guess work out of macaron making so you can spend less time worrying baking and more time eating. See what I mean about evil?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cairns Photo Diary

Situated in tropical Far North Queensland, Australia, Cairns is the gateway to the world famous Great Barrier Reef and also host to a weekend getaway the Mr and I recently went on. For anyone who's ever had a travel bucket list, this location deserves to be in your top ten.

The vast expanse of the green blue sea plays home to endless stretches of coral reefs viewable to the naked eye. Sailing around the Great Barrier Reef on a glass bottom boat was a life altering experience, all of a sudden a whole new world opened up. A world that until now was only ever viewed from the comforts of my own home or occasional aquarium visit. Seeing all these beautiful marine life in their natural territory was simply breathtaking. Without any warning the roles suddenly reversed and us humans became the guests, the aliens, visiting a foreign land. And because we foreigners were careful enough to tread ever so lightly, the local population greeted us with delight, often swimming up to snorkelers and divers and sometimes even putting on a show. It's nice to know there are places in the world that remain relatively untouched by humans.

I'm looking forward to the day when my daughters are old enough so we can visit again together.

Perfect year round weather and plenty of palm trees.

Beach essentials.
The public pool overlooking the ocean in the middle of downtown Cairns. 

Snorkelers by the pontoon of Marine World

Off to meet the locals

Sunset from the Shangri-la Hotel

Breakfast of champions

Mysterious fig tree

Cooling off at Millaa Millaa waterfalls

Abundant lush green rainforest

Recycling at it's best.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Wardrobe Diaries: Sunny Side Up

Winter is one of those seasons that you either love or hate. Personally, I love it. I love the crisp wintry smell in the mornings, I love how cosy and inviting home becomes and I especially love being able to use the seat warmer function in the car. On those rare days when the sky is blue and the sun is shining, winter just becomes such a magical time of the year. This week has not been magical at all. After days of continuous overcast, chill winds and grey skies. I was ready to inject some much needed colour back into my world. So naturally, I reach for yellow.

Yellow is a colour that looks fantastic but can be somewhat difficult to work with. When dealing with a large piece of solid yellow clothing such as this J.Crew peacoat, the key is to keep the rest of the look simple and casual. A pair of loose fitting distressed jeans coupled with a chunky striped sweater provides just enough detail to keep the outfit interesting yet remain neutral enough to tone down the sunny yellow. To contrast that just-rolled-out-of-bed nature of the outfit, I threw on some sexy black pumps and a luxe brown bag for a polished, grown-up look. Next time, I think I'll try this coat with some black leather leggings and a black turtleneck, or maybe a beige chiffon maxi and gingham shirt? What about you, will you be giving yellow a try this winter?

{ wearing: j.crew factory peacoat now on sale . gap sweater old but similar one here . jbrand aidan boyfriend jeans . sam edelman pumps . louis vuitton speedy 35 . nail colour #26 by chanel }

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