February 8, 2016

What Kind of Perfume do You Wear?

From the time I was a little girl, I've always loved perfume and make-up and all that girly stuff. I would send away for kits and spend what seemed like hours applying and primping. I also remember my skin tingling so much I stopped ordered those kits.

My first perfume had to have been Love's Baby Soft. I wore this religiously in Jr. High. So much so, I went through bottles of bottles of it. In fact, I still love its powdery scent. I must have bought a bottle years ago because I took it out last week and used some. Scent memories are strong and I was right back in Jr. High after taking one whiff.

In high school it was all about Ciara, White Shoulders, and Chanel #5. My aunt wore Ciara and I loved its musky scent. A friend of mine wore White Shoulders, but I was never really a fan. I think I just copied her. Chanel #5 finally became my signature scent; the one I would return to again and again in my life. I still have the bottles that graced my mother's dresser sitting on my vanity today. Although they're empty, the remind me of all the times I would sit and go through my mother's jewelry. I also own a bottle of Youth-Dew. This was my grandmother's signature scent, and after she died, I tucked a picture of her on my mirror and bought a bottle of her perfume. They both reside side by side.

I experimented a lot in my 20s. I prefer earthy, spicy, masculine scents over florals. Although I fell in love with a Jasmine fragrance I bought at a drugstore more than 20 years ago. Several in fact. I don't consider Jasmine a true floral. It's sexy but never sweet. I wore in religiously during the summer months. They no longer make the original, so I covet what I have left. I've often thought to have it copied someday at a perfumery.

I think the next time I'm in the fragrance section, I'll try a men's cologne like Dark Obsession by Calvin Klein, Black Walnut, or a musk.

P.S. I love the ingredients in this one.

What about you?

Photo: Lindsay Wilson

February 5, 2016

Totally Crushing Over

This week's design finds had me wishing I had another house to decorate. Although spring is just around the corner, I'm still drawn to that more is more layered look only a house filled with beautiful finds tucked into every nook and cranny can deliver.

I'm loving the looks created over at One King's Lane. This home office is the perfect mix of old and new, sassy and serene. OKL offers design services from their NYC offices. And if you can't go to their Tribeca location, they'll schedule a virtual design consultation by phone.

I love layering art as well. This vignette by designer Emily Henderson is right up my alleylots of stuff without looking cluttered. You can read all about her journey with her (for now) favorite credenza here. Accessorizing a space or a piece of furniture is an ever-changing, living, breathing thing. Reinventing a piece of furniture is what it's all about. (P.S. I prefer this look.)

And since gray continues to be one of my favorite colors to work with, and to wear, I chose this lovely fireplace vignette from Joanna Gaines. If your fireplace is lacking in style, of any kind, why not give it some additional architectural presence and add wood paneling all around. Paint it a contrasting color (try SW 6236 Grays Harbor), and then have fun layering the mantel with a mirror (as a backdrop), some cool art, and a few well-chosen accessories. Be careful with mantles... don't overcrowd the space. Breathing room is important.  

And finally to my arch nemesisthe kitchen. My love/hate relationship with my kitchen is all about cooking. I love to cook and sometimes I hate to cook. I could happily spend an entire day whipping up delicious dishes or joyfully pass it by on the way to my office. But I adore making kitchens both functional and beautiful. The folks over at Anthropolgie had me at hello with this one. I'm drawn to European-inspired designssubway tile, large industrial appliances, wood and/or marble counters, gorgeous crockery, stainless and copper pots and pans. This is a kitchen I would not ignore.

Now it's time for you to find some inspiration this weekend. Pull up Pinterest, grab some magazines, and start putting together looks that appeal to you.

Happy hunting!

February 4, 2016

Beautiful Brass Cuff Bracelet

Just in time for Valentine's Day... I found this beautiful Mantra Brass cuff Bracelet from Shop Miguez. You can choose from pre-selected mantras or have one custom-made. Rush shipping is available so go check it out!

Valentine Red Nails

Give yourself a little treat and pick up Essie's Bordeaux nail polish. It's the perfect Valentine's Day red. I've been wearing it all week (two coats topped with Sally Hansen's Diamond Flash) and I love it. I adore the Essie line of colors, but unless you purchase a metal, it takes forever to dry. My girls told me about Diamond Flash top coat and it's a must-have when you want to do your nails on the run. Once it's applied, you're done! You'll have dry nails in a flash.

February 3, 2016

Yes, I'll Have a Bowl of Chocolate Please!

If dessert hasn't been on your mind, it will be soon enough since February 14th is just around the corner. If Valentine's Day means nothing to you but getting a box full of chocolates, making chocolaty treats, or basically consuming as much chocolate as you can, I'm here for you.

So why do we love chocolate so much? After all, this love drug contains compounds similar to those found in ecstasy, morphine and marijuana(!), so it really should be illegal. These compounds act on receptors in the brain that release pleasure-generating neo-transmitters like dopamine. That's the euphoria you feel when eating it... like falling in love. It bestows heightened feelings of sexuality; an aphrodisiac that many people throughout history have believed a truth. (I'm willing to research this further. Just to be sure I've got the facts straight.) (Dark) chocolate might even be good for your heath. In moderation, of course.

Regardless of how it makes you feel, it certainly tastes good!

Here are a few recipes you may enjoy...

Sweets for the Sweet ( recipes for mousse, truffles, Mexican hot chocolate, and a chocolate martini)

Chocolate Truffles

Famous Brick Street Chocolate Cake

Death by Chocolate Cupcakes

Drinking Chocolate - Oh boy!

P.S. You may also like Chocolate! and Happy Birthday! (My favorite chocolate cake recipe.)

Photo: Luisa Contreras

February 2, 2016

Design With a Past

Whenever I style a space, I want to include something old. Whether it's a real antique or just something that looks as though it has a past, or a story to tell, I want to include it.

I'm crazy for sentimental do-dads, quirky accessories, and just about anything that has a scratch, patina, or tiny flaw. To me, these things are perfect. And they work well with any d├ęcor. ANY.

I love to work in old houses, new houses, traditional-style houses, modern houses, but they all have to have a small soulful object sitting quietly on a shelf or tucked into a corner to make me happy.

My all-time favorite must-haves include:
  • Vintage (inspired) fabrics used to cover pillows or stand in as a throw at the end of a bed.
  • Collections of old keys (you never know what they'll unlock), silver cups (for vases, toothbrushes, or pens), books (they are the perfect way to infuse a sense of history into any room), and small dishes (to hold a candle, jewelry, or paperclips).
  • Framed black and white photos. I like to mix these in with a variety of art installations.
  • Vintage silver to use every day. And it doesn't have to match.
  • A collection of plates. I'm a sucker for indigo English transferware.
  • Apothecary jars to be used as vases, to hold cotton balls, or to just catch the light.
The next time you're thinking about updating your home, please stop by your local consignment store and take a peek inside. You never know what you'll find.

February 1, 2016

Take One Giant Leap Forward (Baby Leaps Work too)

What have you done, or plan to do, this year to take a giant leap forward? Most people have made their New Year's resolutions, but I think February is a good month to start. Especially this year. Consider the extra day your leap day and begin to explore a new adventure.

Whether you're considering a career change, taking up a new hobby, changing your daily routine, or challenging yourself in any way, there's no time like the present.

And don't think your leap needs to be big either. Baby leaps can be just as inspiring and just as important as the giant ones. They will lead to something bigger and greater than you ever imagined.

I have been taking baby leaps for a few years now. Although I have tried to take a giant leap, something always pulls me back in. That's okay. I'm okay. Maybe it wasn't or isn't my time. Maybe I need to finish a few things before I can fully invest. Whatever the reason, I know that this next decade will bring about new challenges I'm willing to embrace.

I have faith.

P.S. You may also like Moving On, Hello, Your Life is Calling, and Take a Leap of Faith.

Photo: Raghavvidya 

January 28, 2016

Snazzy New Business Cards (and 10% off!)

I've just ordered new business cards for the new year! This time, I selected one that I'll pass out to perspective style clients, and the other to perspective employers who want to hire me as a writer. My graphic designer worked with me by combining my new logo with a new fresh new look. I love the typewriter keys and I can't wait to update the website.

So who do I order my business cards from? They're printed by MOO. An English company that put down New England roots a few years ago. You'll receive 10% off your first order as my gift to you! And order the MOO size, you won't be sorry. (Click here.) They offer a host of products, so please take a look around.

January 27, 2016

Homemade Beauty Products

Lately, I've been trying to make my own cleaning and beauty products. Mostly, because I want to limit the amount of chemicals I use in my home and on my body, and partly because they're simple to make and effective. I grew up making egg white facials and smearing baby oil all over my body, and I still use baby powder and Vaseline as part of my beauty regimen today. I'm ready to try something new.

Dating back as far as 10,000 BCE, the Egyptians (both men and women) used scented oils and ointments to clean and soften their skin. Egyptian woman used a combination of burnt almonds, oxidized copper, copper ores, lead, ash, and ochre as the first kohl eye liner. They kept their cosmetics in boxes and tucked them under chairs when they attended a party.

So why not take a page from ancient times and utilize ingredients found in nature to enhance our natural beauty.

Try these recipes...

Eye Makeup Remover

Coffee Face Masks

Body Butter

Orange and Ginger Detox Bath Soak

Warm Vanilla Body Scrub

Honey and Cinnamon Lip Balm

Castile Soap Products (THE ingredient to use)

Molasses Hair Mask

Photo: Jenny