Friday, February 28, 2014

Experiment: The Baby Bardot

It's been a while since we've played with makeup here on the blog, and since this week I'm feeling a bit...experimenty....I thought I would take a run at something I've never really had the moxie to wear out in public before. I decided to try my hand at something that has been around for years, yet I have never been very good at reproducing; the liquid liner cat eye. I love the look, in theory, but how would the reality look against my salt and pepper hair and ever-increasing abundance of crow's feet?

As I always do, I turned to makeup artist Lisa Eldridge's website, and found the following tutorial.


Obviously, I did not use every single product that is featured in the video, relying instead on my trusty cache to see me through. I also admit that I did not happen to have any false eyelashes on hand. I never have false eyelashes on hand. I have nothing against false lashes...quite the opposite in fact. I think they look lovely. I'm just too paranoid to wear them, for fear of having some sort of grotesque cosmetic meltdown halfway through the evening, where I look like that scene from Raiders of the Lost Arc where they guy's face melts off.  Anyway, I used the following: 
I was actually pleasantly surprised by the softness of the result. Despite the fact that I felt like I was wearing a lot of makeup, it actually looked soft, pretty, and even a bit natural (with the exception of the eyeliner). I accidentally smudged the liner a bit because I was too impatient to let it properly dry, but overall, I liked the look. Enough to wear it out to get some soy milk, bread, and toilet paper from the store. Glamourous life I lead.




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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Guest Post: Saving Your Silver

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If you're like me and wear a lot of silver, you have to put in a bit of effort to keep it looking fresh. Today I am pleased to have Sarah from Henryka Amber & Silver Jewellery on the blog, who is going to give us a few hints on keeping silver looking...well....silver. You may remember the Henryka brand from a previous collaboration; they have a wonderful selection of silver jewellery featuring accents of amber, turquoise, pearl, and amethyst.  So without further delay...

Top Tips for Keeping Your Silver Jewellery Clean

Hi everyone! My name’s Sarah and last September, my colleague Tariq told you all about how to style your jewellery with your eveningwear. Well I’m here today to tell you how to keep that lovely silver jewellery in tip-top condition.

No doubt we all have a piece of silver jewellery in our collection, whether it’s a necklace, bracelet, ring or earrings, but do we look after them as well as we should? There are all sorts of reasons why silver tarnishes, but it’s mainly down to chemical reactions with things such as dust, makeup, perfume, cleaning products,  and human sweat (eugh!). These reactions can turn your once beautiful silver jewellery black and ugly, particularly if you don’t wear them for a long period of time.

But don’t fear readers! Let me tell you how to bring your silver back to its former beautiful state.
Firstly (and perhaps most obviously), you can try using silver jewellery dips or silver cloths. All you have to do is follow the instructions and voila! However, often these products can be very expensive, though to some they will be worth the investment.

For those on a tighter budget, why not try a homemade recipe? I’d recommend first using some of these techniques on pieces of jewellery you don’t mind putting at risk, just in case it goes wrong: 

  • Gently rubbing the jewellery with some ketchup can bring some of that sparkle back, or simply just washing in lukewarm water with a little soap (make sure it’s phosphate-free!) and buffing with a gentle cloth can work wonders on pieces that are still in pretty good condition.
  • If your silver is looking more than a little worse for wear, you could try one of the many baking soda recipes that’s widely available online. However for more difficult cases, I’d personally recommend taking the piece to a good jeweller who can clean up your bracelet or necklace with less risk of any damage.
  • As they always say, prevention is always better than a cure! Regularly wearing your silver jewellery and then gently cleaning it after wear is a sure-fire way to keep that sparkle. Try rotating which pieces you wear every week; it’ll keep them in regular use and challenge you to switch up your wardrobe!
  • Finally, it’s all about storage. I know I’m guilty of it too, but hanging silver jewellery on gorgeous hangers in your room, while making for beautiful decorations, is not doing your favourite silver necklace any favours. Either store them in the jewellery box they came in, which is made for reducing the oxidisation process that does most of the damage, or wrap them in acid-free tissues.
  • Bonus tip: You know those annoying little silica gel packets that come with everything brand new? They’re perfect for popping in the box with your silver jewellery, as they reduce the humidity in the air.

So now that you know how to keep your silver in tip top condition, you’ve got no excuse to not wear those necklaces gathering dust in your jewellery box!
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This post was written by Sarah on behalf of Henryka Silver and Amber Jewellery.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Neon. Spikes. Fringe. Bling. Muah!


Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, entered into evidence is this, a rather scraggly-haired (its so windy!) day-after representation of the look I wore to an annual dinner last night. The very same dinner that all of you helped me choose the look for last year.  The event is not formal, but a bit on the dressy side. Where I would normally just reach for one of my dresses for such an event, this year I decided I really wanted to wear separates; with separates you have a little more creative freedom, and it's a great exercise in closet-shopping and styling.

I have been working nonstop this week, and as a result felt a vortex-like pull towards some of the more wild and zany pieces in my closet.  I thusly decided to challenge myself to make a cohesive look out of said wild pieces. Behold.





H&M fringed jacket (old, last seen here), similar / French Connection top / Merona (Target) skirt (old), similar / Sam Edelman shoes (old, similar pair last seen here) / Padparadscha and quartz ring (old), similar

This post was proudly shared with Plane Pretty and Not Dead Yet Style

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Friday, February 21, 2014

In-Between Climate Dressing


I pride myself in being a really low-maintenance traveller.  I'm not talking about a backpack, walking sandals, and one-pair of underwear that you wash out in the sink on the train kind of traveller (honey, please), but rather the kind of traveller that can form an idea of what she wants to look like on her vacation, make a list, and get it done quickly and with very little indecision.

That said, I struggled a bit when planning my wardrobe for our recent trip to Malaga, Spain. Malaga in February poses kind of a unique challenge for dressing. Temperatures in February can be anywhere from 40-75 degrees Fahrenheit (I never did get used to looking at Celsius), so you have to be prepared for anything from the beach to knitwear and boots. This makes packing for a quick, 5 day trip challenging, as like so many of our wee sneaky breaks, this was to be a carry-on bag holiday.

As with so many other things in life, the secret is in the layering. I ended up in cashmere sweaters layered over a sleeveless top; a look that gives you some wiggle room when the temperatures change, Two pairs of skinny jeans (one ankle, one long) took me from day to night with no problem for this casual getaway. One pair of fancy-schmancy shoes, and one black blazer, and that was me finished. Granted it took me about three hours to figure it out (I must have been tired when I packed), but lo and behold, I think I got it right.  Readers, I give you Exhibit A:


Tahari Cardigan (old), similar / H&M tee (no longer available online), similar (cute!) / Seven jeans /  Born loafers (old), similar / vintage Coach bag, similar /  Andrea Jovine sunglasses





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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Stackable


I was tickled-pink when I arrived home from our wee cheeky Spanish break this week to find an email from Georgia from Gemporia, asking if I would like to do a collaboration.  The timing could not have been better, as not only was I already a dedicated customer of Gemporia, I had only hours earlier been pontificating the merits of stackable rings.

Historically, I have always been pretty firmly ensconced in the cocktail ring camp; one big, huge statement ring on an index or ring finger, and little other jewellery. That has sort of always been my thing. I still am a cocktail ring fan, but curiosity always gets the better of me, so Im going to give the smaller, more versatile looks of multiple stacking rings a go. As I often do, I looked to Gemporia for inspiration.

Gemporia is the retail website of the Genuine Gemstone Company, which in addition to being one of the fastest growing companies in the UK, also won the British Jewellers Association Retailer of the Year Award for 2013.  The company bases its  corporate identity in ethical business practises, and prides themselves in using genuine gemstones and precious metals, all the while managing to keep the prices reasonable by designing in limited runs and dealing directly with the communities that mine the gemstones.

For my first foray into stackable rings, I chose three very affordable, relatively small bezel-set semi-precious stones that can also be layered together for a bigger, statement look. I'm quite liking the versatility of these rings. They are both subtle and whimsical; light enough to not be overpowering, but interesting enough to warrant a second look.

Rainbow Moonstone ring / Amethyst Sterling Silver ring / Rose Quartz Vermeil ring (no longer available onine), similar here, and here.

I have several other Gemporia pieces as well...too numerous to show you all of them here, but many of them you have seen before. Here are a few of my favourites.


Aquamarine and emerald pendant first seen here (no longer available online), similar here, and here





You can see these and other beautiful styles at the Gemporia website

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Wee Cheeky Break


Owing to the constant apocalyptic weather in the UK, Himself and I seized an opportunity to take a few days away to Southern Spain, where one can actually venture outside without fear of death or drowning. Please forgive the fashion pause. I'll see you all back here next week. In the meantime, please entertain yourselves with this picture of an orange tree which along with its three friends, is growing smack in the middle of a Malaga city street. 



Sunday, February 9, 2014

Thakoon Cocoon


I realised recently that I only really own jackets. I have tons of short jackets, moto-inspired styles, trenches, various athletic jackets, yet not a single car-length or longer wool winter coat.  It's funny when I reflect back, as this is not a problem I would have had back in upstate NY. However, the Scottish weather calls for a slightly different set of tools.  But really, there is just no substitute for a well-made, lovely wool coat for winter.

The recent resurgence of cocoon coats has been lurking in my mind for a while, as has the desire for a leopard-print coat à la Jackie Kennedy (although I think hers was real leopard, which I try not to think about when I admire this coat, as I cannot bend my mind around killing a gorgeous leopard for the sake of a coat, or for any other reason for that matter....those were different times I suppose, but still).

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I decided this year that I needed a proper wool winter coat. I wanted something that was both modern and classic, but that I could easily wear every day in the winter as well. You can imagine my delight when I saw this Thakoon Addition coat on sale. Its retro cocoon shape and 3/4 sleeves gives it a sort of Hitchcock heroine vibe, and the leopard gives it a bit of edge.  Despite the retro referencing, I feel quite modern when I wear it, and it's a great way to get a little leopard into everyday life. We could all use a little more leopard in our everyday lives, don't you think?




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Friday, February 7, 2014

De-Fussing a Classic


I found these vintage Ferragamo Vara pumps at a flea market in Glasgow. They are in pristine condition, and in my size. Boo-yah! I have been lusting after a pair for a while, ever since Ferragamo rolled-out the design your own Vara campaign a year or so ago, so finding them for £30 at a vintage stall was a real boon.

One of the conundrums posed by pieces that are so staunchly classic is that they can read as rather sensible (read: buttoned-down and fussy). For many, the Vara conjures memories of their Grandmothers on their way to church, or perhaps even reminds us of the ultimate grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, who I understand is also a fan.

Personally, I think that like so many other classic pieces, it is all down to what you do with it. For me, the secret is keeping things super simple, or even perhaps a little deconstructed. To pair these shoes with a matching tweed skirt suit or calf-length skirt would indeed likely lead those who know you to ask why you are wearing your grandmother's shoes. Me? I like to mix them with more casual, modern pieces like skinny jeans, moto jackets, t-shirts, or opaque tights and a short skirt. Here's how I wore them this week.



Ferragamo shoes (vintage), similar / River Island tee (no longer available), similar / Armani Exchange distressed jeans (thrifted), similar / Stella McCartney for Addidas jacket (old), similar / Guess cropped pea coat (old) worn over shoulders, similar / Mango jeans / thrifted Ralph Lauren Polo cable sweater, similar

Check out some of these other stylish women in their Ferragamos...


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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I Watch it for The Costumes

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Here in the UK, there is a "reality" TV show airing right now called The Jump.  The show, meant to get us all geared-up for the winter Olympics, takes a gaggle of British celebrities (don't worry, I didn't know who most of them were either and I live in the UK), and trains them up over a period of three months to participate in every Olympic winter sport, from the skeleton (which looks awesome) to the giant slalom and beyond. They then compete with each other at these sports, and the lowest-scoring two competitors at the end of a particular event have to compete for the chance to remain in the competition by going off of the ski jump.

No, I'm not kidding. The show is filmed in Innsbrick, Austria, at the facility where the 2012 winter games were held. These guys are doing the real deal. Granted, they get to choose from three different small training ski jumps meant for beginners, but staring down the steep slope of even the smallest jump, a girl can practically smell the fear from her perch at home on the couch. 

The show has stirred up a lot of mixed reviews and discussions of safety here in the UK, mostly getting panned by the critics, but my husband and I love it.  I love it not only for the inside look and new appreciation it gives me for some pretty fascinating Olympic sports, but perhaps most importantly, there are the costumes. I find them absolutely hysterical. 

The display above is a more benign display of the costuming for the show. My favourite by far are the costumes they wear when they have to go off of the jump. They are each tailor made for the individual, and their "claim to fame" if you like, is reflected in the design. Check it out. 

This is Sir Steve Redgrave, the British five-time Olympic gold medalist rower. Wearing a very dignified (snort) tromp l'oeil version of his five medals.

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Then we have Darren Gough, who is a retired cricket player, in a classic cricket sweater vest, complete with crest. 

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This guy is called Ritchie Neville, who apparently sings with a boy band called 5ive. This is I believe what the good folks over at Project Runway would call a literal translation.

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This is Sinitta, a singer, entertainer, and friend to Simon Cowell...whatever that means. She is in leopard print.
Because, of course. 

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What would be on your ski jump costume? 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Inspiration: Delft Pottery

Images and history here


Admittedly, I don't own any of the classically Dutch Delft pottery, but I think that a little of it owns me. I spent a great many years in my 20s floating about as a crewmwmber for a major cruise line that has...without naming names...an association with The Netherlands.  Delft pottery was as ubiquitous in the on-board shops as oxygen, and I guess I sort of got used to looking at it.

So much so that every time I see any permutation of a blue and white floral or paisley motif, I am instantly reminded of that cruise line and the Delft pottery.

And yes, I have been wearing these shoes all week. What is this, the third time they have made an appearance? Hey, nobody can accuse me of not wearing the things I buy...


H&M pants (old), similar, similar (bargain) / Tommy Hilfiger thrifted tank, similar / Chinese Laundry shoes / thrifted Forever 21 jacket, similar

Make it Happen.