Sunday, November 29, 2015

Aztec, Fringe, & Cashmere

Talk about a rude awakening. Sure, it looks like a nice crisp day in the photos, but let me tell you, the moment Himself and I stepped off the plane upon returning from our Florida vacation, the weather has decided to take out some sort of vendetta against all of humanity. The wind is even making that howling sound like it does in the movies when they want you to get that it's really, really not nice outside. Luckily the sleet stopped long enough for me to get a few snaps in. I literally ran out to our woodshed to get these photos, and came back with a load of logs for our stove, so it was a productive outing on all fronts. When it's this terrible outside, I'm a firm believer in clustering your outdoor activities to maximum efficiency.

Naturally, when you transition from a climate where you hardly need to wear clothes to wanting to wear all the clothes, your instinct is to just pile it on. That is exactly what is happening here. Bring me more sweaters! I layered my Aztec print shawl from last season over the top of one of my cashmere turtlenecks, and the result is very cozy indeed.

I should also point out the new fringed booties. I have been sort of lusting after a pair for a while, but hadn't found the right ones. Really, there are so many cute ones out there, it wasn't a matter of the right ones, so much as it was which ones. I found these in a high street shop that normally I never even go into, and despite the fact that they are suede (which is a real pain here because it's so wet), on two different trips to the city I kept coming back to the shop look at them, so I kind of knew that I had to just pull the trigger. And yes, I did spray them with that weatherproof stuff that smells like it will probably give you cancer. Don't worry, I did it outside. That however, was a separate trip.

Levis high waist skinny jeans / Schuh booties (sold out online), similar / New Look cardigan (last season), similar / Neiman Marcus cashmere turtleneck / turquoise ring (old), similar / feather bracelet (old), similar / sterling silver chandelier earrings (old),similar

Friday, November 27, 2015

More Stuff That Works

Hey you guys, I know this is likely a scene you're growing weary of looking at (me on vacation), but rest assured, as you read this, I am probably uncomfortably wedged between two snoring, armrest-appropriating space hogs on my flight back to the UK. Yes, my holidays have sadly come to an end. However, in the interest of trying to transition back into reality, I have decided to go with a makeup post. At some point in the very near future, I may actually have to think about applying makeup to my happily makeup-free vacation face, as pictured above.

As you may already know if you're a regular reader, I have been road-testing some of the products that get a glowing endorsement by the Environmental Working Group (the EWG). I did a post on sunscreens a while back (and will have another batch of sunscreen reviews for you that I did on this vacation before too long), but have been sort of holding out on the makeup posts of late. I am a pretty low-maintenance person, so I sometimes feel like I am the least qualified person on earth to be espousing the merits of makeup products. Then again, it is probably because of this that I am perhaps more right for the task of reviewing makeup and beauty products; people with jobs and lives and not a lot of time for faffing about with difficult and expensive products that require a lot of steps might actually actually find these tips useful. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

I have always been fascinated with foundation. Probably because I fundamentally, deeply detest and resent foundation, even though I recognise that it can perform miracles in the right hands. I have always disliked the way it feels, disliked the way it often sits atop the skin looking less than natural, and detested how it gets all over your hands when applying it (I don't use a brush…I find that I just end up with too much product on my face that way), or if you are using a mineral foundation, it gets all over your dresser or counter top.

The past few weeks, I brought two products with me on this trip. The Korres Wild Rose Foundation, which I had been trailing for a few weeks at work and whatnot, and Andalou's SPF 30 BB cream; a one-size-fits-most tinted moisturiser. Both of these products get a top rating from the EWG's Skin Deep Guide to Cosmetics. 

When I first looked-up this foundation on the EWG site, it was listed in the best products category. It has since been removed, but I think that this is because they have recently discontinued the old version of the product (which was rated as No. 1 on their site), changed the packaging, and added the SPF 15. Here's hoping that it reappears on the top-rated list, but even if it doesn't, this foundation is worth a look.

Korres is a cult favourite Greek natural cosmetics brand that was born out of a traditional homeopathic apothecary, and you can read all about it here.

The Wild Rose Foundation is marketed as a medium to high, buildable foundation that leaves your skin with a natural, luminous finish. I actually found it to be somewhat less than medium coverage (which is perfect for me), but that may have as much to do with my application technique as it does with the formula itself. The product goes on easily, and has an interesting, silky texture that is indeed easy to build. I find that it does leave a bit of a sheen on the skin (the "brightening" effect no doubt), but I didn't find this offensive or odd. I wear the shade RF3, which is one of the darker shades they make. They make only 4 shades at present, and those with light, pink-based complexions may find that this foundation is too yellow or dark for your skin tone. However, if you have yellow or olive toned skin (and who better to make foundation for olive-toned skin than the Greeks?), this one is a must try. It goes on quickly and with minimum effort.

I have to say, this product was the star of the vacation. I brought this with me to try, not sure how I would like it. I have used Andalou's vitamin C serum and toner in the past and loved them, but wasn't sure how I would fare with a cosmetic product. Andalou tends to use quite a lot of orange oil in their products, and some people may find that irritating. My skin is used to it, but I wasn't sure how I would fare with it in a product that you leave on all day. 

It turns out I needn't have worried. This product is another one that is very yellow in tone, and since it only comes in one shade, it is either going to work for you, or not. For me, it works beautifully. Because it is so sheer, the shade is a little less important than with a full-on foundation, but I found it to be the perfect shade for slightly tanned vacation skin. I wore this every day when I wasn't actually on the beach, and it protected my skin beautifully, looked really natural, and even gave my skin a nice little glow. This product is my new best friend, and I am happy to have found something that I can use for every day, because I really don't want to wear full-on foundation every day. Yuck. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Style Nudge Shoe & Tell Link Up!

Isn't it just the way of things...the week that Cherie from the wonderful blog Style Nudge has asked me to co-host the Shoe & Tell Linkup is the very same week that I am on vacation with only two pairs of sandals, a handful of tops, and one forgotten USB camera cable to my name? Isn't that just now life likes to work? 

Today's look is sort my version of a blast from the past. I thought that this high-waisted pair of houndstooth shorts (last seen here) and sleeveless white shirt had kind of a 50's-60's poolside feel to it that I like. I've been obsessed with Slim Aarons books of photographs for a long time, and this look kind of reminded me of the casual recreational attire of that era. 

When it's too hot to concern yourself with a lot of clothes, trying to comfortably achieve a "look" with separates can be challenging, so I thought these shorts sort of told a story without having to put on more clothes. It's been hot this past week, and more clothes are just not the answer. I went with slicked-back hair and nothing but a swath of bright coral lipstick to finish it off. Hey, if you can't wear bright neon coral lipstick in Florida, when can you? 

And yes, if you've been following, you have seen me in the same pair of sandals for over a week now. Metallic sandals. I simply cannot say enough about them. They. Go Everywhere. If you want a real wardrobe stretcher, you simply must. 

But enough about me and my metallic sandals. I'm thrilled to be co-hosting the Style Nudge Shoe & Tell Linkup this week, so don't be shy - submit your outfit posts below and join the party!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

It's All A Big Cover-Up

This week, the non-outfit outfit posts continue. When you're on vacation in a warm place, it's easy to go days without putting on any "real" clothes. Such is the case with me for the last few days. Between the trips to the beach and the pool, I think I've only worn "real" clothes twice so far. And I didn't take any photos of them, such is the level of my relaxation.

Consider this photo above; I'm basically wearing a sheet. Okay, it's a sarong, but still. It's hardly something I would venture far from the pool wearing, but this is it. this is basically what I'm wearing all day, every day.

The other beach dress is a thrifted sheath (last seen here) that I realized after seeing in photos is too big for me, so I relegated it to the beach cover-up pile, where it has happily taken-up residence.  And of course the ubiquitous metallic sandals and spongy flip flops. Hey, I told you it wasn't going be art this week. Keepin' it real people…keepin' it real.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Art of Travel Simplicity

Because you, my readers, are by nature astute and of above-average intelligence, you will have undoubtedly noticed that this is not the Scottish Highlands. Himself and I are in America for a wee spell, soaking-up the relaxed vibe of Southwest Florida. The atmosphere here is such that outside of a really nice restaurant or fancy-schmancy gala, there is simply no call for a lot of fanciness. As a result, my outfit posts over the next wee while will likely be a study in minimalist simplicity. They may in fact be a bit….dare I say boring?

I give you exhibit A: the stripy tee. This one is from Ralph Lauren, but I have about a bazillion of these in my cache. They are such an easy and clean look in a pinch, and if I had to choose my "desert island" outfit to last for the rest of my days, I would choose a striped tee (probably a classic Breton stripe) with good-fitting denim piece on the bottom. To this look, you can add boots, loafers, sandals (as I have done), throw a gorgeous coat over it…anything works. It works in all seasons, although is particularly good in the warmer months. Because of the climate here, I have chosen a distressed denim skirt and a very minimal pair of metallic sandals. 

Metallic sandals are The Business you guys, I'm serious. I packed only two pairs of shoes for this trip (okay three if you count workout shoes), and the reason I can get away with that is because of metallic sandals. They go with everything, are cute, and can even look a bit fancy if you get your other sartorial game right. What I'm basically saying is, you're going to be seeing a lot of these sandals this week, so get to know one another. It doesn't need to be awkward. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Undone Suit

Greetings internet. Yes, I'm still here. Been a busy week, and the Scottish weather, true to form, has been a blowing, howling, clashing-down mess - which I suppose is in keeping with this time of year. However, it makes it very difficult to get outside with a camera (you can't) or make use of any natural light that may have slipped through the cracks (there isn't any). Not one to be defeated, I took to the great indoors (my house) to create today's outfit of the day post, and had to work around the dreary lighting and ever-present shadowing. A few well-directed floor lamps and photoshopped potted plants later (see above photo…I forgot to move my tennis ball hopper from behind the couch), we have ourselves a post.

Today I've just arrived back from a conference in Edinburgh. Conferences can be tricky to dress for. While by and large they are more like corporate events, I don't really work in a corporate environment, and really dislike the very monosyllabic attire that almost inevitably accompanies such events. Because I was not presenting or anything, I decided upon an "undone suit" look. I like to wear well made pieces that look sharp, but put them together in a way that comes off as more relaxed and approachable. The last thing I want to do is convey that sort of starched, shrill, high-anxiety "office" look that seems to be so prevalent at events like these. To be honest, I censored myself a bit today. If left to my own devices, I would have paired this look with a pair of snakeskin pumps. I tried my leopard pumps, but they were open toe, and "leopard" tends to read the same as "sex" in the minds of a lot of people. With the rather form-fitting skinny cords, it was just a bit too much (note to self - get some snakeskin pumps). I decided on my old faithful Bass loafers, which I thought looked nice with the burgundy cords.

As it turned out, I needn't have put so much thought into my look. After the first fifteen minutes, it was clear that most of the delegates were going to be asleep in their seats, due largely to the opening presentations being delivered in a manner that I can only liken to a guided meditation. In retrospect, I probably should have worn yoga pants.

Giorgio Armani jacket (old), similar / Brooks Brothers sleeveless blouse (old), similar / Gap cords / Bass loafers / Judith Ripka watch (old), similar / Brighton bracelet (old)/ Replay frames (old), similar

Linked-up with: Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday, Not Dressed As Lamb's I Will Wear What I Like, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish Turning Heads Tuesday, Style Nudge Shoe and Tell 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


This look sort of defies my own set of unspoken rules about wearing tailored pieces; I usually like to pair something tailored with something loose, flowing, or distressed. I feel like it breaks-up the severity of the look and injects a little fun into it.

However, today I just felt like something a little different. I had been thinking about this Tibi blouse that I've had for a while, and wondered if it would work under a jacket. It's a very structured-looking top (even though its really lightweight silk),  so pairing it with a jacket seemed somehow a bit risky…a bit….I don't know masculine. Man-ish. Whatever. Not that the whole borrowed from the boys thing is bad, it's just not my comfort zone.

As it turns out, I like the overall effect. It's no fuss, will go just about anywhere, and with the flat Chelsea boots, it's a really easy look to get around in. If I'm honest, I probably still prefer my usual mix of shapes and textures, but for a more low key day or even a work-related affair, it's nice to know this look is there if I need it.

Tibi blouse (old), similar / Giorgio Armani jacket (old), similar / chelsea boots / Mango jeans / Vestal watch (old), similar