Loving: Fanciful Fall Espadrilles

Espadrilles

While Instagram would have you believe it's fall, it's still hitting 100 here in Dallas. Perhaps this is why I am relieved to see that my favorite arbiter of cool (no pun intended), Net-a-Porter, is showcasing espadrilles even though the peak of summer has long since passed. Trust this petite babe when she tells you that few choices can beat a cushy platform.

My faves at the moment are decidedly transitional with saddle brown leather or black with nary a seashell or pompom in sight. While this may not work for my babes up north (looking at you, Connecticut friends!), I assure you my southern friends can agree it's still open-toe season for quite some time.

WHAT I'M LOVING NOW

Loving: The Enduring Allure of Palm Beach Chic...

Blame it on CZ Guest and those yummy Slim Aarons books that litter the tables of Mecox Gardens, but the shocking heat of August in Texas makes my mind wander to other sunny destinations. Namely, costal retreats. When I think of well-heeled socialites enjoying summer by the pool, I go to the thin strip of land that draws society types like bees to pollen: Palm Beach.  

We associate such a specific design aesthetic and sophisticated lifestyle to this area. Pink walls, Greek key fretwork, palm fronds, bamboo accents, cabana stripes, pretty floral chintz here, pops of pink there and heavy hand with white and gold. It's all in the mix and it's fabulous. IChinoiserie chic is all about happy colors and lovely design elements.

Country club lifestyle aside, it is impossible to deny the allure of white beaches, palm trees and fresh seafood caught moments before your sunset meal. If you're thinking of going, don't pass up your opportunity to stay at The Breakers, a classic in its own right.

In case you haven't noticed, ticket prices have been dropping (thank you, Jesus!) and flights to Florida are actually reasonable (despite all Buzzfeed is doing to deter you from heading to the state's white sandy shores). I love a good end of summer/early fall escape, and a jaunt to white sandy shores is just a quick flight away.

Another option if hotels are too 2013 for you? A sweet rental with Airbnb (this place is totally gorgeous) or if you're a really baller check out these Luxury Retreats on Palm Island. Swanky!. After all, renting a private pad gets you closer to that posh lifestyle Slim Aarons famously celebrated. 

What to wear? If you're not in a breezy coverup enjoying the view of crashing waves, it's all about those happy Lilly Pulitzer prints and sandals. Palm Beach chic for the home and for the closet is a style that makes us believe - if only for a moment - that we are part of that elusive lifestyle we've come to know and love. Thank goodness we can visit and sit in our own cabana and bask in the same sunshine. 

What about you? Do these long days make you dream of other sunny places? Where are you eager to go before cool weather returns? Are you a Palm Beach lover or is the quieter vibe of 30A (think: Rosemary Beach & Watercolor) more your vacation style? I love them both for various reasons. If you can't get away, enjoy these fabulous pieces below inspired by Palm Beach chic:

INSPIRED BY PALM BEACH CHIC





Loving: New Year = Fresh Solutions...

With that toss of the old calendar comes new big ideas, fresh solutions and new approaches. I'm committed to ensuring 2017 is worlds away room last year. Thus I'm incorporating subtle shifts in my daily routine to create new results. Here's what I'm loving:

BABY SOFT, SUPPLE SKIN

I'll admit, Bobbi Brown has been there all along but I never stopped long enough at the counter to move beyond her dreamy shimmer bricks & eye shadows to discover her decadent skin care treatments. Well, now I know how much my skin needed them. THIS is the source of skin quenching goodness I am craving this winter. I began with the Soothing Cleansing Milk and Hydrating Face Cream and have quickly begun to branch out into the brand's "extra" line which serves up (you guessed it) EXTRA hydration for winter skin. As you can see, it's a love affair with this antioxidant-rich line, and I have been gushing to girlfriends about this for a few weeks now.

Why the shift? I realized we live in a moment of treatment after treatment for our skin. From exfoliation to retinoids to a variety of AHAs & BHAs. Sometimes, friends, our skin just wants a hug. The Bobbi Brown line seems to be the big bear hug my skin needed. This isn't to say all it does is hydrate. High concentrations of hyaluronic acid, mineral water, algae extract and vitamin E leave your skin plumped, glowing and quenched. You may never go back to your previous products. Consider yourself warned :)

Pair this line with my Clarisonic and the super soft "luxe contour" brush head and my skin is as soft as silk. If you've not seen the new head I'm referring to, it has longer softer bristles for getting smaller areas of face (think: around nose, near eyes) for a truly gentle yet deep clean for hard-to-reach areas. I have been overjoyed by the results in such a short period of time.

 

BIG SMILES + BIGGER SUNGLASSES

You know me. I love my big sunnies! The Texas sun never rests, so oversized shades are a must year round. I'm vibing on these large but lightweight frames from Chloe to add sun-shielding style to my face. Remember, sun may do the damage, but squinting tells the crinkles where to live. Wear the big sunglasses & stop squinting.

TRAVELING LIGHTER

Confession, the idea of going wallet-free never occurred to me. A very close friend, however, shared her obsession for cardholders as well as her reasoning. And frankly, it makes quite a bit of sense. Most of my cards have been replaced by apps on my iPhone and what few cards I do carry (license & a credit card or two) can easily be tucked in a nifty holder. I love this one that safely clips to the interior of your bags so it won't ever be lost. Also... it matches my coveted dream wallet and could be tucked inside for easy removal when showing identification or paying for items. Thus, reducing wear & tear on the wallet itself.

ALKALINE LIVING, ALL DAY EVERY DAY

You know by now I am obsessed with the Super Elixir. It has replaced my cumbersome juicing habit and saves me considerable time, money and effort. More so, it keeps the healthy of my body in check, my skin radiant and my eyes sparkly. I'm expecting this healthy lifestyle habit to kick up this year as it slowly nudges out my coffee habit (did I just type that???). Long live alkaline living, and the glow-inducing properties of a greener life.

Loving: The Brilliance of Cork Platform Wedges...

Personally, I scoff at any of those in/out lists that claim cork wedges are no longer chic. I'm sorry, have you feet not been blessed by the softly cushioned experience of this magical mix of high-heel-meets-pillowy-cloud experience? Aquazzura agrees with me. As does Jimmy, Jack, Stuart, Tory, Donald, Michael and Christian and pretty much every other designer with feet planted firmly on the ground. Need evidence, take a peek at these beauties. Comfort is chic and cork wedges are brilliant. And so are you for loving them. Be sleek. Be smart. Be kind to your lovely feet. They do so much for you they deserve to be elevated on cushy pillows of fabulousness all season long.

Loving: Monoque Lhuillier's Dreamy Collection for PBKids...

When I heard about an upcoming collaboration between bridal designer Monique Lhuillier and Pottery Barn Kids was intrigued. Would she be able to deliver those dressmaker details to the retail giant? Would the supreme quality of her celebrity-adored collections come through in the child-centric designs. And, possibly most importantly, would there be dresses?!? The answer it seems is a firm yes. 

The collection launched last week but I waited a few days to craft this post. My standards for childrens' collections is very high and the selection on the market is still quite small. There are few options out there, RH Baby & Child being my favorite amongst the retail offerings. Monique has somehow designed a beautiful collection that not only lives up to my expectations, it does so at prices we can all enjoy. 

If you've read about my nursery design before you know that I believe these spaces should not be out of step with the rest of your home. Tasteful, elegant and bright are words I would use to describe my style. Subtle colors, soft fabrics and glamorous touches are hallmarks of my design - not qualities some think of when it comes to spaces for children. On this it's clear Monique and I agree. And frankly, she's stepping firmly into RHB&C territory in the most dreamy and ethereal way. 

Let's dish on a few of my favorite pieces from the collaboration

 

ELEGANCE UNDERFOOT

While bold graphic rugs will always have their place, I value subtlety & soft shades in m floor coverings. Monique's rugs truly foot the bill with soothing hues of of blue and blush in soft wool. Details here >>

 

TERRIFIC TUTUS

Not dresses, but marvelously designed tutus in soft shades of blush, seafoam and latte let your little dreamer imagine herself as queen of her own kingdom. Pro tip: I would put money on the emergence of dresses & Halloween costumes in the future. Details here >>


MIDAS TOUCH: THE GOLD CORNICE

This thoughtful piece is gorgeous over a daybed, crib or traditional bed frame. I love the idea of a royal vibe without the full commitment of a canopy bed. Add in Lhuillier's ethereal tulle in the most delicate blush pink and you've won me over. Smashing. Details here >> 

 

FIT FOR A QUEEN (OR KING)

What they've labeled an ottoman is clearly a curule, a chair design hailing from the height of ancient Rome, a perch upon which rulers proudly sat. This elegant piece will suit any room of your palace. Details here >>


THE CANOPY OF YOUR DREAMS

It's simple. ML has done for children what Mary McDonald has done for the rest of us. Simply put, this incredible canopy bed is not just for little ones. Turn your guest bedroom into a luxurious haven with this one simple focal point. Pieces available individually as well. Details here >>

I've barely touched upon the expanse of this large introductory collection. Lamps, chandeliers, bedding, dressers, chairs and desks... there are many pieces to be seen and appreciated. All with Monique's signature feminine flourish. It's a good time to be a girl, isn't it? Visit Pottery Barn Kids for more of what I hope is just the beginning of their partnership with the divine Mrs. Lhuillier. 

Loving: Elegant Cups + Exotic Coffees...

{All images above property of and taken by yours truly, Franki Durbin}

How can your day be marvelous if it begins with the ordinary? I like to treat even quiet daily moments as special times, because those micro-habits really do become the sum total of your life. A simple morning drink transformed into something extraordinary with a tiny bit of effort. My secret? I love fancy little espresso cups. I have a small stable of beauties from Wedgwood and one from Ralph Lauren that make me smile. And I'm always on the lookout for a new addition to the crew. Fine bone china with gold accents, these spectacular creations make my morning cuppa a very festive affair. 

How can you infuse a little fabulousness into your sunrise? With the careful addition of a few choice elements. A cup & saucer set you adore, a robust espresso (or tea or green drink if you choose!) and a special place to enjoy them both. Perhaps it's a barstool in your kitchen, maybe it's a window seat in your bedroom, maybe it's a chaise on your patio. Find a space and find a place to have that moment for yourself. Steal that time and make it yours. Enjoy this opportunity to pause, to think and to frame up your thinking. Celebrate being alive. Enjoy what is rightfully yours. Breathe deeply. Then take charge of your day. This is how successful people begin their morning: with a moment of meditation, gratitude and reflection. This then, is how you should kick start your days as well. 

IDEAS & INSPIRATION FOR YOUR MORNING RITUAL

L'Objet Lapis Espresso Cup & Saucer // Marchesa Baroque Night Cup & Saucer // Wedgwood Hibiscus Cup & Saucer // Marchesa by Lenox Painted Camellia Cup & Saucer

Also, if you're a Nespresso fan I cannot begin to gush about how marvelous their newest cru tastes. Tanim de Chiapas de Mexico is beyond excellent. If you like a flavorful espresso with a full-bodied flavor, this is it. It is almost sweet in its nutty complexity. A really remarkable cup of coffee. Roma is typically my go-to morning cup, but this limited edition option has me reordering it on repeat! 

If you love my pretty cups, follow me on instagram for a stream of pretty pix like these of my morning (and afternoon) coffees & teas!

Loving: Opulent All Black Street Style...

hbz-street-style-couture-spring-2016-day2-11.jpg

Its' easy to believe the important fashion statements happen behind wrought iron doors on creamy white catwalks during Paris Couture Week. One look at these images by Diego Zuko proves that the real movement is happening outside the shows. Fur booties, lace crop pants, and ultra-luxe details were everywhere - as was my favorite power color: BLACK. 

I'm styling you up in the spirit of those impeccably dressed women seen in Paris this week. But I'm giving it to you two different ways: noir luxe (with luxe pricing) and noir savvy (with smart girl price points). My suggestion? Mix and match to achieve the high-low blend you typically achieve on your own.

What's the secret to the look? A lace top, a mini bag, a statement-making outer layer, killer shoes (naturally), oversized sunnies to up your chic factor and just enough jewelry to offer punctuation where necessary. And as always... live fabulously! 

SHOP THE LOOK: NOIR LUXE 

savvy.png

Beauty: Loving Donna, Valentino's Spectacular New Fragrance....

When a new fragrance inspires such a fury, it must be good. Very good. From the rose & bergamot scented contents to the edgy yet glamorous rockstud exterior of the bottle itself, this is one bottle we'll all want on our Vanity this winter. Valentino Donna, as it is named, also offers a coordinating lotion to really bring out that subtle notes of Iris, pallida, suede & vanilla. I love its complexity and utter femininity. And that bottle? Stunning and memorable. 

{illustration is the work of Kim Thompson Illustration // Commissioned for Valentino Couture Fragrance Release.

VALENTINO LOVELIES TO ENJOY


Loving: Thin Is In When It Comes to Jewelry...

One glance at any fall/winter fashion guide and you'll quickly observe that thin, layered strands of gold are where it's at.  Every bit as statement making as their chunky counterparts, these delicate, dangling pieces offer movement and sensuality that larger bands of metal simply cannot. While many are in the game, Lana is in my opinion the premier player in this specific category. The "queen of hoops" excels at elegant strands, lanky lariats, fringy favorites and earrings that promise to never ever weigh down your lobes. Make no mistake - these feather-weight pieces offer heavy-hitting style. 

I had the pleasure to meet the designer herself at my nearby Neiman Marcus last year. To say she is driven is such an understatement. As an entrepreneur, I love finding others with that sizzling fire burning in their soul.  There is no mistaking a star that won't be stopped, and Lana exudes that undeniable trailblazing vibe.

Her jewelry collection was born of the idea that there should be a category of fine jewelry that women could (and would) buy for themselves. Initially her concept was to offer glamorous 14 karat earrings and other pieces at price point that allowed women to guiltlessly add them to their wardrobe. 

A PERSONAL FAVORITE: THE BLAKE NECKLACE

 
 

The "Blake" Necklace

As the brand's success has blossomed and legions of devotees (I'm looking at you J. Lo & Gwen), the line has expanded to include very special pieces. Strands of diamonds, opulent rings and sexy hand lariats. Those lower priced pieces can still be found, but you'll be happy to know there are aspirational pieces in the mix as well. Doesn't hurt to reach for the diamond studded stars, right? 

The icing on the cake? The brunette bombshell has even starred in her own print and video campaigns. She's truly a creative and business force to be reckoned with. If ever #girlboss deserved to be declared, Lana has earned that title. 

Here she offers insight into her design process and creative inspiration: 

The lesson here? If you have a dream, stick with it. Be bold. Define what "it" is you're after and relentlessly pursue it. Ask for exactly what you want and don't take no for an answer. A one-woman vision is now a wildly successful line of jewelry available at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. She and her talented team have built a glistening, shimmering empire that continues to dazzle, inspire and blossom. 

If you have that same fire in you, that familiar burning need to blaze new trails... don't let anyone pour water on it. Throw on the gasoline and tell the world to watch out. And it won't hurt if you rock a few thin gold strands and heels while you do it. Success can be stylish, you know! 

MY CURRENT LANA FAVORITES



Loving: Modern Ladylike Luxe from Oscar Himself...

Models in teal satin skirt suits and sunglasses. Hello, bold move! Oscar de la Renta is dishing up more than just diaphanous gowns for SS16 (although those were on hand as well). He's offering lace (black, even!), rich florals and saturated colors. In many ways more a fusion between our fall cravings and our spring wishes, the catwalk was a cascade of ruffles, silks and flowers. What did I really love? The undeniable ladylike luxe. The modern fit. The tailoring. The restrained (read: wearable) opulence. It's inspired me to add a bit more lace to my life and reconsider my pencil skirt inventory. For that, Oscar, I thank you. 

LOVING RIGHT NOW

Loving: Floating Down the Catwalk with Diane Von Fursternberg...

It's like Studio 54 by way of India. And it is everything I want to be wearing next spring. Billowy chiffon rompers, cascading silk dresses and accents of pink & gold everywhere you look. Let's not underestimate the flower adorned hair and dewy, feminine makeup. No constricting fits, no binding corsets, not a skinny pant in sight. The look is ethereal and dreamy and I want to be a DVF girl now. Stunning, effortless and pretty. Discover more about yesterday's runway show by visiting Vogue

DIP YOUR TOES IN DRIPPING DVF STYLE

Loving: Weekend Vibes...

It's here. SATURDAY!!! Can't even explain how long this week has been. I'm excited about dressing effortlessly, relaxing and unplugging. Sorry for the short post, but there are adorable people in my life with eager expressions on their faces. This means one thing... time to go! 

xoxo,
franki

YOUR WEEKEND WARDROBE: SIMPLIFIED



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


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 

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 

Loving: Exotics + Neutrals = Wild Restraint...

Ahhh... leopard love. First, let's just admit that we (and by we I mean everyone living today) seems perfectly okay with the fact that we call all spotted fabrics "leopard" even if it's clearly a cheetah print. But I digress. We can't stop loving this mersmerizing print and adding it to our closets and our homes. 

But it's time we had a sit down. Yes, come closer and listen in... I'll offer you the wisdom of my uber stylish grandmother. Are you ready? Here it is: good taste is often evidenced by great restraint. That means this: cool it, sister. No head-to-toe leopard. By all means resist the urge to don a belt, shoes and a matching hide on hair leopard bag. Let not your living room look like an issue of National Geographic gone awry. It's just... too... much.

Leopard (or cheetah) done well is done is moderation. Restraint, restraint, restraint. Carry (or accessorize with) one outstanding piece and let the rest of the outfit (or room) be the canvas upon which it shines. The best rooms usually feature an ivory sofa and a "wow" moment via a Scalamandre pillow. The best street style looks showcase the infamous foldover bag by Clare V. Less in this case is exponentially more. It's young and fresh and doesn't take itself too seriously. After all... it's a faux leopard accessory, meaning you've already demonstrated a tendency towards having fun. So let the star accessory shine and let the rest of your fab outfit or room be the chic grounding those accessories deserve. 

How do I love to rock the look for maximum impact on the street and in the house? I thought you'd never ask...

HOW TO TAME YOUR WILD WAYS





 

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Loving: Serena & Lily's Capsule Collection Is Everything You Hoped It Would Be...

It was only a matter of time before the reigning purveyor of California cool furnishings & accessories slid into our closets as well. The brand has just launched their first capsule collection of easy-breezy fashion goods - firmly entrenching them in the lifestyle category and making them our go-to source for effortless pieces that reflect our attitude du jour.

Cotton shift dresses and fringy-tassel necklaces set the tone for simple dressing in classic pieces that should have existed before - but didn't. While a bit vintage in feel, these pieces are so simple and straightforward that they read fresh and modern. 

 

 “My vision for this collection started with a void I found in my own wardrobe – iconic pieces that are surprisingly hard to find in just the right fit,” explains Serena Dugan, Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of Serena & Lily. “In keeping with the spirit of our brand, the collection allows a woman to create her own unique look and express her own style. Each piece will look different from one woman to the next, based on the individual — who she is, and how she styles it." 

CAPSULE COLLECTION FAVORITES



I have only rounded a few pieces here that I love, but be sure to see the entire collection. The swim coverups are so fresh and pretty. I love the classic styling of everything and could easily see living in these all summer long. Based upon this first collection, I'm guessing this won't be the last of the duo's foray into fashion. We welcome more of their signature West Coast appeal into our lives. One pretty frock at a time. 

Loving: Pucci x Ladurée Sweet Collab...

Missing out on Milan Fashion Week means missing an opportunity to bite into a limited edition treat via the iconic pastry boutique Ladurée and legendary design house Pucci. MFW attendees can purchase these fabulously designed boxes bearing the italian fashion powerhouse's eye-popping prints. Inside? Those classic macarons you've come to love with notes of rose & lemon as a tribute to la dolce vita. Sweet life indeed. 

Not to worry, I suspect these will show up on eBay for outrageous prices for those willing to cough up the cash. Perhaps your resources are best spent catching a flight to Milan and sampling the sweets in person. While there, take in the city-wide street art in the form of manhole covers designed by the various fashion houses. 

LADURÉE MILAN

Via Spadari, 6
20123 Milano

LADURÉE MILAN CHEZ EXCELSIOR

Galleria Del Corso nr 4
20122 Milano


ADD A LITTLE PUCCI TO YOUR LIFE

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