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

What to Wear: Channeling Effortless Island Style...

I've just finished reading the latest India Hicks book, Island Style, and it not only transported me to a breezier, more relaxed way of living, it has inspired me to loosen up my approach to spring and summer dressing. 

A kaftan is surely necessary. In fact, after this brutal winter (yes, even here in the south it was punishing by our standards) I'm eschewing the idea of any restrictive clothing. My mission: dresses & skirts all day every day. With one exception: culottes. My summer fashion edict is t approach the season with easy, breezy style that perhaps - just maybe - can help me channel some of India's unfussy approach to glamour. Think: Calypso St. Barths and you've nailed it. 

With this you'll see I've found the PERFECT summer tote. And I do mean perfect. Leave it to Tory to absolutely nail the straw tote. Pair it with these amazing metallic espadrilles and you are ready for the resort, the corner cafe or a fun afternoon out and about. 

GET THE LOOK: RESORT CHIC


And of course, no belle du jour look is complete without a sun-kissed glow on your beaming visage. I love a good bronzer-blush duo to give my face a milk dusting of bronzy-peachy goodness. Gloss up legs with a good gel to get that coveted gleaming gams look. Finish with a swipe of balm in the most delicious shade of tropical punch. You. Are. Done. 

SUN-KISSED BEAUTY

DRESSED FOR THE LAID-BACK OCCASION


Above are few more dresses to help you channel that vacation state of mind - even if it's Monday. I like them simple and swingy, but figure flattering too. And while I chiefly choose solids, a few prints are fun to mix it up. 

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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





What to Wear: Weekend Escape to Laguna's Montage...

One great thing about having close girlfriends with similar taste? They ask me what to pack for their upcoming trips. One such bestie is headed out to a personal favorite spot: Laguna Beach. Ahhhh, California living epitomized at the stylish Montage Hotel. Yes, darling, I can definitely pack your getaway bag for you! 

First, let's scope out the scene. The Montage is known for its unobstructed views of the Pacific, five-star culinary experiences and incredible spa. Did I mention the gorgeous suites? This is an ideal spot to escape with your partner and let the sound of the crashing waves below & palm tree fronds above take all your cares away. California dreaming? Definitely. So let's get on with the business of mapping out this weekend wardrobe, shall we? 

The vibe? Relaxed yet chic. Elegantly undone. It's the west coast, after all. The mood? Sunny & romantic in a quietly upscale way. The look? A versatile mix of flowy pieces that will take her from poolside chaise to reservations at 8:00 looking flawless and feeling free. So... let's get down to the business of packing, shall we? 

  • First rule: versatility is key. Select pieces that pack easily and play nicely with others.
  • Rule two: no iron is the best iron. Think: jersey knits or linen items that embrace the crinkled look.
  • Rule three: When in doubt, go for the gold. Metallic accessories elevate even a simple black slip-on dress. Embrace them.
  • Finally: less is more. Fewer colors + fewer pieces = fewer decisions + a more enjoyable trip

WHAT TO WEAR: WEEKEND ESCAPE TO LAGUNA // DAY ONE

Net-a-Porter Travel Set // Eres Black Essentials Suit // Saint Laurent Metallic Clutch or Shoulder Bag

The result? Simple outfits that take you from day to night with the simple change of a shoe (graduating to higher heels for night) and swapping the necklace for the sunnies as the sun sets. Boss move? Slip a chic clutch into your tote for maximum versatility and pull it out for after dark glamour. And do NOT forget the sunscreen ladies! (Here's my choice via Omorovicza). Happy travels! xoxo

In the Mood For: Jovial Spring Tablescapes...

It's sunny and bright outside this week, hinting that winter is a mere blip on the calendar. A minor inconvenience on the way to brighter days, lighter moods and cheerier outlooks. Knowing this, I'm already in the mood for spring and the colorful palette that it affords. Pink macarons, pastel dinnerware, fresh blooms and a carefree attitude tod=wards entertaining and life itself. I'm already hearing the birds chip. Already seeing the cloudy skies. Already breathing in the roses. What are you in the mood for today? {scene above via}

IN THE MOOD FOR


Tastemakers: The Softness of Saladino...

My first meaningful exposure to professional interior design was the result of discovering the work of John Saladino. This legend has a way of infusing a space with his signature softness without leaving any telltale designer fingerprints. The heady mix of classic yet streamlined upholstery in touchable textures amidst vast open spaces occupied by whitewashed solid surfaces is intoxicating. Even in still photos I can almost feel the breeze blowing and smell the Belgian linen in his spaces.

Hallmarks of his work: lots of linen, few if any patterns, classic silhouettes, unfussy styles, skirted chairs and sofas and an undeniably serene quality to houses he has designed. I love his barely there signature style which allows the architecture and a few exquisite pieces to shine. Nothing is forced. Nothing is overdone. Nothing is complex.  

A few images above are from project he recently completed for clients in Palm Springs as featured in Veranda. Seeing him use vivid pink fabric is such a surprise to me, but a welcome one. 

Artist that he is, John possesses the ability to use even this punchy color judiciously in an effort to allow the expansive views to be the focal point of the room. Which isn't to say that the interiors are anything less than spectacular. His pretty combo of neutrals, lilac and butter yellow act like a soothing balm to the soul. Can you imagine coming home to such a peaceful pad? Dreamy.  

Looking to channel John's effortless luxe look? While no one can rock his signature cool look quite like John, you can look at the broader strokes of his brush work to pick up some of his laid back luxury goodness. Here are the pieces I suggest to infuse your home with his softly welcoming style. 

Regency-Style Bench // Safaveih Vegetable Vines Rug // Matilda Skirted Sofa with Dressmaker Details // Mango Wood Pedestal Table

For a better look at John's work overall, don't miss his sophisticated portfolio. Designer friends: John offers his 10 best tips for making new construction feel aged and familiar. 

From the Window Seat: My On-the-Go Luxuries...

I had the pleasure of being featured in the spring/summer issue of Ligné Magazine showcasing all manner of jet set chic features and luxurious travel stories. They asked me to share the products I can't live without when I head out on a trip, a topic I'm clearly passionate about (8 years of blog posts can confirm this!) and hold many tips I'm eager to share.  

Below are what I shared with the lifestyle magazine as my jet set all-stars. The reality is that most of these products are winners at home, too. I hope you'll discover a few gems to add to your private arsenal for journeys far and wide. After all, every day in itself is an adventure and an opportunity to experience new things. 

With that... enjoy my list of personal luxuries...

IN-FLIGHT LUXURIES

The Chic Multiwheel Cabin Bag
When it comes to a carryon, it’s all about the wheels and protecting those precious goods inside. I’m loving the hardbody of this sleek bag. Best part? It’s TSA approved and navigates those airport turnstiles like a dream. Bonus: your beauty goods & fabulous shoes won’t lose their precious shape inside. Options abound for small in-flight workhorses. Hard-bodied Victorinox Swiss Army luggage is hard to beat (and easy to spy on the carousel, should you decide to check it), as is an ever-reliable black Tumi. But my heart will always be with a classic Vuitton carryon, as it speaks to the heritage of travel itself. 

The Universally Flattering Black Jumpsuit
Some things you can just count on. Death. Taxes. My love of packing an all-black travel wardrobe. Give me a fabulous jumpsuit and I’m a happy girl. Dress it up, play it down. You can’t go wrong with these wardrobe workhorses. My favorites are sleeveless and black. This one is absolutely perfect. Pro tip: this Norma Kamali version is perfect for a long day of wrinkle-free travel but looks dinner-ready when paired with jewelry and heels. The Swiss Army knife of your wardrobe.

The Chic Ballet Flat
Nothing makes you appreciate a good flat like travel. I love the easy on / easy off quality of a ballet flat but they usually lack any arch support. These Cole Haans are not only comfortable, they are light as a feather and allow your feet to breathe. Yes, this high heel diva has learned to love (and enjoy) a hard working flat for long travel days and exploring the city on foot. 

Saint Laurent Monogram Crossbody Tassel Bag
I’m a firm believer in a cross-body bag that can go from day to night and tarmac to rooftop. This Saint Laurent bag does it all - not to mention it slides neatly into a larger tote during the flight. 

Chloe “Marcie” Sunglasses
Never underestimate the power of oversized sunglasses. They disguise tired eyes (hello, jet lag!) and add instant polish and intrigue to your look - day or night. My current faves the lightweight acetate frames with vintage-styling & glam gold hardware. Very Rachel Zoe.  Shop them here.

iPhone 6
There is no better travel luxury than my beloved iPhone 6. All the technology a girl could hope for right at my fingertips. From instagramming my coffee moments to keeping tabs on clients to capturing precious family moments on video, the ultimate travel accessory rests in the palm of my hand. How did we ever survive before? I would never go anywhere without this lovely golden modern miracle! 

PRE & POST-TAKEOFF ESSENTIALS

Eric Javitz Squishee Sun Cap
If I’m going anywhere sunny, a hat is a must. I love that this one can be tossed in a bag and still retain its shape perfectly. Better yet? This one allows for a ponytail in the back. Yes, long-haired girls can rejoice and those of you with short & chic 'do's can enjoy the stylish silhouette! You have to love a chic hat that keeps the harsh sun at bay and helps you have fab hair. Winner!

Clarins Broad-Spectrum UV Plus 
Speaking of sunshine… nothing will ever replace Clarins UV Plus in my cosmetic pouch. This tiny bottle lasts forever and is my saving grace for the delicate skin of my face, décolletage & hands. I can’t say enough great things about it and would never board a plane (or leave my house) without it. This is my main squeeze when it comes to sun protection and I basically hoard it for fear they'll discontinue it. Fortunately the small bottle is TSA-friendly (read: small enough to carry on) and makes for invisible, easy application. If you've been looking for "the one" this is it!

Clarins Sun Care Milk SPF 50+
Somewhere between the best moisturizer ever and the most lightweight body SPF ever, this dreamy bottle appears. I discovered it last summer and am now a dedicated fan. A few easy sprays by the pool and I’m ready to catch up on my reading without fear of too much sun. Bonus: it leaves skin as smooth as silk and beautifully hydrated. Don't be tempted to use it on your face - the formula is completely different from the facial formulation. This falls squarely into the "great from the neck down" category. 

The Glam Lightweight Cashmere Scarf
Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a month long journey, I always pack scarves. Right now I’m loving Diane’s leopard version. It’s featherlight and goes with anything. Toss around your neck pre-flight for a pop of pattern and a way to keep that cold cabin air at bay. During the trip its uses will be nearly limitless. Not to mention they weigh almost nothing and can be tossed in your tote the moment you want to take it off. For me, these gauzy creations are the absolutely perfect travel accessory. DVF makes high quality versions that are truly timeless and will make you look and feel like a million bucks in any city. 

The Large Black Nylon Tote
Travel bags must be roomy and incredibly lightweight. I prefer nylon totes that can take the abuse they will inevitably face on a trip. Let's face it, air travel and car rides aren't good for our precious bags. I’m a big fan of Longchamp’s understated appeal and nearly bulletproof construction. This one has a zip top (for added security) and is roomy enough to hold my magazines, iPad, water bottles and anything else I’d love to keep on hand. 

Omorovicza Plumping Cream
My facialist and the gugus at the brand's counter call this “Cinderella cream” for good reason. One simple treatment and your face looks dewy, plump and youthful, like a fairy tale. Boom! Instant Plumping Cream is my go-to special occasion moisturizer for combating the dry skin and unsightly dehydration that always accompanies air travel. Frankly, I love this at home as well. It's an investment, but well worth its myriad benefits.

A Powerhouse Beauty Elixir Mist
Now that I’ve discovered the magic of beauty mists, there’s no turning back. These dew-inducing, skin-plumping miracle workers refresh your face and boost your mood in mere seconds. The best of the bunch are filled with anti-aging powerhouses that work hard to fight free radicals and turn back the clock. Another perk? A light fragrance is mood elevating and tells your senses "you've arrived" once it's wheels down in your destination of choice. This version from Caudalie is tiny enough to toss in your tote for the flight. Also try Omorovicza's Queen of Hungary Mist - a spectacular version of the mist category that is to be used in conjunction with their Instant Plumping Cream mentioned above. A serious one-two punch for revitalizing your face. 

Molton Brown Pink Pepperpod Body Scrub
Body scrubs are a favorite beauty product for me at home. When traveling I like to kick it up a notch with a more invigorating variety of body exfoliator. Molton Brown’s Pink Pepperpod scrub turbo charges my showers with its exotic fragrance and body-tingling (hello, ginger!) qualities. This beauty staple never fails to get me in a vacation state of mind. 

Cris Notti Silk Eye Masks
Seriously, I live for these lovely little creations. I use a silk eye mask every night at home and on trips I always pack more than one because (I’ve learned this the hard way) losing one along the way means losing precious sleep. These soft silk masks are absolutely perfect for mid-flight catnaps but more importantly, they guarantee you’ll be able to sleep in long after the sun peeks through the sheers at the hotel. 

Illuminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillow
In lieu of taking my own pillow while trailing, I opt instead for a high-tech (and silky soft) pillowcase. This one is constructed from copper-oxide rich fibers and is not only easier on your lovely visage,it actually combats the signs of aging. Those are all qualities I’m going to say “yes, please” to, especially after a long flight. Say "nighty night" to creases, lines and other would-be beauty enemies. 

Don't miss the rest of the superb issue of Ligné Magazine which features many familiar faces and exciting places. I look forward to receiving the next issue to discover which luxe topic they tackle next. Have a great day, everyone! Life life fabulously.  

Mind & Body: Spring Forward With a Dietary Reboot...

 {image credit  WelleCo Blog }

{image credit WelleCo Blog}

Health & wellness. Where to begin? It seems the cleaner and more purely I strive to live and eat, the further I realize I am from the goal.  Not from my own doing, but from the challenge of fully trusting where your food is coming from and what nasty substances are entering your body. From known chemicals in my sunblock to questions about pesticides, nutrients and GMOs, it feels like an uphill battle many days, doesn't it? 

As a fan of the Super Elixir (note: this is NOT sponsored, I order mine from Net-a-Porter & love the free shipping and pretty black box!), I receive their periodic emails. LOVED this simple four week body reboot to inch both mind & body closer to "clean" and summer-ready. Whether you're concerned about fitting into that bikini or simply want the sparkle back in your eyes and the spring in your step, this simple process will help you strip away the junk you've been consuming and move closer to radiant health. Always the goal, right? 

Here's the four week countdown to feeling (and as a lovely byproduct, looking) fabulous...

WEEK ONE

WEEK TWO

  • Build on the above tips
  • + replace one meal a day with THE SUPER ELIXIR Nourishing Protein, with 400ml of cold almond milk and 1-2 fruits as a super delicious smoothie. {Editor's note: I mix mine with SO Delicious Coconut milk and blend to a rich frothy chocolately drink!}

WEEK THREE

  • Build on the above
  • + add cayenne pepper to at least one meal a day. It will boost metabolism and create a thermogenic effect, which helps burn calories.

WEEK FOUR

  • Build on the above,
  • + for one week cut all sugar, dairy and starchy carbs (you can do it!)
  • + increase intake of green vegetables. 

Fairly simple, right? Eat fresh, eat right. Nourish your way to clear skin, better sleep and a healthier body. I did want to share with you this list I discovered that reveals the fruits & veggies that contained the most pesticides of any on the market. Yet another reason to shop your local farmer's market or select produce that is organic & pesticide free. The "dirty dozen" below are foods that we eat with the skin on, thus increasing our ingestion of those icky substances. SO please, shop wisely from the start and clean that produce before consuming. 

THE DIRTY DOZEN

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Sweet bell Peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Snap peas
  • Potatoes

SHOP MY ELIXIR  FAVORITES

SHOPPING (AND MONEY-SAVING) TIP

If it's your first time, invest in the refill pouch version of the greens (a less costly way to give it a go with heavy duty resealable top) and the travel packs of the protein. This is how I dipped my toes in the brand. I'm not a convert and would not want to go a day without my greens! Let's get healthier together! 

Also, Google for nearby farmer's markets happening. It's a great way to save on your weekly grocery trips and have a little fun in the process. Make it a part of your weekend ritual and don't be shy about trying out new foods. You just may discover a favorite! 

Shop the Look: Fabulous Floral Bedroom Walls...

Children's rooms are havens for young, unbridled imaginations. Chalkboard walls, storybook murals, decorative appliqués - they are all possibilities in rooms for tots. Those elements aside, I'm loving the idea of floral walls for achieving a feeling of creativity run wild. The resulting look is every bit as freeform and fun, but much more pretty and poised. Wild, overgrown, fabulous flora adorning the vertical planes of a room have the power to turn a simple white rectangle into a wonderland for a young mind. 

How do you balance cray-cray paper on the walls to achieve a sweet and sophisticated look? One word: restraint. A calming rug, floor to ceiling panels in a solid shade found from the wallpaper, bedding that balances the look, By keeping other textiles mild you can let the fun accessories for children play center stage. Silly accents, a cool chair, a funky lamp and a chic chandelier all come together to create a room that encourages childhood fantasy and daydreaming.  

Below I've put together a few of my favorite elements for a little girl's room that is sweet without being saccharine. The truth is, while this is written from the perspective of young design, these feminine pieces are perfect no matter your age (or gender, for that matter). These elements are the epitome of timeless chic. Below you'll discover my favorite Schumacher floral wallpaper as well as a few great Serena & Lily pieces. Tip: they have a sweet 20% off friends & family savings event happening all weekend. Use code LIKEFAMILY to save now through Tuesday. Hooray!

Now... on to this chic look:

floral.png

What to Wear: New Year & Beyond...

New Year's Eve

Oh, holiday glamour! One of the perks of being a girly girl is the opportunity to dress up. The key is to not overthink your look. Keep your regular vibe and just add a bit more verve, a bit more shimmer and a bit more shine. Love a faux fur jacket? Rock it with a sparkly dress on NYE and jeans next weekend. A gold clutch is just as killer with denim as lace. Diamond (or faux diamond!) stud earrings pair just as well with your yoga mat as they do high heels. And that gold clutch? You know you want it for those nights out and for special occasions. Invest in classic keepers and you'll never, ever regret it.

The key here, ladies? Wear what makes you FEEL good. It might be your favorite black skinnies or even a fuzzy blush sweater that drapes just right off the shoulders. It might just be a fragrance that makes you feel like a bombshell. If it makes you feel gorgeous, wear it! Here's what I'm loving for New Year's Eve which will easily slide into the wardrobe to mix & match with other staples throughout the year.

WHAT TO WEAR

For Everyone: Last Minute Holiday Shipping Saves the Day!

Thank goodness for last minute shipping! I scored some thoughtful additions to round out gifts for the Mr. this morning thanks to Williams-Sonoma with code FREESHIP. Completely free shipping. No minimum order. Delivered by December 24. Check! 

Who else is playing the role of Santa? Neiman Marcus, just use code QUICKSHIP. Nordstrom offers shopping online & store pickup (and option I have long been a fan of!). You can even search to see which of the nearby locations has the items you want. Always awesome. J. Crew will overnight anything your pretty heart desires for just $10. Not a bad idea considering thew 30% off savings on all full prince and an extra 40% off sale. Helloooo, sweet deals!  

For a small fee, Trina Turk can save the gold medallion day. She's loaded the site up with smart gift guides & oodles of glam options for everyone on your list. 

Don't overlook the joys of Sur la Table. They have plenty of amazing ideas for everyone on your list - chefs and kids alike - and still offer pre-Christmas delivery.

And of course... Amazon. They are killing it on deliveries on everything under the sun. And today is THE LAST DAY to order to receive by Christmas. This is when the Prime membership really shows its value! 

Happy (last minute) shopping! 

Perspective: White Out...

We don't get a blanket of white powder in the south very often. While we're unlikely to see a blanket of snowy accumulation today, it's drizzling and a chilly 30 degrees out there this morning. It's a dream, of course, but we're all silently thinking, "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" inside our hearts. What better way to begin the new year than with a blank canvas both mentally and visually. Even a fine dusting of snowflakes does the trick. It seems to cover all manner of detail and leaves the view outside your frosted window looking absolutely gorgeous. Pristine. Pure. Snow obscures most of the detail you normally see and highlights textures you hadn't noticed before. It plays tricks on the mind, simplifying things... beautifying things. 

For the start of this fresh page of the calendar I wish for a blank canvas for each of us. A new beginning. A pure start. A new awakening. A clear line drawn on the timeline of your life to actively leave the past behind you and step boldly into a new you, a better you, a more high achieving you. 

This is when I'm craving my annual "mind cleanse" and life adjustment kickstart. It's time to fully assess my life goals and determine how to create maximum results to get where I know I'm destined to arrive. It's time to plan trips and book vacations. It's time to reach out to friends old and new and spark up flames of friendship you cherish. It's time to rethink your outlook, your mental roadmap and your life course. It's time to recalibrate and get back on track if you've drifted - or move your target further away if you're achieving your goals like a boss. 

Use today wisely. Cherish it. Relish it. Enjoy the completely blank page on your calendar and leverage the freedom that it extends to you. I challenge you to fill that journal with delirious, delicious, ridiculous goals that frighten you. Use your pen and articulate your thoughts in a way that feels a bit uncomfortable. Write out things as you truly wish in your heart of hearts they were in reality. Do this even if your present situation seems blah and uninspiring. Do this even if your wildest dreams are already coming true. Reach higher. Much higher. Strive to live a life of excellence and awe. It's time you stepped up your game and you know it. Stop settling. Stop coasting. Stop waiting for someone else to make your dreams come true. That person is you and only you. 

Write down your goals, your plans, your wishes, your aspirations and your deepest longings. Write them down in incredible detail. What perfume will you wear when you are the woman you've always wanted to be? How will you walk? What will you wear? Where does this version of you you shop? What does she buy? How does she enter a room? Is she regal like Grace Kelly or sultry like Angelina? Does she do yoga or is she a runner? Where does she go to get her sweat on? Find that place. Drive to that place. See yourself there. See yourself fit and fabulous. Visualize this new version of you happening.

Make "your life: the remix" your new reality by penning it in great detail in a journal, a book, on a napkin, on a scrap of paper, on the floor, on your wall - SOMEWHERE. But do it in pen and don't do it on a laptop. Write that out old school with a pen and look at it. Design the life you want, and design it in the finest of detail. It needn't be in a fancy leather bound book, but it needs to be written down. Get those ideas out and don't stop writing until you feel you've gushed and gushed. Word of wisdom: If your inner longings don't scare you you are not thinking boldly enough! 

NEED MORE INSPIRATION? READ ON...

Foundations: Preparing for a Fashionable Winter...

As many of you have observed, I've been refining and refining my closet for a few years. This past summer I stumbled upon the most effective method of all for finally cropping it down to a tightly edited closet. It was the pivotal moment in the lengthy personal wardrobe purge. The result? Peace of mind and a walk-in that brings a smile to my face daily. 

So now I'm "there" on my goal of a slimmed down wardrobe. Excess has been eliminated and I love what is left. One advantage is the ability to clearly see what needs to be replaced, updated or added to (more fitted black tees, please!). The other clear advantage of the streamlined result is this: as each new season approaches I can see exactly what is lacking and where the "holes" are in my bulletproof closet. Hence, my current situation. 

Why am I lacking winter foundational pieces? It's that spicy Dallas weather. It is so unbelievably hot in Texas each summer that I can hardly imagine cold weather. It makes it almost impossible to imagine what is necessary for cold winter days. The idea of nailing down tall boots when it is 98 degrees is unreasonable at best, torturous at worst. 

That said, when the mercury does drop it drops with urgency. Chilly weather descents upon our pretty city with a major attitude. Days are suddenly overcast and dreary (where art thou, great sun?), and the brisk air is unforgiving. Very unforgiving. Suddenly it is crystal clear what timeless pieces I'll need to add to the mix to pull off this season and many winters in the future. 

Those just joining in should know I'm an investment shopper. Fewer, better, more fabulous additions to the wardrobe are all that are allowed. No fast fashion fixes. No placeholders. No ill fits. No substitutes. Examine each potential new acquisition and take care to source the best of the bunch, considering personal preferences and budget. 

So... what is on the present list for the season? Here it is...

Simple, straightforward and relatively easy to find.... right? It would be if I were merely plugging holes. Remember: this is finding the perfect item at the perfect price in the perfect size. Simple. But simple is not always easy.

I'll tackle a few of my fashion targets in a moment, but explore them more deeply in separate posts. After all, the selection process is a thorough one. You might wonder how (or if) I can shop online for such key pieces. My answer? A few factors come into play here: 

  1. SIZING 
    I'm petite, but it only matters in terms of pants and certain jackets. Eve so,  shopping online is pretty much a necessity as finding petite jeans is rarely an option even in the best of stores.
     
  2. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
    I live for and adore reading customer reviews. Criticisms and praise over items (as well as details such as age and body type) offer tremendous wisdom.
     
  3. SELECTION
    No store will ever offer as to choose from much as the great wide web. If it's out at Neimans, Shopbop may well have it. One I hone in on an item I search far and wide to pin it down in my size. 
     
  4. KNOW THY SELF
    I know my key brands and am always adding a few more trusted labels to the mix (as others are shuffled out).
     
  5. TRY & TRY AGAIN
    Be willing to experiment by ordering several pairs of jeans or a few jackets to see which suits you best. Know the return policies, abide by the basic tenets of being a good customer and simply ship back (typically for free) the items (new with tags, of course) that did not fit. I try to ship back the very next day to avoid any hiccups, but you often have as much as 30 days or more to make decisions. 
     
  6. CONVENIENCE (OR NECESSITY)
    I have two very small girls at home. While I have to take them out to try on shoes and help me find new moisturizers etc, I order online quite a bit. Why? Delivery straight to my door (and return pickup from home as well) are a dream come true. Why run about unnecessarily? I adore shopping and do plenty of it, but there's also a certain thrill in opening those glamorous ribboned Net-a-Porter boxes after the doorbell rings. 

With that... here are a few current contenders for the vacancies above in my wardrobe...

FASHIONABLE WINTER INVESTMENTS


 

ESSENTIAL RELATED READING: WARDROBE MANAGEMENT

RELATED READING: FOUNDATIONS

Wanderlusting: Drop Dead Gorgeous Hotel Pools Around the World...

A quick google search will turn up lists everywhere touting the "top infinity pools", "the most luxurious pools", the "most exclusive pools", and even the most photogenic pools in the world. At the moment, I'm reading (perhaps the more appropriate phrasing is "ogling") Dream Pools: Enchnating Pools of Italy's Emerald Coast. And as you might imagine, it's making me rethink everything I'm doing with my life and pulling out my copy of Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Work Week (essential reading, by the way). But for today we're just looking at a few stunning images of what I would label as some of the most beautiful hotel pools in the world. Of course, I'm packing my imaginary bag quickly. Won't you join me? 

WHAT TO PACK? ONLY THE ESSENTIALS





What's coming up next week? Book reviews. Three of them as well as a closer look at what I'm crushing on right now. In the meantime, have a great weekend and get out here and LIVE. 

Luxe Accommodations: Effortless Luxury on Laguna Beach...

I'm an OC girl at heart. Can't help it. Always will be. I'm not from there but if I could choose anywhere in the US to live, this paradise on earth is surely my jam. Until the movers arrive (and my west coast dreams come true) the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort is a sweet cure for my California cravings. It's got everything a summer-loving girl wants: beach yoga, a stunning pool area, beautiful balconies and opulent elegance inside. There's a reason those SoCal brides flock to this property: it is picturesque and perfectly captures the romance of Mediterranean architecture against a backdrop of a blissful beach and craggy cliffs. 

So... what should we wear on our virtual vacation there today? Let's pack our make-believe bags and jet off to Laguna Beach, girls! 

PACK YOUR BAGS




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What to Wear: Spectacular Holiday Party Shoes...

It's all about the accessories, girls. You can wear the most basic black dress and style it properly and be the enviable belle of the ball - so long as those accessories are on point. Asked by a very close girlfriend to suggest holiday party shoes, I thought it best to offer that same wisdom here. Ready ladies? Let's get to steppin...

HIGH HEELS

Some of you love your stilts (raising hand) and want to lengthen those legs as much as possible. My five foot tall frame (and six-foot personality) is with you. Let's review my current favorite sky high heel options with price points for all to enjoy: 


NOT-SO-HIGH HEELS

This particular friend requested some not so tipsy teetering heels, and I can't blame her. It's tough to mix and mingle for hours on end when you're struggling to maintain your balance. No one wants to look as though she's has a touch to many flutes of bubbly at the holiday fête. For those of you who share her love of solid (yet fabulous) footwear, may I suggest the following...


See girls, style and investment levels for everyone. Although I will say my suggestion is to go for it and snag yourself a pair of these and call it a most happy day. After all, you only have one chance to make a first impression. 

These Jimmy Choo Anouk dégradé glitter-finished leather pumps have my name written all over them & I hope Santa baby thinks of me when he's tossing these in his red bag this year. Happy holiday shoe shopping, everyone! 

What to Wear: Your Flawless Holiday Party Look...

Whether you're a private jet to Ibiza kind of girl or a night in with friends, getting dolled up for the holidays is just part of our genetic makeup. We love it. We live for it. We embrace it. If you're looking for the PERFECT outfit to take you from dusk 'til dawn, this is surely it. A feminine frock, dazzling heels, a timeless clutch and gold & crystal J. Crew earrings. 

The dress will be an investment, yes. But I am sure you'll seek out more opps to wear this amazing LBD. The accessories will all be just as chic at your lazy next day brunch with jeans and a simple white tee. Classic investments and unbelievable pieces to usher out the old and ring in the new. 

SHOP THE LOOK

Lanvin Metallic fil coupe mini dress // Saint Laurent Monogram Clutch // Jimmy Choo glitter pumps // J. Crew Earrings

Extraordinary Journeys: The Life-Affirming African Safari...

Recently the epic conversation starter "what would you do if..." came up. Specifically, we explored how we would spend our last precious weeks here on this water-covered rock if given news that our number was up. I'm talking Queen Latifah in Last Holiday type of trip. Cash it in. Spend it all. No looking back. For me, there's no question exactly what I would do. Travel. In fact, I'd keep on going until... well, until the movie ended if you know what I mean. ;) 

So where would I go? Many places. And I plan to craft many posts featuring each of them. So buckle up, you bucket listers! It's a whirlwind trip around the globe and we've all got first class tickets and generous uncles sympathetic to our globetrotting cause. 

First up: the African safari. Non-negotiable, my very first experience would be amongst the most menacing predators on earth and the most sensational scenery. There is no other travel experience that even comes close to rivaling the thrill of seeing the "big five" from the comfort of a tricked out jeep with skilled (and let's not kid ourselves here: armed) tour guides. One such company offering the most luxurious safari experience is And Beyond. They keep it chic and make camping in the wilderness seem like the most logical thing in the world.

Regardless of your travel partner of choice, my focus is still the same: dinner under a vast sky where the beauty of our galaxy is actually visible. The very real life-threatening thrill of lurking big game nearby the camp (hello, lions!). The juxtaposition of fine white tablecloth dining amongst the tall grass in a remote game reserve. And, if lucky, playing witness to the great migration and some pretty vivid food chain activities (I'm talking about you, crazy hyenas). The idea of seeing cheetah, prides of lions and massive African elephants up close is beyond thrilling to me. And frankly, I think most people perish from pure lack of passion & excitement in their life. A trip of this magnitude would wake up the most tied of souls and (yes, I'll say it) perhaps even cure you. 

Naturally I would want my husband and girls to go, the inner core of my tight posse. Watching big game with my crew is everything this luxe loving babe could hope for. But... the Mr. being the extremely risk-averse person he is, I'm certain he'd put the kibosh on any plans to bring our little ones. Hyenas, wildebeest and some of the world's most potent predators in close proximity to our daughters strikes him as reckless and irresponsible. I disagree. These stunning creatures are some of the most magnificent on the planet. How can we not expose our girls to beautiful animals in their natural habitat? What if we can witness grazing gazelles and those gorgeous giraffes up close and personal. Together. Talk about a life-changing trip for all of us. 

Now, some of you may be asking why I'd spend my last days on earth (in this hypothetical situation) traveling. If you have to ask, you don't suffer from wanderlust. Plain and simple. Those of us with an unquenchable thirst to move about the globe simply won't be sated until we've seen it all. And then we'll want to go BACK to our favorite places. So if you're married to one of us, brace yourself. The trips will be many, they will be awesome. They will be the best investments you ever make. And they will be what you'll be expected to join us in doing for our entire lives. So keep the passports active. 

Can't get away? Enjoy these safari inspired objects...

VIRTUAL LUXE SAFARI

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Luxe Accommodations: Ralph Lauren's Carribean Dream...

While you might not immediately pair Ralph Lauren and Jamaica in your mind, Round Hill is out to prove the pairing is a match made in design heaven. Crisp linens, four poster beds, attention to detail and undeniably soothing interiors prove that the signature RL look is certainly at home in the Caribbean.

When you're not swinging in the hammock under the shade of a swaying palm, try out a bit of snorkeling or kayaking. But... who are we kidding? You'll be enjoying your private pool and the incredible chef-prepared cuisine between long siestas in those dreamy white luxury sheets as the ocean breeze blows in through the sheers. And that's precisely what Ralph hopes you do in this decadent island paradise.