What to Wear: Summer Soiree...

soiree

Summer parties are kicking off. This week is all about sourcing easy outfits for afternoon events by (although likely not actually in) the pool. The foundation is a great maxi dress. The rest is easy: oversized sunglasses, SPF to spritz onto bared skin and some form of pretty sandals. I like to do a messy low bun with side swept bangs and keep makeup simple but pretty.

The above look is a great one if you have a special summer soiree to attend this coming week. You can't go wrong with a floral DVF dress and statement jewelry. Finish with an intoxicating summer scent (not too heavy, mind you!) and you're out the door. Ciao! 

SHOP SOIREE STYLE

Luxe Accommodations: Amazing Grace in Turks & Caicos...

This is the type of property I don't just want to visit, I want to own it. I want to revel in the joys of having it as my own. Isn't she gorgeous? The Villa, aptly named Amazing Grace is absolutely stunning. While there are no shortage of properties to stay at along the shores of Grace Bay, most of them swing either ultra-mod or traditional tropical in design. Frankly I love those styles when I'm vacationing. It is a nice contrast to my daily living space and a feast for the eyes. But when I spotted this villa listed as a rental, my jaw fell open. This one is absolutely a stunner and falls into the "Pack your bags, we're leaving now" category. Love at first sight. 

Still reeling from the inspiration, I couldn't wait to share the gallery images with you. Hellooooo, tropical haven I'd never want to leave. New life goal... own this property or one of the same caliber and enjoy it whenever it isn't being rented out to fellow wanderlusters like myself. #lifegoals

I have a friend headed to Turks & Caicos, where this beauty resides, and I'm helping her plan her wardrobe for the stay. Care to pack your virtual bags with me as we tour this ultra-plush pad? Let's do it...

WHAT TO WEAR: AMAZING GRACE IN TURKS & CAICOS


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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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Luxe Accommodations: An Elegant Seaside Villa in Sunny La Jolla...

This is one of those properties I'd rather own than enjoy for a week. Wouldn't you? A stunning villa that overlooks the silk sands of La Jolla beach, decked out in all its Mediterranean opulence. Seriously, people. This is what happiness looks like.

Imagine opening your bedroom doors in the morning to take a dip in the lagoon-style pool after enjoying the requisite outdoor shower. This, dear friends, is what a luxe rental is all about. Everything you could possibly wish for has been provided, and you are mere feet from places to dine, go paddle boarding or merely digging your toes in the sand while you watch those towering palms sway overhead. Heaven on earth, seriously.  

You and your nine favorite people can book this sweet pad at Luxury Rentals. Looking for a two bedroom? This light, airy rental is just a few feet away (and half the price) with a gorgeous white kitchen and enviable views of those crashing waves. I'll be waiting for your text invite, by the way, because it looks like absolute perfection. 

WHAT TO PACK




Luxe Accommodations: Arabian Nights at La Mamounia, Marrakesh...

These days when I think of "getting away" I'm most certainly focused on going far, far, far away. Perhaps it's too much of the familiar or too many long summer days. My soul is craving exotic locales and strange lands. 

Yesterday's interview with Alexandra Foster stirred up thoughts of Morocco and the infamous La Mamounia hotel in Marrakech. If ever a property called for jeweled sandals, flowing dresses and darker eyeliner, this surely is the one.

Most only dream of experiencing Arabian nights, but I cannot wait to experience the intoxicating grounds myself. From the moment you are greeted at the handcarved doors to the second you slip into the cobalt tiled pool, La Mamounia beckons with exotic charms and mysterious seduction.

Discover more of what awaits at La Mamounia and surrounding Morocco so you can plan your next far flung getaway. Wondering what to wear? I've got your bags packed. Happy traveling! 

Beauty: My Effortless Summer #MakeupEdit...

Summer is the season when less really truly is more. White sundresses, featherlight sunglasses and gold slip-on flats make for a killer look and makeup needn't be much more complicated. Here in Dallas the sun is punishingly bright and the heat is intense, so survival in the game of beauty (and sun protection) is a skill worth mastering.

I've simplified my summer makeup routine to a few fantastic products that work well for my skin and my desired look. The star of them being the Estee Lauder Summer Glow Multi-Palette. As the name implies it is a workhorse that does a million wonderful things. This pretty gold compact has since replaced my normal blush, bronzer, luminizer and eye shadows. I love, love, LOVE it so much I'll be buying a few before they sell out. No, this post isn't sponsored in any way, I just adore this incredible little palette and have found it to be a miracle worker giving me an enviable and effortless glow. Here's the simplified (yet sun-safe) summer routine in full...

MY SEXY SUMMER SKIN ROUTINE

After moristuring, apply Bare Minerals SPF 50 Primer Fluid. This is new for me and I love that it preps skin for the next step while adding an invisible layer of mineral SPF 50. Next  apply Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder (Tint 3) where necessary, working from the center of the face outward. On days I need it, I tap a few dots of Charlotte Tilbury Treat & Conceal (in shade 2) under the eyes and dab, dab, dab to fend off shadows. 

Now to the color: With a thin fan brush I use a hint of the bronzer from the Estee Lauder Summer Glow Multi-Palette beneath cheekbones in the natural groove where shadows would appear. It is matte and goes on extremely sheer. No nightmare streaks are possible. Then mixing the bronzer & blush (also shimmer-free) with a stipple brush I hit just above the temples and just beneath apples of cheeks up to the ear. With my blush brush I use the blush color alone to give the apples that pretty pink pop. The highlighter is unique, it's a gel-powder with sophisticated shimmer that I use in the inner corners of eyes to brighten, and carry it over the lid for a luminous sheen, I also add to the "C" shaped area around the eyes near temples with a highlighter brush. A touch on the cupids bow, brow bones and cheekbones give that happy glow we crave. Mind you, these are steps that take seconds and are applied lightly in barely-there layers. There's no precision or painstaking accuracy needed. Just this palette and my makeup brushes. That's it! It's a foolproof palette that offers just the right amount of color payoff on my light olive skin and I find the colors to be extremely flattering. 

Next comes a thin flick of Givenchy Couture Waterproof Eyeliner to outer lids for lash fluttering beauty. Finish with my all-time favorite Voluminous mascara from Loreal,  Next I take a bottle of Soleil Toujours Set & Protect Mist with me as well as one of a few straw hats and my must-have Fresh "Rose" Lip Treatment which leaves a barely there hint of (you guessed it) rose tint on the lips. Summer beauty, perfected. 

The only parts of this routine that requires focus or precision are the liner (optional) and the mascara. Candid note: I always dread applying mascara but am always the most impressed with the results. It is tedious and requires accuracy, but nothing else in this routine requires a steady hand or Kardashian dedication. The goodies I use are all listed below. Obviously I have high praise for the Estee Lauder Summer Glow Multi-Palette, as it's my go-to find this summer. It is also available herehere and here. More details below. Thank you for reading! 

Luxe Accommodations: Turkish Delight...

Enjoy old world glamour along the Bosphorous at this spectacular hotel in Istanbul. Ciragan Palance Kempinski is every bit as spectacular as you dream a palatial hotel would be. Envision if you will an infinity pool overlooking the waters, authentic cuisine, authentic hammam baths and incredibly opulent beds. A true Turkish delight. See more at Kiwi Collection...

Objects of Desire: All Things Crystal Clear...

Confession time: I am not a big fan of all things acrylic. It requires proper application of this sparkling medium to impress me. The waters have been seriously muddied by cheap plastic $5 objects that just happen to be clear. Plastic spoons = not sexy. Perfectly crafted Lucite legs = dead sexy. 

Like anything, it comes down to quality. High quality Lucite and some of the more luxurious English acrylic products on the market are stunning. Cheap impostors are everywhere, though, and it seems many don't know the difference because they've only seen them online. To try to give insight: It's the difference between Waterford Crystal and a mason jar - they might both be clear containers but that's where to comparison ends. 

Higher quality acrylics (name brand or not) will set you back a pretty penny. You can, however, begin to develop an eye for those pieces produced with more intention by studying the clarity of the pieces. Look for crystal clear legs on ottomans,  heavier objects, pieces that look have substantial weight and clearly cut edges. Like diamonds, it comes down to the four C's of acrylic: you are looking for the best cut, clarity, color and cost you can afford. Don't fool yourself into thinking that a piece of clear plastic is going to sparkle and shine as nice as a lovingly made high-end acrylic. It's just not happening.  

However jaded I may be, when something beautifully created catches my eye I have to celebrate it. Recently I've noticed the emergence of high-end furniture using top quality acrylic and an abundance of very nice home accessories (a few of which are on sale at the moment). 

I hope you'll appreciate a little post featuring some lovely scenes that tastefully use Lucite or acrylic that give me hope that it is indeed a timeless material when skillfully employed. 

CLEAR WINNERS

Objects of Desire: Hermēs Scarves as Works of Art...

They say every Hermēs journey begins with a single scarf. As if a hand-rolled square of silk has the uncanny ability to turn an otherwise sane woman into a Birkin-lusting, leather cuff obsessed buying machine. Perhaps this is true. If so, A pretty creation such as this dip dyed number designed by Henri d'Origny in a delightful mix of oranges, pinks, tranquil turquoise and spots of pale lavender surely are to blame for the fall of many a strong-willed female. It is undeniably gorgeous by an standard. 

But what if you're keenly aware of the silk's inherent delicate nature and want to admire it and enjoy it without risking snags, wrinkles or (God forbid...) spots? For those of us on the obsessive side of the spectrum (raising hand high), there's the option to see these marvelous creations as the works of art they are and frame them. Yes, frame them. 

While I love tying a colorful scarf on my handbags in summer, I don't subject my nicest ones to this task. Due to the way I baby my belonging, risking "injury" to one of these investment pieces simply isn't an option.

I have observed them framed or placed behind a modern acrylic box as a beautiful art installation. It's clever. It's sharp. It's brilliant. In many ways, it seems the best use of these fanciful objects.

I think you're either a fan of colorful scarves as magnificent artistic creations or you aren't. I myself am fascinated that an organic material such as silk can be manipulated in such a way as to create such intricately detailed designs. Their delicate nature also amazes me (yet another reason to consider placing yours behind a protective barrier). Add to it, their worth both in the present (cha ching) and in the future (perhaps cha cha ching) as collector's items and it seems downright crazy to tie one in knots for a trip to Starbucks. 

If the above points don't sway you, consider this: you can only truly and fully appreciate the composition of a scarf design when it is spread out on a flat surface. So to me, hunting my favorite versions of these beauties down and hanging a few on a wall is a magnificent idea. In fact, it's a decision I've recently made: to collect (and protect) them. 

I can hear you now. Beautiful things are meant to be enjoyed, right? Yes. They are. Everyday luxuries aren't supposed to feel too precious or untouchable. I wholeheartedly believe this. While I would encourage you to use your bone china and pull out your crystal stemware for a picnic (life's too short to hide it!), your diamonds need to be worn as often as possible and by all means, wear your favorite perfume whenever the mood strikes. Life is too short. Yet... in this one instance I feel protective of these somewhat fragile artistic pieces. The idea of a grid of nine magnificent silky scarves on a large blank wall sounds just dreamy to me.  But perhaps just a single scarf, framed perfectly and hung on a wall alone is more of style statement and an expression of your love of fine things. Your only challenge: which one to choose? 

{all product images via Hermes.com // all interior photography via Pinterest

Color Crush: Adriatic Blue + Glistening Gold...

Ready for a mini-vacation? Take a brief moment with me to imagine the glistening waters of the Adriatic. Sail with me through the Greek Isles. Stroll with me through Santorini's steeped, winding streets. Dine with me on Croatia's coastline. Charter a yacht with me and sail to Corfu for a day trip. These colors will inspire you to soak in the summer sun, dip your toes in a pool and possibly, just possibly live a little more luxuriously today. 

SHOP THE SEDUCTIVELY SERENE VIBE





Are you feeling it? Me too. If you're swimming in client work today rather than an infinity pool, do yourself a favor and at least make an attempt to book a summer vacation. Dubrovnik, Mykonos, Crete... you can't go wrong with one of these amazing coastal destinations along the Adriatic. If not, I hope you enjoyed this mini mental escape. You deserve it!

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Color Crush: Impactful Bougainvillea Pink...

{photos via here & here & here & here)

I dare say no one can find fault with cheery bougainvillea pink. It is shamelessly pretty, fiercely energetic and undeniably happy. This intense shade of pink is a personal favorite for it's ability to shift any lackluster moment (or outfit) into high gear. Wile I lack the studies to back it up, I would assert that there could be scientific studies to demonstrate the power of this unabashedly joyful color. Make your day - and your life - more dynamic by adding a pop of impactful bougainvillea pink to your look, your rooms and your mood. 

MAKE AN IMPACT WITH BOUGAINVILLEA PINK

Color Crush: Fresh Squeezed Zesty Orange...

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Never underestimate the power of color to energize and inspire. When I need a lift, a zesty dash or bold orange - be it by embroidered pillow, scented candle or cashmere sweater - has the power to elevate my mood. Not as rich as red, not as sunny as yellow, orange is in a realm of it's own. I find it endlessly cheerful and packed with power. It's no wonder it is a longtime designer favorite in both fashion and interiors. 

SHOP THESE FRESH SQUEEZED FAVORITES





Styling tip: Much like citrus juice itself, a little goes a long way. A dash of orange, a hint of tangerine a pop of lemon does the trick. The head to toe (or wall to wall, as the case may be) look was once reserved for those with enough chutzpah to pull it off, but lately committing to color has taken off and become an "every girl" approved look. That said, if pair that orange dress with metallic heels or fun wedges. Save the matching shoes for a different day with a different ensemble.

Less is absolutely more with a powerful color such as this. Orange makes no apologies and bows to no one. Worn well, this powerful color brings a welcome kick of "wow, look at her!" to your look. Be memorable, be fabulous & rock that pop of orange like you mean it. The world is your runway! 

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Color Crush: Punchy Persimmon ...

One of my all time favorite colors is a shade somewhere between orange and pink and coral. I think of it as persimmon, but as trends change it is frequently called other names. Regardless of what you choose to call it, this color is happy, energetic and flattering on most skin tones. I love it in tulips, a adore it in sweaters and as a hue occurring in nature I am endlessly amazed. I hope the color crush of the day makes you feel fiery inside and it sets your ambition for the week on fire. Happy Monday! xoxo

SHOP THE SHADE

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Color Crush: Jewel Tones...

Normally I'm all about subtlety and a life of sophisticated neutrals (think: black, white, gold and leopard) but now that fall has arrived (yesss!) a little saturated color seems like a fine idea.

Why limit the color to tabletop decorations and vases? I'm suddenly wanting a pop of rich color in my closet as much as my living room - perhaps even more so. Here are a few "look at me" pieces for fall that won't break your color-loving bank. 

SHOP IN LIVING COLOR



Color Crush: Tiffany Blue...

Another day, another pretty color. Today I'm inspired by Tiffany blue and all the lovely shades that fall near it on the color spectrum. Somewhere along the lines of turquoise and aqua lies this optimistic shade of bluish green. Light, bright and always eye catching, I have always loved this color. 

It reminds me of azure waters and sunny skies. It makes me think of pretty things and positive memories. Frankly, what more can you ask for in a color?

SHOP THE SHADE


Shop the Look: Melanie Turner's Sunny Yellow Dining Room...

Photo via  Verand

Photo via Verand

Much can be said about the beauty of Melanie Turner's interior design work. Her rooms seem to capture natural light in an almost ethereal way, adding vitality to each space. Of her many projects, one room seems to captivate fans more than most: her sunny yellow dining room. From the glistening chandelier to the squareback Louis XVI chairs, we agree that the room is a stunner. So... how do you achieve Turner's dining nirvana at home? We've gathered together what we feel are the key elements that pull this classically refined space together.

Get the Look: The Bold Blue Velvet Sofa...

While most homes are a sea of beige and cream and white, we hold no fear when it comes to choosing a bold blue sofa. I myself have an admirably fierce aqua sectional that makes no apologies for its fabulousness. 

So... how do you pull it off? Assess enough photos on ArchDigest & Pinterest and you'll begin to detect an undercurrent of themes. I'll share what I've learned: 

  • ALL BUTTONED UP
    The best of the bunch are tufted either on the back or on the seat - occasionally both, when Chesterfields are involved. Not only does this highlight the inherent qualities of velvet, it makes the sofas that much more inviting to sit on.

  • CALL OF THE WILD
    An element of the exotic seems to always appear nearby, either in the form of leopard, zebra or a tribal rug. It adds a much needed "we don't take ourselves too seriously here" vibe to the room.

  • MAX IT OUT
    You've chosen a bold blue velvet sofa. There's no hiding it. So roll with it, baby! Add accents and accessories and art to carry the eyes throughout the room. It enriches the look and reinforces your masterful style. Trust me on this one.

  • AU NATURALE
    In stark contrast to the richness of the saturated (and shiny) velvet, the most successful spaces soften the blow with the roughness of wood. Be it bleached floors, a Mid-Century accent piece or a wicker chair, something nearby is usually rocking a natural finish.

  • GO FOR THE GOLD
    Other metals may make an appearance, but it's clear that gold is the finish of choice for pairing with brilliant blue. From nail heads to frames, the warmth of brass and gold are a classic and timeless choice paired with saturated blue.

  • SHOW ME SOME LEG
    Skirts be gone. These velvet sofas all show a little (or a lot) of leg. Turned or tapered, chrome or mahogany, these blue beauties all eschew the idea of skirts

So...  how do you get the look in your home? Make the simple yet bold choice to commit to the saturated hue, then rock it like it's nobody's business. Are you a deep teal fan or is true navy more your game? Make that simple choice and the rest of the room will simply come together. Here are a few of my favorite pieces to pull this look off with aplomb. 

SHOP THE DEEP BLUE LOOK




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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:

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Buon Weekend: Love Your Life By Living in the Moment...

{Photo via yours truly, Franki Durbin}

{Photo via yours truly, Franki Durbin}

What a week! Wonderful awakenings of mind, body & soul. Do you ever feel as though you're making new discoveries daily? As though life, similar to a rose, is blooming and unveiling itself to you a bit more each day? That's my moment. I'm taking it in all of its stages and striving to embrace the journey. Here's to a marvelous weekend of blessings and experiences for all of us. Happy Friday to you! 

FUN FINDS FOR THE FUN HAVERS





Now please... do me a favor and put down your phone, shut the laptop, turn off the DVR. Go have some fun. With REAL people. People you live in places you adore. Do things that fill you with happiness. Do things that feed your soul. Crumple up your to do list and see if you can figure out what's REALLY important. The answer might just surprise you.