Feeling Bookish: "Beautiful" Rises to the Top of the Stack...

This is one of those yummy books that you likely already own. Beautiful: All-American Decorating and Timeless Style by Mark D. Sikes is truly one of those gorgeous books you feel compelled to own and keep on hand for instant inspiration. Organized by color (hello, signature MDS blue!) this happy book walks readers through glorious livable space after glorious livable space.

A satisfying balance of images and text, this perfectly sized book skillfully showcases Mark's fresh take on relaxed interiors and their corresponding (equally impressive) outdoor spaces. Blessed with the luxury of the easy breezy (and gorgeous) California climate as a backdrop, Mark's livably luxe interiors exude aspirational glamour anchored by an unquestionable pet-friendly vibe. A glamorous golden Greek key & marble top entry console resides comfortably beside a decidedly unfussy woven storage basket causing you to think "why not?" each time you flip the page.

And then there are the boxwoods. Ahhh, the boxwoods. I could 

Wardobe Management: Restocking the Closet With Luxury Basics...

{images via Pinterest + Pinterest}

In several previous posts I shared my unique method for stripping away the excess in my closet. I literally removed everything from the space, redesigned the closet (hello, happy white shelves & smooth-gliding drawers!) and then gave every item a hard evaluation before deciding what deserved to go back in. That's right. It wasn't an exercise in elimination. It was placing a positive spin on the daunting process. It's not what goes away. It's more a matter of "what fabulous pieces do I already own that deserve to be housed in this sparkling new space?" Which of you lovely pieces are closet worthy?

As you might imagine, many items were kicked to the curb via donations & selling online. This is an exercise in patience as I am still listing items on Tradesy in my down time. Yet the effort was (and continues to be) so worth it. In fact, the pieces in my "before" closet served a previous version of me. She loved shopping, had time to peruse the racks at Neimans & Saks and those precious big sales, she had the leisure to grab coffee on Saturdays before window shopping with friends. She was more willing to bypass the perfect black tee (so boring) for a boldly printed chiffon DVF blouse she "discovered" on a rack at Saks while popping out of the office for a bite to eat. The previous me enjoyed the thrill of the unexpected hunt and had ample time to peruse department stores and specialty boutiques in a never ending quest for "special" pieces. Former me was an unpredictable shopping gunslinger rapidly aiming her weapon in the direction of occasionally fabulous but often "almost ideal" items. She was eager to add to her closet and willing to experiment.

This retail wild west chracater no longer exists. Today, I'm a focused sniper. A trained retail sharpshooter peering through the cross-hairs of my scope carefully observing my retail prey. Rather than a quick pull on the trigger & hope for the best, I'm an expert closet curator who carefully plans each purchase and stalks each item with relentless research. I study how an item looks on other bloggers, read reviews, pay special attention to measurements and determine how handbags will function, blouses will billow, denim will wear and dresses will hang on my petite frame.

Small children and a busy digital business keep my feet mostly out of physical stores and firmly entrenched in the online shopping experience. And let's not forget that redone closet. It's given me a clear lens through which to focus my attention. With my recently streamlined wardrobe I now experience on a daily basis where the voids are in my wardrobe. I can now respect the need (yes need) of the perfect black tee and the functional benefits a small crossbody bag would add to my lifestyle. I can see the vacancies now in glaring detail that were once obscured by the abundance of "almost perfect" pieces. The chaos cleared, there's now a crystal clear picture of what exists, what is needed and what would be thrilling to add to my tightly edited collection. 

Pressed for time (and craving as much information as possible) I prefer to shop almost exclusively online. There are no more unexpected purchases, things are carefully considered and planned. Rather than casting a wide net I visit favorite brands and trusted sites loyally and favor them for their excellent products and perfect customer service (and of course, sales!). This isn't to say the quest for the new and unexpected is gone, that's the thrill of life, right? The excited shopper is still thriving and alive, but her reckless former form has been replaced with a careful curator who obsesses over button placement, fabric weight and the integration of said fashion into my busy lifestyle.

The new shopper in me is a perfectionist. She can't believe she every selected an "almost perfect" anything. Rather than spending on a frilly frock that will one day be perfect if I'm invited to Diddy's White Party (is that still a thing?) I'm investing in pieces I will enjoy for many years. Fact is, they may require a bigger financial commitment, but the quality will be commensurate with price and the luxurious fit and durability will more than make up for the price. Also - I LOVE my newly thinned out wardrobe and reject the idea of "good enough" pieces when I can hold out and wait for the ideal piece to appear.

My style is pretty much Olivia Palermo meets Olivia Pope. Clean lines, stylish classics, beautiful pieces. Feminine style with a confident lean. With that, here a few timeless pieces I'm stalking for fall that will fill some of the aforementioned gaps in my wardrobe and my life. Remember, I circle the drain for some time before making the purchase. I look at each piece for versatility, longevity and how wearing it will make me feel.

THE URGENT FALL SHOPPING LIST

Franki Durbin // Fall Fashion

Miss Dior Absolutely Blooming // Splendid Fitted Soft Touch Tees (also see Hanro here & here) // DVF Leopard Scarf (also here) // Saint Laurent Crossbody Tassel bag (also here & here) // Frame Le Crop Mini Bootcut Jeans (also at Nordstrom) // Gucci Horsebit Leather Mules (also here)

  • Crop flared denim for an everyday for that are just as perfect with flat loafers as they are with sneaks or heels.
  • A high quality small-ish crossbody bag with gold hardware. Large enough for a wallet, iPhone, fey fob and lip gloss but needn't carry anything else. Versatility is key here. Ideally it will work as a clutch, shoulder bag or crossbody to play a multitude of roles.
  • Perfect black & white tees. So basic. So easy to delay. Yet so crucial to daily life. When I discover "the one" I'll invest in a handful of them in black and white as I could easily wear them daily.
  • Chunky heels. Fall's version of a wedge, the chunky mules gives any outfit a little "lift" and elongates my petite frame. Black (duh) is ideal and you can bet I'll be sliding my feet into these on the regular.
  • A new signature fragrance for fall, this new Dior perfume is my current love

ROUND TWO WILL INCLUDE

  • A statement jacket (or two). In all fairness, I'm a bit jacket obsessed. This is an area of "freedom" in my wardrobe where I color outside the lines and can easily justify a lilac quilted leather jacket (and I do) or a faux fur sequinned creation (because it's fabulous). When the "great edit" went down, I was left with a lovely collection of denim, handbags and jackets - quickly realizing that I needed to add more shirts to my game lest I be nekkid under those pretty blazers & cropped jackets. What I don't own, however, is a pink jacket (the horror!) or a classic black moto jacket.
  • Fall/winter boots. Leather with a stacked heel. Not a sky-high heel, but not squatty either I have denim that only work when worn with heels, so at least 3" will be required.
  • A black bow blouse. Who doesn't love a good bow blouse? This was on my list last year as well but I never quite found "the one" at the price point I was seeking. Perhaps this season I'll find my perfect match.

For the moment, that's the list. It's longer than I'd like it to be, but the reality is I can skip the jackets and be perfectly fine. Those are long-term acquisition goals whereas the others are things I long for every day. What are you hunting for this season? Are you a color lover or do you go flock to neutrals? What do you consider basic?

(Note: If you'd like to shop my Tradesy closet, here's a link to save $20 on your purchase.)

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Shop the Look: The Safari Chic Dressing Room...

Let's talk about dream closets, shall we? Personally, I'm loving the idea of a full-on leopard rug to set the stage for a sexy dressing area. I also think the space should be feminized quite a bit - even if you share it with your spouse. The thinking here is that while you might be too timid to rock the spotted look elsewhere in your home, the master closet is a private retreat all your own to do with as you wish. 

My choice? This amazing Suzanne Kasler wool rug. It's sleek, modern and a more timeless way to add exotic flourish to any space - especially a closet. This stunning version is hand-woven and crafted to stand the test of time. Bonus? It could be moved to any room of the home if you love mixing up your look once in a while. 

Next...  stools. These amazing brass & ivory Aretha Benches from Bernhardt are form and function perfected. Hello, glamour! A pair of these (if space allows) would make your closet the destination for all those late night chat sessions. They are bold, modern and downright gorgeous! And yes... the perfect spot upon which to rest as you select your outfit for the day. 

Now, try not to feign mock surprise when I tell you a chandelier is what you need to complete the look. Save your acting skills and rush over to grab this stunning vintage-inspired chandy in Italian tole style. The Astrid Chandelier is my absolute favorite choice for this look. It is a spectacular in classic gold and glistening crystals and will pair strikingly with the benches above. With its brilliant sparkling light overhead, your wardrobe will suddenly look far more fabulous and radiant. And you, my dear, will glow with a radiance never before seen. 

The last element is an obvious one: Finish it off with a glam Floor Mirror. While there are many I adore, this one pulls double duty as a sly jewelry cabinet. Not only will your necklaces be easy to access, they'll be hidden from view and completely organized. I love the beaded bevel detail on the frame and the grand scale. Extra points for making your perhaps petite closet now appear twice as grand. 

luxe.png

Less of a leopard fan and more in tune with Rachel Zoe's zebra striped sensation? I feel you sister. Let's pull a look together for you that's worthy of a star stylist's wardrobe. First... that rug. 

There are two schools of thought here. You are either a fan of the zebra pattern as a whole and are fond of a classic rectangular rug that bears the iconic bands in a sophisticated pattern. If so this 100% wool World Market rug is a fabulous value. Or...

Or... you're in search of a convincing rug that on some level looks as though you're sporting a genuine zebra hide. This high-end cowhide is hand painted with zebra stripes ensuring no two are alike. The unique shape and hair-on-hide texture gives it instant character and adds warmth to your dressing area. Available in natural (above) or bold black and white. The bolder option is more along the line's of Rachel Zoe's version featured in the images above. 

As a counterpoint to the wild zebra stripes, I'm loving this vintage-inspired chandelier, In the style of Italian tole, this beautiful light fixture will feminize the area and lend enchanting glamour. All good qualities for a chandy to deliver! 

My favorite addition? The pretty little perch. How can you possibly resist this little French cutie? I love its petite size and swiveling sear. Cabriole legs, linen fabric and the nailhead trim seal the deal - this is a chic dressing area must-have. 

My favorite part? The mirror! This Rococo style mirror via Anthropologie is simply a showstopper. Looking as though it was discovered in an undisturbed Paris apartment, this beauty will give your dressing area the elegance of Versailles and the romance of a hidden French cafe. You. Are. Welcome. :) 


So... which kind of wild child are you? Are you a spotted princess or a stripe loving wild child? Somewhere in between? The options vary, but the theme remains the same. Amp up the glamour and exotic flair of your dressing area and make getting ready (and getting undressed) a delightful treat. You deserve a fabulous rug, a chic seat to rest upon and a sparkling chandelier above. What more could a girl want?

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Musings: On Harnessing the Power of Personal Organization...

{Photos via yours truly, Franki Durbin}

{Photos via yours truly, Franki Durbin}

Once upon a time I had a manager I adored. She led rather than managed, she empowered each of us, she handled challenges with grace and certainty and she served as great inspiration to me then and now. One evening as we were readying ourselves to leave she shared a bit of wisdom that changed my life. I'm not exaggerating. Unsolicited, she offered this bit of genius: 

"I'm not any more skilled than anyone else, I'm simply more organized."

And was she. Weekly manicured, consistently trimmed hair, flawless outfits, and she ran that boutique like a well oiled machine. I never once saw her tackle an obstacle with anything other than ease. It was a sense of calm and confidence that she exuded because she was, indeed, organized. From her personal body, wardrobe and routines to how she handled her business.

Lest you think she was tightly wound, rest assured she wasn't. Freed from the stress of disorganization she was perpetually at ease, laughed easily and radiated positive energy. The few times I saw her even slightly ruffled, it was akin to watching a camera lens focus on a subject. It was a purposeful response to a real life situation. She possessed an admirable fluidity to her being that was enviable and magnetic. Her simple yet profound personal observation about her "secret leadership weapon" left a lasting mark on my psyche.

Her humble statement still lingers in my mind like a soft guiding beam. offering a firm reminder to stay on top of life's loose ends. The mere existence of a to-do list can drum up feelings of anxiety and tension. Yet, left unattended or undone, our required tasks overwhelm us and govern our lives. We'e all no doubt lived to tell that decisions not made are typically made for you by external forces. Loose ends left untied always result in something becoming unraveled - often with unwanted ramifications. 

To me there are layers of chaos. There is the overflow of the physical: laundry, mail, closets, storage, paperwork. There are calendar items or tasks: meetings, reports, projects due, calls to make, parcels to mail, appointments to be made etc. Think of those as "must manage" layers. With those out of control you're doomed. Once you've whipped your physical and mental realm into shape you can then begin (successfully) achieving your goals, tackling your larger life objectives, fulfilling your personal destiny. 

Think of this as a parallel on Maslow's Hierarchy (remember that?) of needs. Handle your business starting from the physical layer and moving to the more abstract to succeed. Without a firm (and orderly) foundation you can't achieve greatness. It makes sense, doesn't it? I doubt great leaders and innovators of the world have piles of clutter and overflowing garages. Even if they personally aren't sorting files on the weekend, they've delegated that task to someone who knocks it out of the park. 

Knowing this, I've just finished going through every possession I own, piece by piece. Much was tossed, much is being sold, much is to be donated. By touching and making decisions on everything (and I do mean everything) I feel empowered, in control and completely freed. It's amazing how much mental energy your "things" pull from you when left unedited. With my physical world in order, my brain is functioning at a much higher level. I am not reacting to life's surprises, I'm responding. I am crushing my to-do list like a beast (level two of the "rise above" plan). I am filled with a surreal feeling of confidence and my creative output has skyrocketed. 

It's hard to believe that a few boxes of receipts, an overflowing closet (or two) and more than a few disorganized drawers could have held my productivity hostage. Yet they did. And I've now been freed to live a better more purpose filled life. I've learned a very powerful lesson and can only hope this post imparts some of the same wisdom and inspiration upon you. 

Organize your surroundings to organize your thoughts. Work from the outside in.  Frankly, it's easier this way. Perhaps lightening your inventory of shoes and sweaters will make you a corner office superhero. Be ruthless. Leave nothing untouched or undone. Take care of every single detail and edit, edit, edit. The resulting emotional, creative and mental freedom will astound you and energize you. You'll be on fire and unbelievably energized about life. I promise! 

Good luck! 

xoxo,
Franki

Beauty: Secrets to Healthy, Shiny, Bombshell Hair...

{image credits via & via}

A few months ago I had my doubts. My color-treated hair (thanks to a pernicious highlighting habit) had my hair dry, brittle and angry. There were moments I wondered if my gorgeous mane would ever return. As a long-hair devotee, these golden locks are as much a part of my identity as my smile. So rather than throw in the towel (more on that topic later) I opted to do more research and work to repair the damage.

First things first. Dehydration of all varieties takes a toll on the body. Texas is known for its dry climate, and my hot yoga sessions likely contribute to the excess torture on the hair. So upping my water intake was the first and most obvious step in the repair process.

Then the research began. What products, habits, hacks and changes would I make to bring these dull strands back to life. Was it even possible? A candid conversation with my stylist resulted in him reassuring me he'd seen far worse. That said, the switch to sulfate-free products was crucial. Stop stripping the hair with harsh detergents. Next? A reconstructing conditioner would rebuild broken chemical bonds in the hair. Somewhat reversing the damage we do each time i frame my face with blonde. And a thermal protection product is a must before drying, curling or otherwise "doing" your hair. Even air-dry experts benefit from a smoothing product to coat strands and smooth the follicle. 

And about those tools... if I was still rocking a basic hair dryer I was missing out on an opportunity to achieve hair nirvana and causing deep damage each time I blow dried. And styling tools? Skip them all together unless you're willing to upgrade to the newest ceramic and tourmaline versions.

fast forward to today, this hair-lightening, heat styling enthusiast can assure you: Shiny, bouncy Victoria's Secret model tresses are not beyond your reach. With a few key shifts in your get-ready routine and a few hardware upgrades, a glossy many can once again be yours.

  1. SULFATE-FREE IS YOUR HAIR CARE SAVIOR
    Stop using anything with sulfate. Even your corner drugstore has a bevy of great options (I'm looking at you, L'oreal!) to hydrate, smooth and soften your hair. If budget allows, Kerastase Bain Therapiste is legendary for its uncanny ability to revive and rescue too-far-gone locks.
     
  2. PROTECT & PERFECT
    After showering, a pump of Wella Luxe Oil Reconstructive Elixir on damp hair is a keratin treatment that restores the shine you've been craving while rebuilding lost protein structure. Before drying, use Tresseme's Keratin Smooth Heat Protection spray to keep unwanted damage at bay. (Note: this is magical, extremely affordable & widely available.)
     
  3. BLOW IT OUT LIKE A BOSS
    The Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is all the rage right now, but I really love the ion producing dryers. The T3 professional dryer is better for your hair than air drying. Let me repeat, better for your hair than air drying. Yes. So if you dry your hair ever and live on planet earth (all of us should be raising our hands) this is a technology we need to adopt. It is clinically proven (yes, there were studies) to improve shine, volume, manageability and style retention all while reducing frizz, dryness and static. So get on that, sister.  
     
  4. STYLE IT UP SAFELY
    You'll be hard pressed to beat the runway-worthy bounce and volume of hot rollers. If you plan to roll (and I'm a HUGE fan of this effortless hair styling method), you mustn't resort to cheap curlers. Opt for high quality, larger rollers that pamper your hair. I love the T3 Voluminous Hot Rollers  (via Nordstrom also) for the busy-girl's guide to bombshell hair. More of a beachy waves fan? T3 (again) is the one you want. This version does the spinning for you, requiring absolutely no pro skills at all. More on my "everyday bombshell" styling methods here.
     
  5. KEEP IT GLOSSY, GIRL
    Regular readers know where I'm going with this... you need a silk pillowcase. Why go to all of this effort and expense only to undo months of effort while you sleep? A silk pillowcase allows your hair to glide over your pillow without pulling, bending, breaking or roughing up the texture. Say bye-bye to bedhead (and wrinkles) with this small but wise investment.
     
  6. COMMIT TO YOUR HAIR CARE (AND YOUR STYLIST)
    Why the sudden damage to my hair? Three factors. Well, four, actually. Texas heat, hot yoga and daughter #2 all contributed to the overall dryness of my head full of hair. But as a result of the addition of my littlest one I "cheated" on my longtime hair stylist for about a year and had a girl coming to my home for cuts and color. It was fast, easy and (curiously) less expensive than the salon. Did I mention she offered to do this at my home? I was hooked on the idea of convenience with a newborn in my house.

    As a decade-long Aveda color user, the switch to traditional harsh bleaching techniques took its toll. Quickly. My long hair became brittle, broken and damaged. I was saving time and money while ruining my mane. Turns out those plant-based coloring techniques Aveda built its reputation on are more crucial to hair health than I imagined.

    My point? Stay loyal to what (and who) works in your life. If you are in a committed relationship with a stylist and a brand and it works for you, stay the course.

In many ways, this hair care failure is what led me to a more long-term view of hair health and necessary upgrades. The simple shift in shampoo & conditioner resulting in a major change in smoothness and scalp health. The tools? Painful investments, but realistically they were purchases I'd been putting off for many years. The new me has a new appreciation for heat styling, weekly masks and (yes) essentials like silk pillowcases.

My message? Bouncy, glossy, Victoria's Secret fashion show hair can be yours - even without a Ken Paves or Jen Atkin to tame your mane (although that helps). With the right care and a few cool tools you too can have the tousled curls of your dreams and enough shine to stop passers by in their tracks. You can do it. I believe in you!

Beauty: Getting Fresh-Faced & Fabulous...

I'm one of those late night readers that saves every article on flawless French girl skin and dermatologist recommended products. I research brands and ingredients as though my life depended upon it. You can bet that before my fingers hit "place order" on a new product I have done ample investigation, read dozens of reviews and likely requested a sample at the nearest beauty counter. While I'm fiercely loyal to a few products, your skin care needs do evolve and new technologies do emerge.

Lately my complexion has been displaying that end-of-season "blah" look and could use a little zhuzh to revive its vitality. Nothing crazy, just a little AHA action to gently slough off those dull summer cells without harsh scrubbing and a high quality multi-tasking moisturizer to bring vibrancy back to lackluster skin. Add in a hydrating booster and a few other tried and true tricks and this so-so skin should be back on track and ready to more radiantly exude that no-makeup necessary Lily Aldridge glow.

Here's what I'm absolutely loving right now to give my skin a much needed seasonal boost...

1. CHANEL Le Weekend // 2. Vinoperfect Radiance Serum // 4. PTR Retinol Fusion PM Serum // 5. Omorovicza Rejuvenating Night Cream

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.  

Shopping: Fall Footwear at Its Finest...

Wowza! Is anyone else really loving the escapism of fall footwear? Between the natural disasters & the man-made calamities, I desperately needed a trip to the Neiman Marcus shoe department. This always on point resource of luxe goodness did not disappoint in the flights of fancy department. Fur trimmed heels? Check. Jacquard & ribbon adorned sandals? Double check. Dusty rose velvet slides with a gorgeously huge knot on the front? Sign me up. Gucci Marmont suede mules with a stacked block heel... in rosy pink? I am so feeling you, queen. A 4-inch stiletto with a massive embroidered butterfly on the back? Yes, please. Fanciful shoes... you are giving me life right now. Thank you.

If you also need a break from the news and a bit of fashion brilliance to remind you that life is indeed great, miraculous and amazing, I've got six pretty pairs for you to ogle at below. xoxo!

SHOP THE SEASON'S FANCIFUL FOOTWEAR

Celebrity Living: Raving About Radziwill's Redecorated NYC Retreat...

Carole Radziwill Living Room via Architectural Digest
Carole Radziwill at home via Architectural Digest

Carole Radziwill's style has always intrigued me. From her pedigreed sofa (given to her by Lee Radziwill, mother-in-law, tastemaker and sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) to her sleek fashion choices, she has been low-key upstaging all of us for years. Now that AD has stepped into her newly redone SoHo duplex and shared their findings via a glamorous magazine spread, it's safe to say the secret is out. Radzi is flat out fabulous and has firmly stepped into her role as style icon.

Carole: "I’m the girl who is going to go home, shut her door, and be in solitude, surrounded by beautiful things"

Me: "Same, honey. Same."

What I love about this space is how decadently feminine it is. Touchable velvets, pale blues, Mongolian wool accents, dusty pink tufted headboard, silk panel drapes from floor to marvelously high (silver-leafed) ceiling. Carole is not kidding around here. The designer we can credit for this amazing space is John Bossard, whom she met at a party in Aspen (have to love those fortuitous celebrity run-ins, right?). Having studied her space before, I am smitten by the glorious transformation he achieved. She always had a stylish apartment, but now it seems more voluminous, more luminous and the type of elegant private retreat you'd be hard pressed to ever want to leave.

Naturally, I'm completely obsessed with the "jewel box" effect John achieved and so happy Carole let him have the freedom to fully express his fantastic creative vision. Confession: Before this piece in AD I'd never heard of John, but the space speaks for itself. His work is easily on par with Melanie Turner (whom I adore!) and his use of color & texture make me think of Suzanne Kasler. I am completely in love with the "grown up" femininity of the design. And for a self-described homebody like Carole, this must be pure heaven to call home.

WANT TO TOUR HER CLOSET? STEP INSIDE...

{Note the funny mention of the design matching her cat, Baby. Love!}

LOVE THIS VIBE? SHOP THE RADZI INSPIRED GLAMOUR

What do you love about the space?  Comment below! xoxo

Crushing On: Dallas Shaw Serves Up Boho Chic Style in Nashville

A few months ago illustrator extraordinaire Dallas Shaw announced a 2017 initiative to feature artisan home goods in a Nashville space. A longtime fan of her work and her style, I jumped at the chance to have a few pieces from my collection featured in this fun project. If you pop over to her blog today you'll see the Claire pillow & Dauphine Stool featured in her luminous Tennessee aerie. Her beautifully lit space looks like the ideal space to unwind & it's so fun to see the pieces styled with her sexy boho-chic vibe. Much love to Dallas & her team for including my work in the project! xoxo!

{pix property of DallasShaw.com + Dallas Shaw Instagram}

SHOP THE POST

Current Obsessions: A Roundup of My Latest Fashion Cravings...

Current Obsessions: My Latest Fashion Cravings

Ahhhhhh... can you feel it? Change is in the air. The sun may be scorching by I assure you there's a new season, a new mood and a new vibe sweeping in soon. And, I am READY for it. But first, I need to retool my wardrobe and lock in a few key pieces to transition me through the last days of summer & sweep me gracefully into the next month or so.

Here's what I'm eager to add to the fashion mix: a killer cross-body bag I'm long overdue in adding to my wardrobe, a multi-functional black dress that's just as ideal for a laid back day out shopping as it is for dinner (with the right shoes, of course!), a super feminine stackable ring set I am OBSESSED with a hint of new balm for the lips because they need post-summer repair and a fresh pair of Jackie O-worthy sunglasses because the Texas sun is unforgiving regardless of the season.

SHOP THE POST

Luxe Accommodations: Tropical Luxe on Vietnam's South Coast

Isn't this positively dreamy? If Phu Quoc, Vietnam was not on your list of magnificent vacation destinations, it will be now. Between the towering palms lining the sandy shores and the luxurious resort that is the JW Marriott Emerald Bay designed by famed architect Bill Bensley, this is a 5-star slice of tropical heaven on earth.

If Bensley is new to you, he's part disruptor, part natural conservationist and pure genius. Known for designing incredibly opulent properties in the midst of glorious natural surroundings, his team embraces the glory beauty of the environment. Designing everything to look like it's always been there and was meant to exist in that space. Like George Clooney, his unique properties continue looking better with age and somehow never feel outdated. If you need more proof of his awesomeness (and edgy sense of humor) I highly suggest his Instagram account.

But back to this particular resort... Tucked away on Vietnam's south coast, this exclusive seaside property offers 244 opulent rooms & suites boasting unrivaled views of the pristine Phu Quoc beach. Discovered via Gypsee Travel, (as these epic spots so often are!) this is easily one of the most selfie-worthy properties I've seen in a while. Pro tip: add a drone to your travel must-have's as you'll want aerial shots of yourself in the magnificent landscape.

As this has now been added to my "must do" list, here's what I'd pack if I were leaving for Phu Quoc today (in addition to a hardworking UV sunscreen mist)...

Perspective: Success + Unrelenting Focus = Match Made in Heaven

this is the path to success
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life... think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.
— Swami Vivekananda

This quote is one of my favorites. The passion, intensity and complete commitment to your goals is so intertwined with your chances of true success. Imagine a would-be winemaker with only a casual interest in grapes. It's easy to see that the deck would be stacked against he or she ever bottling an award-winning vintage from a vineyard of their own.

While this example might be obvious, many of us are dabbling at success rather than going all in on our pursuits. Longtime reader know I love being "all in" because it means that failure is NOT optional for you. It means you are ONLY looking at a successful outcome. It means you won't entertain Plan B. It means you have passion in your heart, a sparkle in your eyes and fire in your veins as you pursue your goals.

What goals and aspirations are you tied and tethered to? What are you obsessing over day and night? What vision are you clinging to? Can you feel it? Can you taste it? Can you SEE it? Remember, faith is believing in things unseen. Full, flat-out belief in things that have not yet happened. Harness the power of your mind and focus all of your thoughts, all of your energies on succeeding at something very specific . Be as detailed as you can and (you know what's coming) write it down!

Yes, grab that pretty notebook and flesh out that idea in as much detail as you can imagine. Who will you be when this dreamy goal finally happens? What would he or she wear? How will you walk? How will you feel? What will your emotional state be when this happens? Will you be radiant? Confident? Happy? Calm? Will you be energetic or relieved? Can you feel that mood? Can you imagine that inner emotion?

Here's the thing... once you can "feel" the inner emotions of "you" on the other side of achievement, you're halfway there! Truly. So tap into those feelings and visualize with your heart and not your head. And focus on it daily, nightly, always. And then... let the vision of achievement become such an integral part of you that you have no option other than allow it to become your reality. THIS... is the path to success.

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Extraordinary Journeys: Escape to a Billionaire's Private Paradise on Necker Island...

I've known of Richard Branson's island paradise for years, but these days I'm thinking of it more and more. An isolated island paradise, this unspoiled sandy piece of property in the British Virgin Islands beckons all who make the journey. Pristine beaches, attentive staff and a host of activities are sure to please every style of vacationer. Are you a lounge in the shade kind variety or does the thrill of an open-top underwater speed craft (known as the Necker Nymph) satisfy you? Both extremes will be completely sated at Necker's uber private resort. 

Falling in the category of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, Necker Island is best reserved for momentous occasions. Think: exotic wedding locale, the reward for taking your company IPO, celebrating a major anniversary or achievement.

Why is Necker so highly esteemed when so many islands dot the ocean landscape? First, you aren't just on an island. You are on a privately owned island that is Sir Richard Branson's personal oasis. Rather than keep it to himself, he shares it (for a fee) with all who dream to join him in his tropical paradise. 

So... now the pressing question. Just how much does the rare privilege cost? From $28,000/week (yes, you read that right) you and your amore can rent a suite. From $65k per night (yes, per night) you and your posse can have the entire island to yourselves. Imagine, you and all of your favorite faces enjoying this idyllic sandy Caribbean paradise together for the vacation of a lifetime. So very #richkidsofinstagram of you. 

So.... how do you go? Right here. And of course, I'm helping you pack. Hint: bathing suits and sunscreen aplenty and scarcely anything else save for a dusting of bronzer and perhaps your FitBit bracelet to see how much activity you enjoy have during your stay. 

WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR BILLIONAIRE ESCAPE





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





Dreamy Spaces: Tranquility Along The Beach...

I've been a fan of Ohara Davies-Gaetano for a while now. As it turns out, she shares time between Crorona del Mar, San Fran and (my home) Dallas. This project features the ceiling detail that initially brought my attention to Ohara's work. 

Her signature style in a heady mix of whitewashed glamour and classic refinement - and I cannot get enough of it! This young designer has mastered a finished look that is aged, layered and well-traveled without veering too deeply into the overly-patina'd arena. Growing up in a family of artist certainly aided her in the process of honing her appreciation for beautiful things. 

For it, it's her lushly layered spaces, generous use of natural materials and careful selection of materials that I appreciate. There's a nice balance of aged finishes with modern details. It's a tug of war between layered designs and tightly edited spaces. I love this specific project, and it beautifully reflects the beachy scenes just beyond the windows. There's a dreamy quality to it while still feeling quite livable and inviting. 

SHOP THE TRANQUIL LOOK




Perspective: What You Focus On Expands...

Life holds a few simple truths. One is that what you dwell upon, what you focus on, what you think about grows. You'll get MORE of that in your life. This is why you must guard your mind and control that mass between your ears. Your thoughts truly become things.

This is one of the many reasons why I seek out beautiful things, high quality that make me happy. I seek out thought leaders that speak on personal growth and achievement. I seek out others who lift me up and avoid those who strive to pull us down.

What are you focused on this year, friends? Take some time to be strategic with your intentions. Surround yourself with joyful people, uplifting people, happy people. Move towards exactly what you want and make bold moves away from that which no longer serves you. Seek out joy. Seek out growth. Seek out expansion. Seek out beauty. Seek out life enhancing experiences. Seek out simple things that bring a big smile to your soul. What you focus on expands... so focus on GREAT things.

Have a terrific week, everyone!

MY WEEKLY OBSESSIONS

Current Obsession: A Scintillating Scent as Signature Fragrance...

It will come as no surprise to hear I am incredibly selective. Give me an opportunity to invest in a nice handbag and I'll ask to line five identical bags up to choose the one I deem to be perfect. Yes, I'm that person. So taking a risk and purchasing a new fragrance online is basically my version of gambling. Not one with a trained nose, how could I know what notes of "Pink Pepper, Pink Grapefruit, Sicilian Lemon, Sparkling Pear, Raspberry, Lychee and Vetiver" create? I honestly had no idea, but it sounded lively and yummy. But one look at the faceted bottle and a quick read of the "awww!" inducing love story and I was hooked. Gift card redeemed. Bottle ordered. I was in. All in.

Today, this impossibly pretty jewel-shaped bottle arrived. To tell you it smells divine is to say the ocean is wet. This, to me, is wild happiness embodied in a perfume. It is light, cheerful, sexy and sophisticated. Yet somehow completely luxe and instantly wearable. Plus, look at that bottle!!! This was a "gamble" that absolutely paid off.

To give you a sense of my fragrance preferences, I prefer them bright rather than sultry. I am repelled by powdery finishes. Miss Dior Absolutely Blooming comes to mind as a favorite. Omorovicza Bagatelle de Gabrielle is another absolute winner. Love, Relentlessly falls into the "wow, what are you wearing?" category of fragrances that will garner genuine compliments from friends and strangers alike.

My father wrote this note to my mother, which he ran in the newspaper and signed “Love, Relentless.” My parents were the most romantic couple I have ever known. This fragrance is inspired by their love story.
— Tory Burch

I cannot wait to wear this lovely acquisition every single day for the foreseeable future. Sheets shall also be spritzed with it (confession: already happened!). I love it that much. Perhaps a body cream of the same intoxicating scent will be available soon. (Tory, if you're reading this, that's an urgent request) Divine indeed.

MY CURRENT SIGNATURE SCENTS

Beauty: Silk Pillowcases, the Jen Atkin-Endorsed Luxury You Need Immediately...

It's no secret that lying down is a fresh blowout's sworn enemy. To combat this, many a girl has invested in Egyptian cotton sateen sheets & pillowcases to extend the life of her 'do. What you may not know is that those high thread count cotton sheets also leech hydration from your skin and your hair while you get your beauty sleep. Yes, the slumber you so crave is actually drying out your hair and leaving your pretty skin parched. The fix is easy and wonderful, but does come at a small price.

Silk pillowcases. I've been a fan of Slip for a while and have worn silk eye masks for about a decade now (don't judge, it's the Zsa Zsa Gabor in me) and can tell you they absolutely make a difference. Especially when paired together. Hair glides effortlessly over the surface of the pillowcase and skin unharmed during sleep. Effective immediately, famed celebrity hair guru Jen Atkin is brand ambassador for the brand Slip, maker of luxurious silk pillowcases and eye masks in a range of stunningly subtle colors. This brilliant pairing is genius, as it now thrusts this boutique brand to the forefront of our cultural obsession with silken tresses and age-defying skin care.

If you've not seen Slip mentioned here or in other places, it is a growing Australian line of silk goods created with proprietary fibers. Beauty editors everywhere have fallen for their high quality and soft sorbet-like color range (think blushy pink and creamy vanilla) that fits in with anyone's decor.

Why Atkin? She's the go-to tress tamer du jour for the Kardashians, Jessica Alba and many other Hollywood stars, Her debut hair care line OUAI has won acclaim from customers and critics alike.

According to the hair expert herself...

I try to create solutions to women’s problems,. What I’ve noticed the most is that women want to take care of themselves and are focused on overall health.

Hairstyles are not going to go back to complication. Healthy, long shiny hair is coming back. I’m teaching women to find something in their day to help with their hair health.
— Jen Atkin

Bottom line, if Jen Atkin tells us to stop sleeping on cotton once and for all, it's time to listen and obey. Why lovingly care for skin and hair by day and cause (avoidable and unnecessary) damage by night? Here's what I'm loving form Slip right now...

SHOP MY SLIP & OUAI FAVORITES

Why black, you ask? Simple: you'll never accidentally put it in the laundry with your other linens. Pink for the same reason. I feel the difference in color will prolong the life of your investment as you will see the pillowcase (or mask) as unique and special. They also come in creamy white, caramel and charcoal.

I love the idea of a black mask for optimal light blocking why trying to sleep in and pink for the pillowcase for the reasons stated above. It's pretty, makes its presence known and you'll never accidentally leave it behind at the hotel while on vacation.

Which colors would you choose? Shop Net-a-Porter, Sephora, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom & Anthropologie and say bye bye to creased skin and bed head for good an wake up to your gorgeous, silky haired self.

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Dreamy Spaces: Parisian Luxe in the Hollywood Hills...

This was one of those moments when I discovered the home that belongs to the master closet seen above. I've pinned and repinned that closet many times over the years, each time making a private promise to myself to achieve such closet perfection in my life. Yesterday I discovered the rest of the home on Luxe magazines's site.

Designed by Smith Firestone Associates, this incredible Hollywood Hills home captures the elegance and glamour of a refined Paris estate white embracing California's easy, breezy vibe. The living room may lean toward the formal end of the spectrum with its shimmering velvet fabrics and lustrous metallic finishes, but the rest of the home is pure relaxed elegance. It will come as no surprise to you regular readers that I love it! 

And that dreamy closet is the brainchild of none other that the esteemed Lisa Adams of LA Closet Design - another all-star in my book. {All photographs via Luxe & SFA.}

GET THE LOOK: RELAXED LUXE PARISIAN DINING