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.


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! 


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.
    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.
    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. 
    I know my key brands and am always adding a few more trusted labels to the mix (as others are shuffled out).
    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. 
    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...





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'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! 



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...


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: 


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. 


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...



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. 

Holiday Glamour: Deck the Halls & Trim the Trees...

Although Instagram would say otherwise, I know I'm not alone when I say I have not decorated for the holidays yet. Aside from a fabulous garland I laid atop the mantle last night (I caved, okay?) we've neither acquired nor trimmed a tree. But... thankfully Horchow has a sweet 30% off holiday decor situation in the works which means that you and I can deck the halls in (aptly discounted) style. 

What do I suggest? One is predictable: Kim Seybert for the win, baby! Her holiday decor is simply unmatched. There's simply no substitute. You can stop looking, Kim has all the jeweled stockings and ornate skirts you could dream of having. 

Also "winning" in my book is Horchow's own Sugarplum Chic collection. Absolutely stunning, and the gilded organic elements tie in nicely with Kim's luxe decorative accessories. 

Aside from the opulence of these pieces, I like to keep my holiday decor simple. A few tips: 

Choose a color palette and stick to it. 
Gold or silver, blue or red. Choose a color or color combo and rock it out everywhere. I gravitate towards warmer tones like gold and plum with clear lights. I like tossing in accents of aqua to liven up the mix (and tie in my home decor). 

Carry the holidays through the home.
Nothing livens up a guest bath like a bowl of ornaments or a boxwood wreath hanging on the mirror. It can be simple, but adding a touch of holiday decor to even the smallest of public spaces is a thoughtful touch. 

Don't forget the door.
Ahhhh, wreaths. While I applaud those of you who can muster up seasonal decor for the door all year long, the Christmas season is when my front door wears its golden crown. Measure your door and don't be shy about size. I like my wreaths to be lush and large. Those over-the-door holders can be convenient here if nails or hooks are not an option, just be sure to add felt cushions to protect your door from damage. 

Add some aromatic elements. 
You have (at least) five senses. This is the time to tantalize your olfactory receptors with fragrant candles or live garland. We used to love grabbing a handful of live, lush garland at the tree tents and placing it on sideboards and mantles. The smell instantly puts you in the holiday spirit. Now that my littlest is seemingly allergic to everything I stick to tried and true holiday fragrances like Nest's Pumpkin Chai candle and (new favorite) Nest's Japanese Black Currant. Both lend an air of intoxicating cheer to the atmosphere. 

Grand or small, the time to get those decorations planned and ordered (or at the very least unpacked) is now. December has crept in upon us quietly and is begging us to take note. Now, head on over to Horchow and snag your holiday glamour at a festive price. Your barren mantle will thank you! 

Destinations: A Sleek Escape to Singapore...

All I can say over this hotel is a mouth agape WOW. Singapore is one of those amazing places I simply can't wait to visit. The celebration of the city-state's superrich new money society was widely celebrated in Crazy Rich Asians (a must-read, by the way) and enlightened many of us to the wonders of this hot spot on the tip of the Malay peninsula. Singapore is a wondrous land of business deals and bank accounts only barely eclipsed by the height of the insane height of the shining downtown skyscrapers. 

Where to stay? The Fullerton Bay Hotel looks amazing in every respect, although the Marina Bay Sands boasts the infinity pool that is much the obsession of travelers, pinners and thrill-seekers everywhere. Fullerton shines like a polished gem in the Marina Bay district. A sparkling steel creation with opulent interiors worthy of adoration, it actually reads "low key" compared to its more ostentatious neighbors. Just look at those well-appointed rooms, plush velvet sofas and iridescent textural walls. As a design fan I assure you, this is one swanky place to rest your weary shopping-fatigued feet.

Speaking of shopping... what to wear, what to wear in Singapore, you ask? I'm so glad you inquired. Let's pack a make-believe suitcase. I love to pack for comfort and style. A black jumpsuit is a standby I am grateful for constantly. It takes you from airport to sky bar without skipping a beat. Wear a crossbody bag for convenience and security and by all means, don't be shy about wearing flats. Especially if you'll be checking out the sights, a comfy pair of shoes (especially of the studded variety) will look far more chic than you hobbling through the lobby on your blistered feet.  

Along those lines, I love to pack away a neutral makeup set that has a bit of everything in one compact palette. Laura Mercier always turns it out with her amazing sets. The compact size makes it easy to freshen up post-landing. Spritz on some of your favorite exotic fragrance to add to the "we're just a 85 miles north of the equator" vibe and you're all set. Sunglasses, of course, are a must. My favorite are all oversized and exude an effortless air of mystery while still protecting you letting your jet lag show. Fine luggage: chic. Bags under eyes: not so chic. 

For the flight itself, don't skip wrapping a luxe scarf around your neck for warmth and comfort. Once you've headed out for dinner & drinks, switch it out for a glam bib necklace. Also post-flight: Omorovicza makes the most amazing facial mist. Somehow, some way this delicately fragranced mist brings tired skin back to life. In addition to the skin plumping qualities, the aromatic wonders of this Hungarian spray are almost magical. Toss a travel kit into your tote for a pre-landing zhush session. 

Rimowa Topas Titanium Multiwheel Weekender // Rachel Pally Heathcliff Jersey Jumpsuit // See by Chloe Beki Tote // Saint Laurent Cross Body Monogram Bag // Valentino Rockstud Flats // Tory Burch Leopard Scarf // Kate Spade Statement Necklace // Chloe "Marcie" Oversized Glasses // Byredo Baudeliare Eau de Parfum // Omorocicza Travel Essentials Kit // Laura Mercier "Nude" Limited Edition Set

Now... on to the business of what to do in this lively environment? Try the surprisingly fun hawker food markets for anything you can dream of dining (and many things you'd never have imagined). Indulge in a night safari at the zoo. Shopping is almost a natural sport, of course. But if Instagram is to be believed (and of course, it is) the Singaporean experience is all about the rooftop. Swimming, dining, sipping cocktails and taking in the panoramic views from any of the city's many cloud kissing buildings. Don't miss your chance to take the elevator to the top and enjoy the sunset (or sunrise as it may be) from your choice of venues. 

So... do dish my traveling friends! Have you been to Singapore? What spots do you suggest? Is it all business or is it actually a fun tourist destination. Will there be more to it than just taking a luxe cab ride to a strand of high end boutiques and swimming in an infinity edge pool? Do tell, do tell! 

Interviews: William T. Baker on Designing Exceptional Residences for Exceptional Clients...

William T. Baker

We've all had the experience of driving into a community and encountering a stunning house that takes our breath away. The type of residence that makes us pause to quietly wonder.. Who precisely lives there? What type of fabulous fetes do they host - and for whom? What do they do for a living? And (if you're even one bit like me) what fabulous fashion investments are safely stored in the master closet? Oh, if walls (and Chanel bags) could talk!

We know these magnificent homes. Fellow Dallas friends can agree these are the noteworthy addresses embossed on invites for significant holiday parties, charity events or designer show houses. Once you've stepped inside one, life can never - ever - be the same. 

While we may daydream about the fabulous lives of the inhabitants (and one day intend to be one ourselves), I happen to know someone who designs such estates. The esteemed William T. Baker. This award-winning residential designer will be familiar to many of you in the interior design industry. He's been featured in glossy publications such Veranda, Arch Digest, Elle Decor, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and many others. I've written about his work here numerous times (see here & here) and have always admired his impeccable style. His homes are often decorated by such noted talents as Suzanne Kasler & Melanie Turner - two of my favorite interior designers.

Let's step inside the the mind of the man responsible for designing the private homes of influential citizens, successful corporate titans and successful entrepreneurs all over the globe. In celebration of his latest book, Great American Homes Volume III, I've take a moment to interview the talented Mr. Baker to learn more about the creation of these dreamy residences and what evolution he's noticing in the market.

Here's what he had to say...

Tell us what excites you most about the release of Great American Homes Volume III.
Having the opportunity to design families' dream homes is such a privilege! I am excited to share some of these incredible homes with the public.  These homes represent the finest in both comfortable living as well as residential architecture that will stand the test of time.  The reader will find that the book is illustrated with the floor plan for each home as well as the landscape plan. Together with the interior photographs , a reader can form a good impression of the total project. A careful study of the plans will reveal the continuing evolution of the American house plan.   

What project within the book do you feel will surprise readers & fans the most?
One of the hallmarks of my firm's work is that we are adept at designing homes in a number of vernacular styles. While some firms have a single trademark look, we pride ourselves in being able to "speak" many architectural languages. The readers will find a wide variety of homes from grand estates to more simple shake style homes.

Why is that? What makes that residence stand out from the others? A departure in style? An unusual location?
One of the reasons people love to follow my work is that there is an careful handling of the architectural scale and proportions. The details are thoughtfully considered and executed.  Our houses definitely set high standard for their communities and become cherished architectural treasures in the years ahead.   

Our expectations of “home” evolve over time. What changes are you seeing lately in terms of features your clients are requesting in their homes?
The trend toward more casual living is continuing to the point that we are seeing the formal dining room evolving into a more open room located toward the rear of the house rather than being located on the front as is traditionally the case. We are also seeing the wine function moving upstairs from he basement so that it is now a feature wall in the butler's pantry or even the dining room itself. Master closets continue to expand and the in the master bath we are receiving see requests for his and her toilet compartments or even his and her baths.

For busy professionals, we often hear of the need for a separate exit from the master suite so the person with an early schedule can exit without disturbing their sleeping partner.  We are also seeing an amazing number of requests for indoor sport courts. These require 20' ceilings and are usually located below ground so they are major structures.
Your ability to personalize your projects to accommodate the unique collections or preferences of your clients has always impressed me. From statement-making leaded glass windows to antique French paneled walls, I love seeing spaces with treasured art pieces infused into the architecture of the home. Is there an aspect of a project featured in Great American Homes III that stands out for your creative collaboration efforts with the owners? Tell us about that project. 
The cover house certainly comes to mind as that was a wonderful collaboration between myself and the owner. The inspiration was a house in France that the owner knew and thus began a journey to create a limestone clad house with overtones from the original. The floor plan was designed around a major acquisition of a stained glass window for the paneled library. The axis of the central hallway allows the window to be seen from the owner's chair in the dining room. Furthermore, the great room is double height and we broke up the volume with banding and paneling that gives the room scale. 

These large rooms often feel cavernous but with the architecture of the paneled walls, this room feels comfortable whether its two or two hundred people using it. Lastly, we wanted the family room off the kitchen to have dramatic architecture so we designed it with a coffer barrel ceiling.  It took the trim carpenters weeks to build it out! But as the reader will see, the effect is wonderful. 

And finally, what can we expect next from William T. Baker & Associates?
Most people think of me as a designer of grand estates. But I have designed a number of resort homes at various coastal resorts, lakes, and mountain retreats. I think it would be fun to create a book featuring some of these amazing homes from around the country. 

 William T. Baker

William T. Baker


In Manhattan? Meet Mr. Baker this Wednesday (November 29, 2017) from 6 to 8 pm at Rizzoli Bookstore on Broadway where he'll be signing copies of Great American Homes Volume III and participating in a panel discussion with Suzanne Kasler and Alec Michaelides for further exploration of the spectacular residences in this book and the families who call them home.

Beauty: Give Your Skin that Coveted Supermodel Glow...

 {image via  Pinterest }

{image via Pinterest}

When it comes to how I feel about makeup, it begins with great skin, focus on eyes & eyebrows and a somewhat glossy nude-pink lip. While great genetics will take you far, few of us are rocking supermodel genes (or jeans, for that matter). But with a little know how, some experimentation and honed skills, you too can have a face that radiates that ethereal glow we've all come to associate with modern beauty. 

First: water. Sorry girls. There's no getting around this foundational aspect of great skin. DRINK UP. If you don't have a water filter, get one to eliminate some of the toxins and microbial particles in your tap water. Better yet, add some lemon. Trust: it does a body (and a face) good. 

But let's talk products. There are definitely some tips and tricks I can share from my ample experimentation and my quest to find the very best. Let's begin with a fresh face, shall we? Bliss  Youth as We Know It Anti-Aging Cleanser was my go-to for years and CeraVe is an excellent (and super inexpensive) option. These days, however, it's hard to resist the siren call of Kate Somerville's Cleansing Milk. "WOW" is my response to this amazing cleanser. It is packed with active ingredients and leaves my skin soft & prepped for a day of looking gorgeous. That pump dispenser keeps things bacteria free, too. I was told by my Kate Somerville guru that it was developed for more mature ladies, but I don't care. My skin loves this stuff and it smells dreamy. It's worth every sulfate-free penny. 

Next, grab a serum. Ole Henricksen Truth Serum wins those magazine beauty awards every year for good reason. It isn't sticky, doesn't leave you "wet" and somehow magically makes you better looking. Loaded with Vitamin C, used daily it will indeed generate a glowing complexion and a more firm face. I especially love the "super sized" option as it's a great value. 

Finally, hydrate. I'm a huge Prevage by Elizabeth Arden fan. I actually use the body moisturizer on my face and décolletage (it just works for me) and love, love, love the way it sinks right into my skin and leaves that beautifully hydrated finish. I actually mix it with my Clarins UV Plus before applying to face, neck and shoulder area. Prevention truly is the best cure, after all. 

Wait half a beat for the moisturizer to sink in most of the way (but not quite completely dried) then apply Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. My go-to color is Nude, which is pretty spot on for my skin tone. They offer a wide range of shades for girls of every color of the rainbow. (Tip: Stick to the original, as I do not care for the illuminating or oil-free versions.) Apply a thin layer beginning in the center of your face and work outwards. Dot extra on any troublesome areas (like around the nose or apples of cheeks) and stand back to appreciate your dewy glow. Done right, this will result in that perfect "no makeup" look you crave but don't have the nerve to actually try. I prefer a light-to-medium coverage and appreciate that this product is NEVER caked or thick. My skin can breathe and it looks and feels healthy.

My super secret weapon? Step a little closer to the screen... wait for it... wait for it...  Laura Mercier Mineral Illuminating Loose Powder. This is one beauty product that changed my look from so-so to boom-boom-pow. Used sparingly with one of these brushes in areas of the face you would normally apply bronzer to it will produce an "I just jetted back from Ibiza" glow that doesn't look overdone. In summer I use more to achieve that golden glow, but this is one product I'm happy to incorporate all year long. Brush just below cheekbones, up to temples and lightly dust on forehead, nose and chin. It comes in two shades: starlight and candlelight. I prefer the latter, as it is warmer and less yellow. My makeup artist friend and Nordstrom also emphasizes that it is the more universally flattering of the two. Next, use NARS Orgasm (aka the only blush you'll ever need) on apples of your cheeks and call it a day. Voilà! You, are Gisele Bundchen. 

If I can offer one final tip it would be to use a gentle exfoliator. I love to use Clarins Gentle Exfoliating One Step Cleanser at night for keeping skin fresh and smooth. This amazing product offers the perfect doze of skin buffing goodness to keep your skin ready to be radiant again tomorrow. Can't imagine living without this great find! 

1. Kate Somerville Cleansing Milk // 2. Ole Henricksen Truth Serum // 3. Prevage by Elizabeth Arden // 4. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer // 5. Laura Mercier Mineral Illuminating Loose Powder

This step by step guide is only for skin. I'll touch upon eyes in a subsequent post but this will get you started. The result of the products and application methods above will not only give your skin a temporary glow, it will actually protect and repair your beautiful face. The cleansing milk is packed with active skin-perfecting active ingredients, the moisturizer is loaded with antioxidants, the SPF is one of the best on the market, the serum will stimulate collagen production and the tinted moisturizer contains a bit of sun protection as well. These are top notch products at reasonable prices. My goal is to go beyond a temporary healthy glow resulting from clever makeup tricks. I'm striving to actually look radiant with my makeup off and treat my skin with the care it deserves. I suspect you are too.

Word to the wise: It's the only face you'll ever have, so treat yours lovingly and with respect.  And by all means keep drinking that filtered water, girls! It might just be the fountain of youth you've been looking for all these years. 


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.


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


  • 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.)


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. 


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?


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! 


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.

    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.
    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.)
    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.  
    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.
    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.
    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!