Tag Archives: spring

Beauty Mish-Mash

I can’t even call this  post a grab-bag as I usually do because it’s lacking in any organization whatsoever, so please excuse my haphazardness, it’s been a hectic week!

The royal wedding was almost a week ago now so I’m a little late to the party, but how pretty was Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, huh? I wasn’t really in to all the royal wedding buzz, but it was fun to look at the pictures and I thought she looked really beautiful and classic in her Alexander McQueen gown.

I read that the lace on her dress was hand-appliqued by the Royal School of Needlework and held representations of symbols from the British Isles including rose (England), thistle (Scotland), daffodil (Wales) and shamrock (Ireland). I read that the craftspeople who prepared the lace had to wash their hands like every 30 minutes to keep it as white as possible—sheesh, I hope they were paid well!


I loved the cute angora sweater Kate—excuse me, Catherine wore over her second dress which she changed into for the dinner/reception celebration. Even though these dresses are both fairly simple, it’s the way they fit her so well that make them exceptional. Fit is so important, it can make a beautiful dress look awful and a mediocre dress look fantastic.

Some good news and bad news for you today. The good news is that the NYC Rebecca Minkoff sample sale is here again! The bad news is that it comes at a time when I am completely broke—but maybe you’re not, so it’s double good news for you! In that case you should definitely check it out because her bags are unique and beautiful. At this sale most of her bags will be up to half-off their list price and you can’t beat that.

Here is a pic of the cherry tree that sits in my window, I’m so glad it has finally blossomed. It took forever this year but it is a sign I always wait for to confirm that spring has arrived. Aren’t they the prettiest trees?

It’s Cinco de Mayo, celebrate Mexican culture with tasty food like guacamole and get out an enjoy this beautiful day!

Don’t forget to check out Beauty in the Movies tomorrow!

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Beauty in the Movies: Enchanted April

So far this April has been cold and dreary, but with the hope of warmer weather to come I present you with this week’s Movie, Enchanted April.

Based on Elizabeth von Arnim’s novel The Enchanted April, this 1992 film is the story of two English women who, despite being married, are very much alone in their lives. When Lottie Wilkins (Josie Lawrence) discovers an ad in the paper for the rental of a wisteria covered castle in Italy, she sees a kindred spirit in Rose Arbuthnot (Miranda Richardson) and convinces her to rent out the castle with her for the month of April.

Realizing they can’t afford the rental alone, Rose and Lottie take out their own advertisement in the paper and soon find themselves splitting the vacation spot with the stunning and elegant Lady Caroline Dester (Polly Walker), and the stuffy, aged Mrs. Fisher (Joan Plowright).

All four women are trying to escape from something, for Lottie and Rose it’s their loveless marriages, for Caroline it’s the groping, fawning men of society, and for Mrs. Fisher it’s a life lived in the shadow of those long since dead. The minute the women arrive at the castle of San Salvatore a change begins to take effect on each of them. There is magic in the April air and it seems even cranky old Mrs. Fisher is not immune to the changes it brings.

Enchanted April is a quiet, slow, utterly gorgeous film. When I say “slow” I don’t mean boring, but languid and serene. The sunlit Italian coast is transformative for the characters, but also for the viewer as the shots linger on beautiful scenery that will make you wish for a sunny escape of your own.

What is so refreshing about the plot of Enchanted April is the lack of drama. So many films are filled with twists and catastrophes, but the surprise in this film is the lack of both. It’s not plot that drives this story but the inner monologues of the characters. We are brought directly into each woman’s thoughts with the exception of Lottie, who is the true voice of the whole story. She has a sense about the future of her friend’s lives and an understanding of the magical effect the castle has on them.

I find Lady Caroline an especially interesting character. She is a woman who has always been judged on her beauty alone, which leaves her incredibly frustrated and bored with the life she is trying to escape. At the same time when she is faced with a man who cannot appreciate her beauty, she finds herself distraught and is left questioning her true self.

I don’t have to mention how incredible the costumes, acting, and art direction in this film are, but I just can’t help myself because they’re all so well done. The costume designer, Sheena Napier received an Oscar nomination for her work, as did Joan Plowright for best actress in a supporting role. The movie was shot in the actual Italian castle where the author wrote the novel, which lends an air of authenticity to the story as well.


If you’re feeling blue, desperate for an escape, or just sick of the cold weather, Enchanted April is an excellent film to lift your spirits. It’s uplifting but not overly saccharine and romantic while still retaining a certain amount of surprise. It may be a simple story but it’s complex in emotion and so astonishingly beautiful that you may find yourself renewed just from watching it.

One Vintage vintage dress
2,100 GBP – net-a-porter.com

Alberta Ferretti wrap dress
$610 – anastasiaboutique.com

Vintage dress
520 GBP – mysugarland.co.uk

Green dress
520 GBP – mysugarland.co.uk

See by Chloe chiffon maxi dress
$520 – net-a-porter.com

See by Chloe empire dress
329 GBP – farfetch.com

T by Alexander Wang long dress
$175 – editnewyork.com

Embroidered blouse
atelier-mayer.com

Coat
fashion.1stdibs.com

Electric feather
$679 – lagarconne.com

Maxi skirt
360 GBP – farfetch.com

Lanvin satin flat
$435 – net-a-porter.com

Gurhan gold dangle earring
$1,100 – endless.com

Rosantica beaded jewelry
$900 – net-a-porter.com

Chain necklace
$190 – charmandchain.com

White necklace
$24 – unique-vintage.com

Sunglass
240 EUR – colette.fr

TopShop straw hat
$50 – topshop.com

Valentino Lace-trimmed cashmere-blend shawl
$1,395 – net-a-porter.com

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Spring Cleaning

It’s officially Spring, April showers and all. Over the weekend I faced the fact that my bedroom didn’t look like it was inhabited by humans—mountain goats maybe, but definitely not rational people. Piles of dirty laundry, unpacked suitcases, and general clutter had taken over, it was time to put an end to it. So I rolled up my sleeves, opened my windows, and decided to engage in the ancient tradition of spring cleaning.

There’s something satisfying about weeding through your belongings, throwing a bunch of them out, and then rearranging what’s left. It leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and a firm resolution to keep up the cleanliness for good. My resolution usually breaks after about a week, but it’s nice while it lasts.

There are tons of articles in magazines about making your belongings easily accessible and adorably tidy. They make it look so easy with the colored containers and compartmented trays. Unfortunately I hate putting things away, I like to have all my things out so I can see them or I forget I have them. The problem is space, there just isn’t enough of it, and that’s why I end up with piles of crap everywhere.

I know there are people who keep all their stuff in good order, who don’t run around jamming things in closets when they’re expecting company or panicking that said guests might show up early and catch them in the midst of a cleaning hysteria. Sadly I’m not one of those people. I’m the person with way to many tchotchkes covered in dust who won’t let friends anywhere near my bedroom when they come visit (where do you think I throw all the junk from the rest of the house?).

I’m envious of those who keep pristine households (like the ones seen in these lovely pictures, all courtesy of that bastion of organized perfection to which I aspire, Real Simple), but maybe they miss out on the catharsis that spring cleaning can bring. You need to have a lot to organize in order to feel the sense of renewal that comes with finding a place for it. At least that’s what I’ll tell myself when my room reverts back to a mess and it’s time to clean it again.

At the moment I’m still riding a high from organizing the mound of makeup that has been piling up on my dresser for months. I took some tips from Real Simple and used a variety of containers to arrange things:

Ok, so it’s not Real Simple caliber, (I could never have that much white in my house anyway, I stain everything) but I really tried! Here’s the breakdown:

I am going to put a lot of effort into keeping things clean this time, for real—unless I’m in a rush. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Anyone else attempting to reorganize themselves in some way this spring? Share your tips!

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Beauty Grab-Bag: Crazy for Coral

Now that the clocks have jumped forward and the sun sticks around until 7pm, it seems like those breezy, warm, days are just around the corner. I’m currently on the lookout for a bridesmaid dress in the season’s hottest color—coral, so I have that shade on the brain right now. In anticipation of spring, lets look at some pretty coral makeup that will give you that lovely orange glow—not like self tanner, more like you finally got the chance to get out in the spring sunshine.

Nars Illuminator in Orgasm, $29

I received this illuminator in my February Birchbox and it gives a very subtle peachy glow on cheekbones. I think it probably works best on warmer skin-tones.

Mac Eyeshadow in Paradisco $14.50

A beautiful shimmery coral with gold undertones, this shadow works even on women without warm or tanned skin-tones.

Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Tipsy $25

I have one of these coming in the mail from QVC (more on that later), but the colors look beautiful in Sephora, especially this bright coral.

Dior Addict Lip Polish in Glow Expert $30

If you want a juicy, peachy glow without being sticky, this coral gloss is perfect, but pricey.

Essie Nail Polish in Haute as Hello, $8

One of my favorite Essie polishes, this color just feels happy and warm, it’s a real pick-me-up for your finger tips.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick in Wild Coral, $24

If you prefer lipstick to gloss this new coral from Estee Lauder will deliver color that is both bright and long lasting.

I just finished up this commission for a bridal box featuring coral flowers too:

And if you’re still not sold on coral, here is a polyvore collage featuring pretty things to get you excited for spring:

60s Coral, Cream and Gold by justinez featuring vintage style earrings

River Island lace dress
45 GBP – riverisland.com

Smocked dress
$98 – topshop.com

Chiffon blouse
18 GBP – desireclothing.co.uk

Beyond The Valley tweed mini skirt
149 GBP – farfetch.com

Marc Jacobs short short
558 GBP – matchesfashion.com

Chinese Laundry high heel pumps
$70 – heels.com

TopShop high heels
$135 – topshop.com

Sigerson Morrison slip on flat
$213 – theoutnet.com

Love Moschino shoulder strap bag
132 GBP – my-wardrobe.com

Marc by marc jacobs tote
200 GBP – matchesfashion.com

Kate Spade chain necklace
$195 – zappos.com

Tinley Road flower ring
$22 – piperlime.gap.com

House of Harlow 1960 gold bracelet
$125 – shopthetrendboutique.com

Chandelier necklace
$24 – modcloth.com

Vintage style earring
$12 – modcloth.com

TopShop woven scarve
$32 – topshop.com

Essie Nail Polish – California Coral
$7.90 – apothica.com

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Summer Cravings

Some say January is the worst month of the year, with the post holiday letdown and freezing temperatures. February is just as bad, but at least has the decency to be shorter than other months. Then we have March, which I find the cruelest of all. March teases you into believing it’s spring. the sun sets later, the stores are full of pastel candy, and you keep getting e-mails about sandals and bathing suit sales. And then, just when you’re thinking winter is done, the assault of cold air outside snaps you out of your warm weather delusions.

Recently, I’ve been fantasizing past the spring and have jumped full force into daydreams of summer. You can probably expect more posts in which I complain about the weather and long for the joys of springtime. Also, once it’s summer you can bet I’ll be whining that it’s too hot. Anyway, just for now, here’s what I’ve been pining for these last few weeks:

I am so sick of dry cracking skin, every time I wash my hands all the moisturize seems to disappear leaving me with scary mummy hands and the need to slather on gloppy expensive creams. The same goes for my face, I can’t use soaps or scrubs at all, they reduce me to an ugly flaking mess. I long for the humid days of July when I can once again be lazy and achieve a dewy glow without having to spend time and money dosing myself in products. Sure, I’ll complain about my hair frizzing up constantly, but right now, unruly hair seems like a reasonable trade-off for glowing skin.

There are people who always wear shoes, even in the house, they wake up in the morning and even if they’re not going anywhere they put on shoes—it amazes me! My husband is one of those people, he thinks I’m the crazy one because I never wear shoes inside. As soon as I walk in the door I have to get those things off my feet immediately. If it weren’t considered taboo by society I would walk around barefoot all the time (and yes, I’ve stepped in glass enough to know this is not a good idea). I hate having my poor feet trapped inside heavy socks and constricting footwear all winter long, toes want to be free!

When it’s finally warm enough to liberate my trotters, the first place they’ll be going is into the sand. It’s not a far walk, just a block away actually, I could go right now. Unfortunately I would have to wear my parka and would probably catch frostbite and then be sad about it. Boo March.

Don’t get me wrong, I love apples, they might just be the most versatile of fruits. Apple pie, apple crisp, apple butter, apple strudel, apples with peanut butter—dear god please someone give me some strawberries! It’s so much easier to eat healthy fruit in the summer when it’s in season and delicious. I bought strawberries the other day and half of them were mushy and rotten after a day, then I felt guilty for buying fruit out-of-season and killing the environment all because I’m impatient. I’ll go back to apples for another couple of months and continue to daydream about strawberries, watermelons and avocados (especially when they’ve been smashed into a delicious bowl of guacamole).

Come to think of it, I’ve been craving summer food in general. Not only fruit, but BBQ, hamburgers, chicken wings, salads and being able to eat outdoors. I’m sick of soups and stews, and being too cold all the time to eat anything that isn’t piping hot. I can’t even tell you about the lustful cravings I’ve been having for ice cream recently. I have to remind myself that enjoying a bowl of creamy cold goodness will just force me to add yet another layer of fleece to my already bundled, freezing body.

Obviously you can wear bright nail polish anytime of year, but for some reason it just feels better to wear it in warm weather. Somehow whenever I wear bright pink polish in the winter I feel like I’m lying to myself. This season the beauty world is telling us that darker polishes are in for spring—like Chanel’s black pearl, but I’m not buying it. Give me brights (especially on my toes at the beach) and I’m a happy girl. Save the black pearls for Fall, or for Liz Taylor—since they’ve always brought her luck.

I’m not only craving flowers, but green grass and budding branches. The other day in the supermarket I found myself staring longingly at the flower section, which was kind of embarrassing. I was literally stopped in my tracks by a bouquet of zinnias. This time of year I find myself trying to remember what the trees look like with leaves and what it feels like to go outside without being wrapped in down. I can’t wait for the first crocuses and daffodils to poke their heads out of the dirt. They’ll be a true sign that winter is over and summer, dewy skin tasty food and all, is finally on its way.

Anyone else having summer cravings? Let’s hear ’em.

 

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