Tuesday, April 25, 2017

24K Classics

Ryan Porter, Pangea Nashville, Custom Jewelry, Friendship Bracelet, pink nails, Smith and Cult, ShopRyanPorter
Ryan Porter, IV Jewelry, Irinia Victoria, Pangea Nashville, Custom Jewelry, Friendship Bracelet, pink nails, Smith and Cult, ShopRyanPorter
bracelet: Ryan Porter; rings: Irina Victoria (ring finger) and Pangea (middle finger)

When I was a kid, my mom wouldn't allow my sisters and I to wear jewelry that wasn't gold. We had our fair share of plastic baubles and barbie barrettes in our play sets, but once we were off to school or church it was serious business. Twenty-four karats or bust. I like to think that's why I have such an affinity for these delicate gold pieces I've collected over the last couple of years.

The first piece of gold jewelry I bought myself was an Irina Victoria rosebud ring. After browsing the interwebs, I stumbled upon their romantic and delicate yet durable designs. I bought the OG rosebud ring for both my sister and myself, and haven't taken mine off in ages. I followed it up a year later with my treasured Ryan Porter gold chain bracelet. I mulled over my personalized message for far too long, but it was obviously worth it since it's become one of my all time favorite gifts. The classy gold chain mixed with the school girl letter beads makes me feel young enough to still consider P.F. Changs a fun night out but adult enough to communicate with my friends via email rather than text.

I was pretty satisfied with my little golden trinkets, wearing them every day like a little girl with a shiny red balloon. Nonetheless at one of the many festivals Nashville has to offer, I came across a little jeweler's boutique with handcrafted gold bands. I opted for a thin, textured 18 karat piece that would put the final touches on my collection of golden masterpieces. And just last month, while wondering around the neighborhood I stopped by Pangea (a true Nashville gem, if I do say so myself) and picked up a midi ring that sits atop my finger like the crown jewels sit atop the Duchess of Cambridge. Except mine aren't real diamonds. And I'm not heiress. And I don't have millions of precious jewels at my disposal. At least I'll always have my humble stash of golden pieces.

Friday, April 21, 2017

My Little Obsession: Marble Tiles

photos by Tamira Jarrel

Tamira Jarrel can convince me to do anything, including go to Home Depot all the way across town just for blocks of stone. A marble backdrop is (usually) so chic and sleek and put together, which are all things my pretentious self likes to be. Not surprisingly, I don't have any marble in my house or my apartment. But thanks to TJ, who mentioned how easy it is to get marble tiles from a hardware store for blog photos, I now have three different marble tilesto make my desk look "so aesthetically pleasing" and "messy chic," according to all of my friends that see my work space. I can't promise you're desk top will look as cool as TJ's with of absurdly priced but so very much worth it perfumes and candles sprawled across her desk top (I long for the day I get to indulge in a Byredo shopping spree). What I can promise, though, is that you'll feel so chic and even if your layout isn't 110% Pinterest-worthy it'll bump your own perfume/skincare/jewelry/etc. collections up a notch in terms of aesthetic appeal-- which is all that matters anymore, right?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Nashville, Provence Bread and Co, nashville Cafe, Bluebird Cafe, Tennesee, Music City, Hillsboro Village

nail polish: Marc Jacobs; sunglasses: local boutique; food: Provence Bread and Cafe

Oh Nashville, how I love thee. The food, the beautifully delicious food. Hillsboro Village, one of the many Nashville neighborhoods I enjoy spending my weekends in, has the amazing Provence Cafe literally across the street from the famed pancake Pantry. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why tourists spend hours in line waiting for a buttermilk stack when there is the best French cafe Nashville has to offer just a few feet away. The coffee selection gives everyone a little something to enjoy and the french menu makes my little french-loving heart pitter patter with glee. My last visit featured an Anchor Down cappuccino and a decadent croque monsieur supplemented with leafy greens. I held out on the macarons since I was days away from visiting the Laduree in New York City, but I'm not gonna say I don't regret that decision. The seating inside is admittedly cramped (so be warned if you're going with a party of four or more) and I've never tried their cold products in the deli display by the door. But, I can hardly imagine the Provence my friends and I know and love serving anything short of a cute, delicious French inspired meal within their intimate four walls. 

I mean, I'm not going to tell you that you have to go to Provence if you're ever in Nashville's Hillsboro Village. But I will say that if you ever find yourself waiting in an offensively long line for pancakes and happen to see a French cafe across the street you might want to consider crossing that street...

Friday, April 14, 2017

There's Only One Ouai

Ouai Haircare, Feu de Bois, Diptyque, Beauty, Jen Atkins, Kendall Jenner Hair, Kodak
candle: Diptique; hair spray: Ouai Haircare; hair lotion: Ouai Haircare; camera: Kodak

It's no secret that I have commitment issues with hair. Because of my fleeting hairstyles it can be hard to commit to any hair poduct that isn't an amazing hair oil (which is always useful). Nevertheless, I bit the bullet and dove into the luxurious pond that is Jen Atkin's haircare line. If you didn't already know, Jen Atkin's is a celebrity hairstylist that is responsible for the many looks is both Kim Kardashian and Chrissy Teigen as well as the entire 2016 Victoria' Secret Fashion Show in Paris. Jen followed her entrepreneurial itch and eleased a streamlined line of products, Ouai Haircare, that create the effortless, model off-duty, "I woke up like this" look.

My first Ouai purchase was a full sized bottle of Finishing Creme with the hope that I'd never have to straighten my roots in the morning ever again. I guess it goes without saying that my flat iron is still in rotation, but it's only working part time now thanks to this sinfully priced, but oh-so amazing hair lotion. Half way (ouai?) through the bottle I purchased the Style Edit set with a mini Wave Spray, Texturizing Hair Spray, and Finishing Creme along with a little to-go pouch of hair ties. I was unimpressed with the Wave Spray which is almost undoubtedly because my hair is not real and I don't wash it nearly enough. On the flip side, I've been saving the mini Finishing Creme until the (very sad) day when I use the last drop of the full size. I didn't hate the Texturizing Hair Spray, so there's that. But I also am not sure I'd buy the full size because even if my hair looks like Jen Atkins did it herself, $26 is a bit of a stretch.

In fact, if I'm being honest, I really like the THS; especially for when I have brand-spanking-new, super sleek extensions that need to look a little more lived in. But when it came to buying a full sized bottle I decided to try the Medium Hair Spray instead. Mostly because it's the strongest "medium hold" hair spray I've ever come across, but also because I can use it to texturize my hair and make my roots lay flat all day which has been my goal since Ouai purchase numero uno. Having smooth roots throughout the day seems to be the ultimate hair goal of mine? Question mark because I didn't actually realize this until three weeks ago when Jen did a tutorial on her Snapchat using Matte Pomade and the Hair Oil when styling Chrissy Teigen's roots. You better believe that I took a bus to Sephora and spent $52 on Ouai Matte Pomade and Hair Oil the very next day. I'm ashamed, yes. Buuut it hasn't not worked yet and I haven't given it enough time to prove it doesn't not not work. Only time will tell, as the saying goes.

Until then, someone please stop me form purchasing the Repair Conditioner and Shampoo because I am currently testing them out and they also haven't not not worked yet but they also haven't not worked either. Send help.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Pillow Pie

Smith and Cult, Ryan Porter, Nail Polish, Pink, Pillow Pie, nail art, Pink nails

Smith and Cult, Nail Polish, Nail Lacquer, Pink, Glossier PMR, I love NYC, Finding Ferdinand
nail polish: Smith & Cult in Pillow Pie

I believe in loyalty and if there is anything that I'm loyal to its the perfect pink nail lacquer. I find my comfort in either jet black or pale pink nails. I've been building an arsenal of the best pink nail polishes for something like 5 years now. My impromptu trip to a The Shops at Green Hills (such an amazing place to hang around when the weather is beautiful, by the way) resulted in my inaugural encounter with Smith & Cult, a company I've been wanting to try since it first came to be.

I was more than a little disappointed to find out how pale-as-a-ghost pink this color is, but then I thought about how "CEO boss babe/my nails but better" and professional it looked on me. This lead me to realize my mound of bottles filled with pink nail polish seemed to lack a fashion-over-function nail polish in the color of a Swedish babies' rosy cheeks. That's a weird description of Smith & Cult's signature pink, I know, but I kid you not that is exactly what I think of when I see it. Or maybe a mix of Glossier pink and the color of nude, cotton underwear but a little more pale. You'd think I hate the color by the sound of my odd descriptions, but I'd have you know that Pillow Pie is on my nails at this very moment and I love it. Maybe even a new nail polish classic...?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Raves & Rants: Instagram Live

Tamira Jarrel, Instagram Live, How to Use Instagram Live, Social Media

I dread the day social media becomes obsolete. My life seems to revolve around Twitter.  My friendships are sustained via Snapchat. Instagram is the most important aspect of my career. No joke. Those are all true statements. Now that I've finally (and begrudgingly) updated my iPhone I've gotten to experience the wonders of social media's newest technology: Instagram Live. Although I waited until my New York City trip to do an official livestream, I've been drooling over Instagram live videos from Brittany Hampton and Tamira Jarrel for months.

When Snapchat stories came on the scene, I fell in love with the behind the scenes access I got from my friends, family and favorite celebrities. Now that Instagram Love has stepped it up another notch I feel like the next logical step will be me moving into their homes, literally. Live videos on Instagram have such a temporary existence and are so incredibly intimate and unfiltered. Moreso than a 24 hour Snapchat story or one-off Twitter q&a, Instagram Live is an actual door into the hilarious/emotional/glamorous/messy lives of the world. Tamira did a Live video in her kitchen while she was making dinner for her kids. Pause. Let's repeat that: Tamira Jarrel, uber-popular beauty and lifestyle blogger, did a Live video in her kitchen while she was making dinner.  I was literally having a conversation with my favorite blogger while she was chillin' in her house! I asked her about her favorite perfumes -- Replica vs Byredo -- and I watched her unfiltered thought process as she concluded Byredo was the superior choice.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New York Part III: Laduree Soho

Laduree, macarons, NYC, Laduree Soho, Laduree Madison, Marie Antoinette Tea, marble phone case
phone case:  TheCustomCase on Etsy at Laduree

Possibly my favorite part of this whole New York trip was the afternoon we spent at Laduree. Rather than visit the tourist filled  Laduree on Madison in the Upper East Side, we ventured to a few blocks from the Glossier Showroom and Man Repeller Bazaar (which were literally thirty seconds from each other) to Laduree Soho. 

I'm going to say right here, right now that you will never regret choosing the Soho location over the one on Madison unless you actually like waiting in unnecessarily long lines and witnessing approximately 37 Insta photos being taken per minute. I wouldn't dare describe Laduree Soho as quaint, but the seating is very intimate and the usual patron is a well-dressed, a little snobby, French or Francophile millennial. There are hardly any iPhones in sight and the low rumble of friendly conversations makes you acutely aware that you're in a room full of people who can afford $6 croissants every afternoon. But despite the steep prices I highly recommend going because if nothing else their tea is utterly amazing. I'm not much of a tea drinker, however, my roommate went to the Laduree in Paris and said that their tea could convert anyone. She wasn't lying. I got a whole teapot of Marie Antoinette for only $7 (about 3-4 cups) and oh was it good. I've been trying to buy a box of their Marie Antoinette tea bags since we left (literally... I  called in the Uber back to the hotel) and the easiest way so far would be me buying a plane ticket to Paris and picking one up myself which I briefly considered. If Laduree can convert me I can almost guarantee you'll fall in love too. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

New York Part II: The Glossier Showroom

Glossier, Emily Wiess, Cloud Paint, Haze, New York City, Glossier Showroom, Lafayette New York, Into The Gloss
Glossier, Emily Wiess, Holiday Collection, Phase 2, New York City, Glossier Showroom, Lafayette New York, Into The Gloss
Glossier, Emily Wiess, Bow Brow, Ask Me About My Brows, New York City, Glossier Showroom, Lafayette New York, Into The Gloss
Glossier, Emily Wiess, Face masks, Moisturizing Moon Mask, Phase 1, Rose Face Mist, Self Checkout, New York City, Glossier Showroom, Lafayette New York, Into The Gloss

all products: Glossier

One of the best parts of my trip to New York was visiting the Glossier showroom and internally freaking out about being in such a ~chic~ place. First of all, if you live in the New York area and haven't been to the Glossier showroom yet you are absolutely ridiculous and need to spend your next free afternoon on the corner of Lafayette and Canal Street testing blushes and concealers and cleansers and face mists. No inch of the intimate space is wasted with the pale pink walls and giant mirrors. In the back corner was a mermaid-esque "bathroom" where you could get comfortable and try on Glossier's face masks and cleanser. Jars lay sprawled open and lipsticks stood upright in little compartments as if we were in the Glossier production factory testing all of the products.

Of course I visited just one week after the Cloud Paints had been released and got a chance to try out Beam and Haze (the two I was deciding between) and Puff (just for kicks) before getting in line to purchase my fourth tube of Boy Brow in Black and Haloscope in Topaz. I'd been holding out on Haloscope for a while, hoping that I would have a chance to see how it would look/apply on my skin with my makeup routine. If nothing else, the showroom is the perfect place to try out any Glossier product you're mildly curious about before pulling the trigger and forking out the cash for it. I ended up loving the Topaz Haloscope (way more pigmented than I was lead to believe) and added it to my IRL basket before checking out.

With the brand new Cloud Paint in mind, I had already planned on purchasing at least one color when I stepped into Glossier paradise. However, I was not prepared for how crazily pigmented it would be or how incredibly long lasting it was. The tubes are sold in mere 0.3oz portions, but so little goes a long way that I see this little guy lasting me months. Haze was the perfect shade for my skin tone (on darker skin in appears the perfect blush-y pink rather than the deep plum/burgundy it seems to be when you squeeze it out) and blended out so well that I am almost worried that I'll end up wasting product almost every time I use it if I don't master the art of the delicate bottle squeeze.

I used my trio of products for the rest of the trip and haven't stopped using them since. I am still awed by how long lasting the Cloud Paint is while I'm still navigating how to use my Haloscope tube. If only I could go back and plant myself in front of a showroom mirror for hours practicing.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New York Part I: Manhattan

Manhattan, Weekend Getaway, What to do in NYC
photo by unknown

Unless you're going skiing, snow and frigid temperatures are not what you typically think of when someone says "spring break". Nonetheless, a few weeks ago I headed to New York City for a five day excursion in one of the world's most infamous cities. I must confess that this trip was less about being a tourist or even experience The City in its truest form, boroughs and all. When planning our trip, my friends and I pretty much just said that we want to go and do the things we want to do without the pressure of seeing all the sights or making sure we get the true essence of what New York is about. Naturally, this meant we were in Manhattan for the duration of our trip, but that hardly means we spent our days wondering Times Square or perusing city passes. 

Over the five days we did a lot of ultra-touristy things like taking pictures in Central Park and making an obligatory trip to The Met. However, our trip was full of haphazardly planned adventures and genuinely fun NYC experiences. We saw the Statue of Liberty by accident, we saw the Little Girl with the Wall Street Charging Bull that was erected for International Women's Day; I fawned over my everlasting love for modern art at MoMA; we (semi-successfully) tried to sneak into Hamiltion... you know just the usual stuff. But we also went to a hidden pizza shop in the Financial District, wondered around the cutest dessert shop filled ot the brim with elderly ladies in Chinatown, and visited the Man Repeller Bazaar at the Canal Street Market. A few of my favorite parts of the trip are going to be subjects of their own blog posts in the coming weeks so be prepared to here about all of the shopping I did and the amazing tea I had because I'm still reliving those amazing moments.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Style Envy: Janelle Monae

Hidden Figures, Janelle Monae, black girl magic, mod style, women tuxedo, shirt dress, black and white outfit ideas

Janelle Monae is a goddess. I have loved her since her style exclusively featured black tuxedos and a poofy, afro faux hawk/reverse mullet. Her style never wavered and even from the beginning was so integral to who she was as a musician. In the most recent years, Janelle Monae has pivoted to face the ever changing styles of Hollywood without losing her classically mod identity. She always looks stunning with a touch of brightness in the twinkle of her eyes or the color of her lips. Accessories mustn't be over the top to make you feel the tingly feeling only a great "lewk" can. As much as I appreciate how iconic Lady Gaga was circa 2008 and the greatness that is each and every extravagant red carpet event, there will always be a place for women who remain 100% true to their signature style. 

Flouncy pussy bows and topknot pigtail buns -- original? no. undeniable stylish? always. There are very few people who can toe the line of musician and actress without succumbing to mediocrity at one or the other. Janelle Monae not only navigates her career like a trapeze artists, she has a style persona so definite that she cannot be considered anything less than a triple threat. Gorgeous women who wear gorgeous clothing and have amazing talent while proving to be incredible activists will (hopefully) never go out of style. If only I looked that good in a white button down shirt dress, I could truly conquer the world.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Fashionista's Reading List: Winter 2017

fashion design, Conde Nast coffee table book, nasty women, feminism, fashion school, design research

The Fashion Design Reference & Specification Book by Jay Calderin and Laura Volpintesta
Firstly, this book was cowritten by professors at Parson's New School of Design and The School of Fashion Design in Boston so it's safe t say that the its contents will be fa from fluff, as so many fashion books seem to be. Let this serve as your guide for executing the everyday tasks of being a designer -- from conceptualizing a collection to selling it to buyers and consumers. 

This is for the average joes and janes like you and I who don't get to vacation at the most beautiful locations while staying in the most picturesque hotels. Condé Nast has done us a favor and chronicled the chicest places celebrities like Kate Moss and Jeremy Iron rest their eyes in while abroad. 

This is where aesthetics and feminism collide. Watercolor illustrated portraits splatter the pages and are accompanied by snippets about the lives and careers of 100 amazing women throughout the world's history. Marie Curie, Joan Jett, and Aphra Behn all make cameos along with several more women who I wish I would've learned about sooner.

Fashion Design Research by Ezinma Mbonu
Just like any other field of study, fashion design requires a great deal of research. In a day and age where people substitute a fashion degree with an Instagram following and consider Pinterest searches "research" this book takes it back to where the artistry and academic side of fashion is. It can used as an extensive FAQ for your questions about what and how to do fashion research, or it can be a reference manual to help you when you get study during the fashion research you've already done.

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