beauty · hollywood glamour · life curation · style

Style Chat – How I’m Using The Four Essence System, Pt 2

We’re discussing Style Thoughts by Rita’s Four Essence System again, because I’m fascinated by how this system explains the energy and soul behind personal style. There are four tools within the Four Essence System (I’ve already discussed tool # 1 here). Today, I’m on to Tool # 2 – Archetypes. The section of the video that broadly talks bout archetypes is found at minute 3:33.

It’s not lost on me that I just discussed the podcast Archetypes with Meghan last week. I suspect Archetypes – as a broader concept – is a theme we’ll be seeing discussed extensively on the Internet for months to come.

Anyway, I’m exploring archetypes that fit my Right-Up essence. This quadrant contains women that tend to have a regal energy, that can run the gamut from intimidating to adorable. The keywords for Right-Up women that resonated most with me were Luminous, Refined, The Sun, Effort, Persona and (in my mind) Glamorous. Building upon those keywords, I took a look at the archetypes to see where I fit in. Fortunately for me, Rita has already posted a video explaining the five archetypes within the Right-Up quadrant.

The archetypes for this quadrant are the Role Model, the Icon, the Priestess, the Power, and the Playful Dame/Princess. I knew, immediately, that the Playful Dame/Princess did not suit me: I don’t have the girlish energy needed to pull off this archetype. The next archetype I struck off of my list is the Power: while I do feel energetically powerful, I don’t think this is an energy that I project well out into the world. My friendly Southern nature makes it hard to have the intimidation needed to embody this archetype well.

The process of elimination left me between two archetypes: the Icon and the Priestess. I most resonate with Icon, because there is a level of mystery and ceremony with the Priestess that doesn’t suit my personality and energy. When describing the Icon, Rita says, “Her style is an extension of her mission in the world”, and, “the main thing […] is this willingness to be seen and have this comfort with your power”. As someone who has studied personal style and is constantly implementing strategies to refine and perfect the image I want to communicate to others, I can confirm that I use my style as a calling card for my mission, and I also use it as a support when communicating who I am to others.

In short, the Icon is ME! I love this archetype and I enjoyed how Rita emphasizes that the celebrity examples she uses in her videos aren’t there to show anyone “what to wear” for their archetype, but to determine the role that personal style plays in their lives. It’s this desire to understand how style supports us that drives the need to uncover our archetypes, and I’m thankful that Rita has created such great content that explains these things in depth.

That’s all for today. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

goals · life curation · luxury · style

Curation Without Culling Is Chaos

Hello friends! I’ve been spending a lot of time at home, and as I prepare for the cooler months (when staying inside more is inevitable for me), I’ve been thinking of ways to improve my environment. While doing some of my normal cleaning, I noticed that I had far more things that needed to be maintained, and not enough “blank space” around me.

I realized I’d become fully immersed in my identity as a curator (never a hoarder: I hate having stuff “engulf” me, nor do I purchase or collect items for any reason other than appreciation of art in various forms). However, I’d been slacking on my culling. To cull is to go a step beyond curating: it involves eliminating things that may be suitable but aren’t the best. It’s part of the selective behavior that creates s well-cultivated sense of personal taste that has a healthy dose of discrimination and exclusivity. I prefer to look at this as culling (focusing on what I choose to keep) as opposed to purging (focusing on the things that I’m removing).

For instance, I have books – lots of books. While I may enjoy all of my books, I need to go through these books and figure out which ones I love and which ones I like, and promptly rid myself of any books that don’t meet the “love” category. The same thing goes for clothes, accessories, and even cookware: I’m culling all of it, and only leaving behind the items that make my heart sing.

Culling allows the things you love the space they need to shine.

Curating without culling creates chaos, both within the mind as well as within the physical environment. So I’ve started taking the steps to eliminate this chaos externally so that I can cultivate more internal peace and order. With the most difficult seasons for me (late fall stretching into early winter) ahead, I want to ensure that I have as little disorder and as few energetic “leaks” as possible.

What kind of culling activities have you found beneficial? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

beauty · style

Style Chat – How I’m Using The Four Essence System, Pt 1

It’s been a while since I discussed the Four Essence System developed by Rita (of Style Thoughts by Rita). To date, my post about the Four Essence System has been one of the most popular posts on this blog (which is really surprising, considering how this was never intended to be a blog about fashion!) A recent video posted by Rita discussed the four tools of the Four Essence System, and I thought it would be fun and beneficial to muse over what she mentioned in the video, and how it applies to me and my essence (Right Up). Here is the video discussing the tools:

The first tool Rita mentions is keywords. Keywords allow us to laser focus on the elements of the essence, without getting lost in minutia. These also function as a compass of sorts, constantly guiding users to the heart of the effect they are trying to create through style. The keywords for my essence are as follows:

For Right women: Dreamy, Radiant, Inspiring, Luminous, Refined, The Sun, The Ice Queen

For Up women: Intimidating, Effort, Extravagant, Persona, Glamorous, Mysterious

The words that resonate with me were Luminous, Refined, The Sun, Effort, Persona and (in my mind) Glamorous. I started comparing these words against some of the things that I own, and whatever doesn’t make the cut, was placed into a giveaway (charity) bag. It was a simple metric for seeing which items suited me, and which ones are not harmonious with my style vision.

There are a lot of great keywords mentioned in the video that can help calibrate your style approach, so you can make choices that resonate with your core style ID. I loved experimenting with the many ways that keywords show up in my style. It also exposed ways that I’m falling short of my style vision, too.

That’s all my friends! What keywords from the video suit your style?

beauty · life curation · style

Perfume Review – CLEAN Warm Cotton vs CLEAN Fresh Laundry

It’s a perfume review, my friends! As a huge fan of CLEAN perfumes, I had several bottles lying around that I hadn’t reviewed yet. So, I decided two review two at once!

In this review, I compared CLEAN Warm Cotton with CLEAN Fresh Laundry. I decided to compare these two because the names of these scents sound like they’d share some common traits (cotton, laundry, you get it). I figured that it would be fun to see what they share, and on which notes they diverge. There are some similarities but also some stark differences that I noted.

First, let’s start off with the notes. Warm Cotton opens up with bright citrus and lemon verbena, blooms into a combination of sea notes, orange blossom and fruit essence, then dries down to the scents of musk, fern and amber. On the other hand, Fresh Laundry hits you with notes of grass, Brazilian orange and Mexican lime, before blossoming into the essence of jasmine and rose otto, then finishing with the fragrance of musk, heliotrope and woody notes.

The shared notes of citrus on top and musk at the base means that these two fragrances are channeling the same brightness as the opener, and a fresh but earthy base. The difference shows up most with the mid notes and the differing base notes: Warm Cotton relies on the essence of brisk ocean notes and zesty orange blossom and fruits in the middle, while Fresh Laundry leans heavily on classic “soapy” notes, with jasmine and rose, as its middle. Finally, the base notes of fern and amber give the warmth to Warm Cotton, while heliotrope and woody notes add a powdery touch with some heft to Fresh Laundry.

Here’s the video where I discuss these scents a bit more:

Again, the notes are as follows:

Warm Cotton – Top notes: Citrus and Lemon verbena Mid notes: Sea notes, Orange blossom, Fruits (floral cotton) Base notes: Musk, Fern, Amber

Fresh Laundry – Top notes: Grass, Brazilian orange, Mexican lime Mid notes: Jasmine, Rose otto Base notes: Musk, Heliotrope, Woody notes

**********

Have you tried either of these, or any of the other fragrances from CLEAN? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

culture · international · life curation · style · travel

My Time in Portugal, Part 1

Admittedly, this probably be more pictures than words, but I had so much fun on my travels that I had to capture as much as I could via my camera!

I started the first leg of my journey in Lisbon, Portugal. A beautiful city with all of the charm of old Europe but an abundance of modern amenities, I found myself spellbound by the city “built on 7 hills”. I’d long held a fantasy of tooling around in Lisbon . . . And I got to live my dream.

While it was uncharacteristically cool in Lisbon during my time there, I still loved what I saw and experienced there. I can see why so many American expats have chosen Portugal as their forever homes.

While in Portugal, I went to Rock in Rio Lisboa 2022 (an incredible music festival), as well as the towns of Sintra, Cascais, and Estoril. I will share more about those experiences in future blog posts. But for today, here are some of my pictures from my time in Lisbon proper. Enjoy!

beauty · international · style · travel

Where My Travel Wardrobe Went Wrong . . .

Happy Monday, friends! Tomorrow, I’ll start discussing the highlights of my trip, beginning with my first stop (Lisbon, Portugal, and the surrounding towns). But today, we talk travel fashion.

When I prepared for my trip, I began by adopting a capsule wardrobe approach. I knew I wanted to function with one piece of luggage, and one wardrobe that had everything I needed to mix and match my ensembles. By the time I packed for my trip, I had the following wardrobe list:

If you want to see the ensembles in motion, here’s the video I posted, showing some of the outfit combinations and accessories:

Now, I’m overall pleased with the items I selected. But, looking back a bit, I realized there were a few things that could have created a better capsule wardrobe:

  • Instead of my taupe flats, I really needed flat shoes with better grips on the soles. I had to walk very carefully when we toured, because my flats were slick on the bottom and I could have used the extra grip for touring on those well-worn stone surfaces.
  • Denim shorts would have been a fantastic addition to this wardrobe, especially if they were tapered and knee-length.
  • Another button-down top would have given me a little extra polish: it would have been even better if it was a sleeveless button-down so I could stay cool while I tooled around.
  • Because Lisbon was unseasonably cool, I needed more long-sleeved tops. Having few long-sleeved options was a problem for me.
  • Also, a jacket or cardigan would have been great and given me some additional wardrobe options.
  • I really wish I’d thrown one other color into the mix, aside from yellow, white and royal/navy blue.
  • As a Kibbe Soft Classic (SC), I would have benefited from a few pieces that had a bit more structure and symmetry. Less structured items = more comfort, easier maintenance, but opting for structured pieces would have ensured that I felt more like myself as I toured, and more put together.

I am glad that I had a capsule wardrobe that worked for my travels but, like anything else, there was room for improvement. I’ll do it even better next time!

*

*

*

*

*

This post contains affiliate links.

beauty · style

I Finally Reviewed My Favorite Exfoliating Product on YouTube

I’ve praised Dr. Dennis Gross’s Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Peel Pads on this blog before. On my quest for glass skin (you all remember that, right?) I stumbled (head-first, naturally) upon this product. I’ve been using it since 2017(!) and I haven’t been disappointed at all.

After hearing me discuss the peel pads in multiple posts (like this one and this one), I figured it was high time that I did a video discussing the product, because, why not? I’ve posted pictures of my skin after the glass skin experiment, but this video is my most recent update/review, where you can see my skin as I discuss how well these peel pads have worked for me.

The great thing about this product is the gentleness of the peel pads: I tried other exfoliating brands but none have been as good on my skin as this one. I appreciate a good “bargain” as much as the next person, but this is one of those items I’m always sure to splurge on a few times during the year. The other products I’ve tried just don’t come close to the gentle effectiveness of this one. I’m a forever fan!

Do you have a favorite exfoliating product? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

*this post contains affiliate links.

beauty · hollywood glamour · style

Kibbe Soft Classic Chat – Marion Cotillard

Here’s the post that went up prematurely a few weeks ago: it’s all fleshed out and full of pics. Enjoy!

A couple of months ago, I discussed Grace Kelly’s impeccably elegant style, and I found it extremely helpful for my own style journey to apply an analytical lens to her style choices. It’s been a while since I did a Kibbe style chat, and this particular star’s style has been a favorite of mine for years. I figure that there is no time like the present to discuss another Soft Classic (SC) beauty, Marion Cotillard.

(Image courtesy of Archive.org)

The effect: Old Hollywood Revisited

Marion is an established actress, winning numerous awards for her portrayals. I find her fascinating, as she is often on what I consider the “outskirts” of pop culture. She is undoubtedly talented and popular, but she doesn’t appear on the gossip sites or other media outlets focusing on the shenanigans involving some A-listers. She’s “in the world [of Hollywood] but not of it”, for lack of better expressions. Marion has all of the perks of the A list but none of the embarrassing trappings. Clearly, she prefers remaining as discreet as her level of fame will allow. I admire her for this!

Marion’s philosophy of discretion over being outrageous for the public’s consumption is seen in her sartorial selections. She often keeps a simple silhouette with her hair, makeup, and clothing, though she occasionally takes chances with her appearances. Starting with her hair, it’s clear to see that Marion enjoys wearing her natural dark hair color. Her brunette locks perfectly complement her coloring, so she looks tremendously harmonious when wearing dark hair. Her hair is always quite glossy (which makes the color appear even more luscious) and is usually in a medium- to slightly-long length bob with a bit of curve. Her hair usually doesn’t have stiff curls, just a lovely curvature of the ends.

Marion with a slightly shorter crop but still very clean and classic lines (screenshot from video on Archive.org)

Sometimes she’ll do much longer lengths, which can give her an even more glamorous appearance. Her best looks are always very tidy, or, if slightly tousled, it’s a very calculated effortless look that doesn’t appear messy at all. What’s really fascinating is how “older” (more vintage inspired) hairstyles look tremendously modern on Marion. As a SC, she has a very balanced face that looks quite timeless, and the same hairstyles that looked marvelous on the SCs of yesteryear (like Grace Kelly, Merle Oberon and Donna Reed) look just as fresh and beautiful on Marion. In my humble opinion, the prettiest looks worn by Marion are the hairstyles that look like they are right off of the pages of a 1940s styling guide.

Marion as photographed by Studio Harcourt Paris, 1999 (edited by MaterialScientist)

Marion’s makeup tends to be quite soft and simple. She will occasionally experiment with more intense looks, but she looks effortlessly and polished when she works within the makeup recommendations as outlined by Kibbe. Marion’s most incredible looks use gently defined features, with eyes and lips matching in intensity. The “watercolor” makeup approach (as advised by Kibbe) looks marvelous on her, giving her features some distinction but doesn’t overwhelm her balanced overall effect.

Marion in her signature cosmetic colors (photo by Georges Biard)

Finally, let’s discuss clothing. Marion looks heavenly in symmetrical ensembles with soft touches here adn there (the best look for SC). What’s really cool is that she will experiment with looks that are better suited for other style IDs, presumably because SC clothing is often “boring” to the SCs that wear them. (Sidebar: as a SC, I understand how “boring” it can be to stay within the style recs for this ID. The trick is to add one element of different IDs while keeping the rest true to our ID.)

While regularly wearing SC clothing can feel “boring”, it is really the best canvas for seeing the naturally balanced features within the face and body. When Marion sticks to her ID, she looks heavenly. She looks incredible when she wears clothing that looks like they are directly from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Symmetrical silhouettes that fall anywhere from the knee to the ankles are smashing on her, though she occasionally plays with a mini-skirt ensemble (these look cute on her when the mini-skirt is a bubble style). Sheaths, shirtwaist dresses, and A-line ensembles are perfect on her, so long as there are soft touches that honor the yin in her frame. High quality fabrics that are neither too heavy or too flimsy suit her well, and wearing colors that are consistent (no fading) and an appropriate level of saturation (she can handle a bit of color intensity) are best.

Marion looks gorgeous in a simple dress that honors soft classic lines (screenshot from Archive.org)

For Marion, she would do well to ask WWGW: What Would Grace Wear? The most flattering looks I’ve seen on Marion look like they were plucked from the Princess of Monaco’s wardrobe. However, she should avoid using the same color palette of Princess Grace: Marion’s coloring looks divine with Soft/Cool Winter colors, while Grace is a Summer, which, funny enough, is the lighter side of Winter colors. Marion could literally replicate most of Grace’s ensembles, make sure the clothing is in the Winter coloring range, and it would look fresh and modern, while still giving a nod to classic roots.

Wearing muted colors that straddle the line of summer and winter palettes, but still looking beautiful. (Georges Biard)

The difficulty of modern celebrity wardrobes is that there are many stylists that don’t “curate” signature looks like the old Hollywood machine used to do for its stars. For that reason, I think Marion does a great job of creating a style profile that has way more “hits” than “misses”. I also appreciate that she enjoys having fun with her appearance and doesn’t stick strictly to the silhouettes that are recommended to SCs. Even if her style risks are occasional “misses” to the public eye, so long as she’s having fun, it really doesn’t matter if others disagree with her choices.

That’s all for my style analysis of Marion Cotillard. Do you like her ensembles? Let me know what you think!

beauty · life curation · luxury · style

Get Ready With Me – Trying Makeup From The Beem Box

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all have been doing well. I took a little blog break because my offline life was crazy for a few weeks. That being said, I decided to do a video putting on my makeup and discussing what’s been happening in my world. As a bonus, I used products from previous Beem Boxes. I’ve mentioned Beem Box in other posts (like this one and this one) and I was really excited to show how certain products looked on my skin.

Enjoy, and I’ll be back with more content tomorrow. Take care!

art · beauty · style

Three Easy Ways to Clarify and Confirm Your Kibbe Style ID

Last year, I posted about my Kibbe style ID and some of the revelations that I had related to that. After I published that post, I realized that some of my readers may find the Kibbe system confusing and even a bit overwhelming. I had some subsequent posts about the Kibbe system (like this one and this one) but these may not be clear enough for someone that is hearing about the system for the first time. Admittedly, I had no problem interpreting my original results from doing the self-typing test, but I can imagine how someone with no experience with analyzing their bone structure and flesh may not be able to come up with a conclusive answer.

I checked out a few videos that attempted to clarify how to get a good set of Kibbe results, but I found that there are a few other things that you can try to give you more clarity on what your true style ID is. Here are three things that you can try, to get a better “guess” of your Kibbe type.

Reface yourself with a celebrity that shares your Kibbe style ID. I stumbled across this method when I was curious about trying a new hairstyle. While playing around on the app, I refaced myself as Marion Cotillard, Teyonah Parris (an unconfirmed Kibbe SC), Grace Kelly, Veronica Lake and Dita Von Teese (another unconfirmed Kibbe SC). At the end, I noticed that I looked more seamless when I refaced as a SC. But, when I refaced myself as Dorothy Dandridge (Kibbe Theatrical Romantic), Halle Berry (Kibbe Soft Gamine) and Diahann Carroll (Kibbe Soft Dramatic). While the final videos were cute, none of them looked as “true to me” as the SC Refaced clips.

Get a friend to do the test for you. Sometimes, we cannot see ourselves accurately. In fact, one blogger than I came across recently couldn’t see her own type, though quite a few of her readers advised her of what they suspected her Kibbe ID was. After many months of experimenting, she finally determined that yes, her readers were correct and had typed her accurately. What you may want to do is get a friend (or two) to complete the Kibbe ID test for you. Though David Kibbe no longer recommends the test as a way to get an accurate interpretation of your body’s lines, the test is not completely inaccurate, and having your friends complete the test based on what they observe about your body can be tremendously helpful in getting a more objective understanding of your personal lines.

Try the “squint” method. Instead of looking at your physique head on, try squinting to give a less defined but more wholistic view of your body. Sometimes, zooming out and blurring the fine details can help you take in the overall silhouette. It may not be the surest method for determining your style ID, but it can help with getting a better sense of your shape.

Those are my three tips for finding your Kibbe style ID when you’re struggling with identifying your body type. I hope these tips can help! Take care, and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.