style · writing

Writers Wednesday – Welcome to the Creator’s Chamber

Happy Writers Wednesday! As promised last week, I’m here to show you all some of the touches I incorporated into my office to turn it into my creative chamber of sorts.

I finally cleared out some boxed items, putting them into their proper places. I began sorting out my desk and improved the lighting situation (there is no overhead lighting in this room, so I have to incorporate floor and desk lamps). There are some more minor aesthetic changes I want to make, but for now, I’m satisfied. I finally have a space I can work and create in.

I decided to add some inspiring decorative touches, like these pretty inscribed rocks I purchased for my garden (that I didn’t work on as much as I wanted last year . . . ). I put them on a few of my bookshelves fora little color and whimsy.

I also put some of my lovely thrifted pieces on a few of my bookshelves.

There’s more to do, but I’m pacing myself because I don’t want to get overwhelmed during the process of getting everything “in order”. Nothing sabotages progress like overwhelm, which is why taking my time has been crucial to arranging my creative chamber.

That’s it for now! I’ll add more photos as I finish decorating in the weeks to come. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

art · hollywood glamour · life curation · luxury · relaxation · style

An Inspired Environment – Vintage Home Decor Inspiration

I mentioned last year that I wanted to start decorating my house in a style that reflected my personal tastes. For reference, I love old-fashioned decor, especially anything pre-1940s. The occasional mid-century modern touches are charming (my home was built during the mid-century period, so some of these features show up in its architecture) but I have a soft spot for Victorian, Art Deco and Art Nouveau interiors. There’s something so indisputably glamorous about the fabrics, textures, colors, and furniture used during these periods.

On a recent trip to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (one of my favorite places to go for creative inspiration) I saw a recreation of the bedroom of Arabella Worsham Rockefeller (yes, those Rockefellers). No expense was spared in creating a decadent room for Mrs. Worsham Rockefeller to retire. The room was originally set up in the Rockefellers’ New York brownstone, but was gifted to VMFA in 2009. The experts at VMFA painstakingly replicated the room, using as many of the original artifacts as available. The end result is a stunningly luxurious, elegant, and warm bedroom: just what I want to recreate.

Here are some pictures from the Worsham Rockefeller bedroom:

I was captivated by all of the fine details of this room: the ornate ceiling, the embellished door, the tasteful sitting area (I’d venture to call this a proper boudoir area, but it retains a certain formality that I wouldn’t expect in a French-inspired boudoir), the harmonious color palette of burgundy, brown, and gold . . . Everything about this room is so carefully selected and perfectly appointed.

life curation · luxury · style

Major Home Changes Ahead . . .

Hey friends! I hope you all are staying safe, warm, and happy. As you all know, this blog is more than just art, beauty, food, and creativity. I’m also committed to sharing other aspects of my life that matters to me and that I hope can help you all.

Recently, I came to the realization that some of the stagnation I’d experienced in certain areas of my life are a reflection of my physical space. Back in 2019, I purchased my dream home. I spent the majority of 2020, and a good portion of 2021, sharing my most sacred space with my grandmother and her sister which was a beautiful experience but also stressful for a multitude of reasons. After my beloved relatives returned to their home, I had to restore the sanctity of my space. The presence of other people, who have drastically different perspectives, opinions, and needs, can “contaminate” the energy of a home. So, I’ve been committed to bringing the energy back to what I prefer.

I thought this could be done with small, cosmetic things, like new furniture, or adding some wreaths to the doors. But a recent clogged pipe, significant water damage, and a denied insurance claim, clarified for me that my floor needed to be replaced and I’ll be responsible for paying for it myself. I looked at my once beautiful hardwood floor, and made peace with the fact that it would be different, but still beautiful, once the repairs are done.

This isn’t the way that I wanted it to happen, but I can see that this is leading me in the direction that I need to go. I started looking at the other things that need to be repaired, tweaked or changed completely. My home doesn’t feel sacred anymore, but I can change things to make sure that I have a sanctified space that reflects all of my aesthetic desires. I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I’m up for the challenge. I’ll keep you all posted as I make changes.

That’s it for today. I’ve interspersed some pictures of inspirational home decor that I’ve collected from here and there. Who knows: maybe I’ll recreate some of these looks in the months to come!

beauty · style

A Tale of Three Reds

As we transition from cool to cold weather, I’m often faced with decisions about how to bring liveliness back into my personal appearance. I find that the chilly gray days give the entire landscape a dull cast that I feel is inadvertently absorbed into my aura. So, I do a lot of things to try to make sure that I’m not visually dull or boring.

The best way for me to do this is through my clothing and makeup. One of my goals for this year was to find an inexpensive, wearable red that would be very appropriate for a variety of occasions. I knew that I was getting close to reaching this goal when I stumbled upon 3 Revlon lipsticks at the Dollar Tree.

As a woman of color/Black American woman (particularly one with dark skin), we’re often encouraged to avoid colors that are too bright: red definitely falls into that category. However, I wholeheartedly believe that there is a shade of red for everyone. I also believe in a little act of rebellion here and there, and defining beauty for myself is a big part of that. I tested my “red is for everyone” theory by trying the three following shades of red: Rosewine (shade 225), Wine with Everything (shade 525), and Revlon Red (shade 730). You may be able to find the colors at your local Dollar Tree or drugstore; alternatively, you can pick them up on Amazon (I’ve already inserted hyperlinks for your convenience).

But I went a step further and filmed the lipstick try-on for you all. I hope you enjoy!

***This post contains affiliate links.

style

A New Style System to Explore: The Four Essence System

You all already know that I have studied and applied the style principles as explained by David Kibbe (my latest Kibbe-related posts include some more recent realizations as regards my style ID). I don’t limit myself to Kibbe’s philosophy, but I use it as the basis for understanding the technical aspects of dressing my body. However, I’m excited to share that I found another style system that works harmoniously with the Kibbe system but takes into account your personal energy, or essence, and how this impacts your presentation.

The system was developed by Rita, whose website, Style Thoughts by Rita, shares a different approach to style typing. Instead of strictly looking at the bone structure and how weight is distributed, Rita’s system considers essence and the overall impression of an individual. For our convenience, Rita has also created a YouTube channel chronicling her style revelations and experiments. I find her system to be wonderfully complementary to the Kibbe approach.

I determined that my essence is Right-Up, and I found quite a few confirmed and unofficial Soft Classics in this quadrant. I used their presence in the quadrant to confirm what I suspected. Rita created a video that explains the hallmarks of each essence, and each essence has its own “deep-dive” video. Here’s the explanation of the Four Essence System for women (the system also addresses men’s style essence in a separate video).

Seh goes further, and discusses the logic behind dressing using the Four Essence System. I found this video tremendously helpful, too.

Are any of you familiar with the system? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Rita’s ideas below!

style

Let’s Talk Kibbe Again . . .

Happy Monday, friends! I trust that your weekend was beautiful, relaxing, and enjoyable.

I wanted to start this week off with a topic that I’ve discussed before, that is sorely needs updating. I mentioned in a post a couple of years ago that I’m a Soft Classic in David Kibbe’s style ID system. While Mr. Kibbe has evolved in his approach to style ID-ing (he has created some new exercises to help aspiring style stars to learn their best lines), the fact remains that his previous style ID system works well for me and has led me on a path to having better understanding of what works for me and what doesn’t.

Here’s what I realize about Kibbe typing: the more you work with it, the more intuitive it becomes. Your intuition won’t always scream at you, “Buy it!” or “Don’t you dare buy it!” Something, the intuition comes as simple suggestions, like, “Hmm, this looks a little . . . off”, or “This would be perfect if . . . “. Repeat after me: life is too short to buy and wear clothes that only make you 80% happy. Yes, there may be some ordinary items (like that t-shirt you use when dyeing your hair or the skirt you wear when you’re practicing with your oil pastels) that don’t make you feel over the moon. But the vast (I mean, 90% of our wardrobe) should delight us. Kibbe’s system allows us to train our eyes for what truly works for us. Even if there isn’t much money for fashion in your budget, you can still spend some time training your eye, so when the perfect piece shows up at the perfect price, you’ll be ready. You’ll also save money by not buying any old thing, just so that you’ll feel like you have a “proper” wardrobe.

Another thing I realize about the Kibbe system is how much money and time I save by implementing this philosophy. Instead of mindlessly shopping because I don’t know what my wardrobe is “missing”, I’m very clear on what gaps exist in my wardrobe and which retailers can fill said gaps. Among the clothes I’ve kept, I have an adequate wardrobe that allows me to easily assemble a stylish ensembles that suits me perfectly. No more endless hours hunting for something that looks “just right’ on me; almost everything I own looks “perfect” on me. That could also be credited to the fact that I still, on a lesser level, embrace the Madame Chic capsule wardrobe approach, but it’s important to note that Kibbe’s philosophy and capsule dressing work well together.

I feel that most of the frustration over the Kibbe system comes from people not having an accurate view of themselves their bodies. A lot of people conflate their personality with their style ID, and that’s an approach that can lead you down the wrong style path. It can be hard to accept that your carefree personality doesn’t necessarily translate into being one of the Naturals, or your larger-than-life persona doesn’t automatically make you one of the Dramatics. But, by being honest about your bone structure and facial (and other) features, you can figure out a way to allow your style to be a perfect enhancement for your personality.

And don’t get me started on the “Classic” types: being any of the other types doesn’t mean that you possess less-than-classic beauty. In fact, some of the greatest beauties throughout the ages were Dramatics (Lena Horne), Soft Dramatics (Diahann Carroll), Theatrical Romantics (Dorothy Dandridge) and Romantics (Beyonce), Soft Gamine (Halle Berry AND Eartha Kitt), Flamboyant Gamines (Tina Turner) . . . You get the picture. But, in case the Naturals are feeling left out of the discussion, let me assure you: the vast majority of high-fashion models are Flamboyant Naturals. Janet Jackson, a woman that is objectively beautiful, is a Soft Natural. And these are only a few of the Black entertainers that have been classified by Kibbe: there are TONS of women, of all ethnicities, that are clearly beautiful and have a timelessness to their beauty that can be considered “classic”. However, just remember there is a difference between “classic” (anything that has remained high quality and outstanding over a period of time) and “Classic” (a term assigned to any person that has a moderate frame, fairly symmetrical features and a blend of curves and angles). There are classic (little “c”) beauties in all of the style IDs.

I have some tips for figuring out your Kibbe type without making things too complicated. I’ll share those in a future post, but until then, I hope you found some value in my random Kibbe-related thoughts. Talk to you all tomorrow!

life curation · style

Welcoming Autumn

Well friends, it’s the first day of autumn. Some of you may be quite happy with this, while others among us (namely, me) are sad to see summer end.

Yes, I know that unbearably hot temperatures are challenging for most people, especially those that live in my region (Mid-Atlantic USA). But I love the hot days and steamy nights. I love having sunshine until nearly 9 PM every night, leaving my home with no need for a jacket, and seeing the plants around me bloom and hit their annual peaks. Summer is undoubtedly my favorite season, and that won’t be changing anytime soon.

Meanwhile at my house …

However, since my ability to bend time, space and nature hasn’t fully developed yet, I will have to contend with the seasonal changes that come from living in this region. And, instead of being resistant to the point of obstinance, I felt that my best approach would be to embrace the change and make it feel festive. After this past year or so, who doesn’t need to feel more festive?

In honor of this seasonal change, I filmed a YouTube video featuring the autumn wreath I made for a family member. Also, I included a picture of my own autumn wreaths above (I had to make two since I have double doors). The video is a very easy and inexpensive DIY that can add a darling touch of autumn to your doorways, signaling the change from hot days to cool breezes, and lush green foliage to brilliant displays of gold, copper and cranberry. I hope you enjoy and, if you decide to make a wreath of your own, please let me know! I’d love to know how it turns out for you.

Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

life curation · relaxation · style

Making a House a Home

Happy Monday, friends! I trust that your weekend was safe, happy, and relaxing. It was another hot weekend in Virginia (my favorite type of weather!) so the weekend started and ended on a great note, as far as I’m concerned.

Today’s post is the first domestic one that I’ve done in quite some time. There would have been far more of these sort of posts this summer, but I ended up not planting my garden, so there were no flower or herb pictures to share. Also, a lot of my time during the pandemic was spent care for my grandmother and great-aunt. For that reason, I didn’t have much time to focus on the “fun” domestic activities that I’ll be talking about today.

That being said, my life is returning to normal. My grandmother and my great-aunt returned to their home, my health started to improve, and I finally had more free time to explore my creativity leanings. This newfound time freedom gave me the space to play around with craft ideas that, at one time, I didn’t think I’d have the time or energy to do.

So, in the upcoming weeks and months, I’ll be sharing all sorts of domestic posts and videos. I have an upcoming video where I feature a do-it-yourself autumn wreath that is beautiful, easy and inexpensive. I’ve also been tinkering with some foraging and wildcrafting recipes that I’m eager to share with you all. Today, however, I’m going to share a super-simple autumn-inspired tea recipe that I filmed last year, that will be perfect once the air starts to cool and the leaves start turning to red and gold.

I hope you all enjoy the video! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

style

My Latest Thrifted Finds

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had an amazing weekend. Here in the DMV region, the weather was rainy on Saturday and then we got typical summer heat on Sunday. I made the best of it, and I’m happy to welcome this new week.

I’ve thrifted for all of my life, though it isn’t always my first choice when it comes to certain ensembles. When I need something specific, I will go to either Amazon, Nordstrom or White House Black Market, where I’m (almost) guaranteed to find what I’m want. But, for unique ensembles and accessories, I prefer to thrift.

Here are some of my latest finds. I often go to one or two thrift stores a week, though there are periods where I don’t thrift for a few weeks at a time (this usually happens when my schedule is hectic). I’m thinking about writing a post on “How to Thrift”. If you’d like to see that, let me know in the comments below!

Peignoir set by Flora Nikrooz
Lace detailing on peignoir
Ceasikery faux wrap dress
Closeup of the faux wrap bodice
Vintage Bergdorf Goodman pleated dress
Closeup of the bodice
Tag inside the dress
Tahari shift dress
Gold detailing on the dress
Maggy London dress
Closeup of the architecture of the dress
Vintage dress by NPC Fashions
Closeup of the fabric
Back of the NPC Fashions dress

That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow, with a topic that I’ve been eager to discuss. Talk to you all soon!

life curation · luxury · style

My Luxury Purchase Goals Are Changing …

This one published before I could finish writing it! Here’s the finished post.

As I mentioned in last week’s post about my 2021 goals, I reflected upon my luxury purchase goals and something about it just didn’t resonate anymore. Make no mistake: I still LOVE luxury and I enjoy spending a bit more in order to have something truly unique or expertly crafted. However, I noticed that nowhere on my list were any designers of color.

And that, dear friends, is unacceptable.

I realize that there is a need to shine a bigger spotlight on creatives – especially in the fashion world – that are also people of color (POC). As a Black American woman that enjoys supporting local Black-owned businesses and creatives, I am eager to extend that same energy into my bigger purchases. So I’m revising my luxury purchase goal list to reflect only Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) designers. My purchase priority is also in that same order: I’m prioritizing Black American – specifically, American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) – creatives, then Indigenous creatives (especially Native American and other people indigenous to the Americas), and then other POC.

I’ve decided to rank my purchase priority in this way (placing special emphasis on ADOS creatives) because oftentimes these designers end up reinvesting into other ADOS designers. I admire any group that prioritizes the fostering and development of talent of individuals that share their background and culture. As someone that admires this trait, I’m delighted that I as an ADOS, can participate in encouraging the development of ADOS talent by supporting ADOS designers.

While I’m excited to start actively supporting BIPOC designers, that takes me back to teh drawing board as regards my luxuruy list. I need to research new designers and figure out who excels in the kinds of designs that I favor. On the bright side, this exercise will force me to be more specific when it comes to filling gaps in my wardrobe. I’ll be more focused on getting items that truly “complete” my closet, instead of just buying things because I feel like spending some money.

In the weeks to come, I’ll share more details as I craft my new luxury purchase list, and I’ll let you all know what items I’ve purchased as I go through the remainder of the year.

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