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.


A New Way of Defining Luxury

Since purchasing my home last year, I have thought carefully of what I consider to be luxurious when it comes to my surroundings. I am committed to creating a beautiful, inviting space that feels opulent and elegant. But, I had this nagging feeling that maybe I’m “missing the mark” when it comes to TRUE luxury.

Untitled design (10)

An opulent room that is just a wee bit too extravagant for me

I got back to basics and look at what defines luxury. Luxury is –

“the state of great comfort and extravagant living”

Luxury, then, could be filling a space with items that cost significant amounts of money (that would be extravagant but not necessarily tasteful). But this lacks the personal taste that I want to infuse into my space. I want my version of luxury to reflect my own preferences, regardless of the cost of the items.

In this way, a new (or better) way of defining luxury for myself is creating a beautiful and comfortable environment irrespective of the cost of the objects I buy. And true luxury could also include the intentional absence of excess, as well, so long as the absence of excess creates more comfort in my space.

I’m curious about minimalism but I’m not committed to the aesthetic. So while minimalism has defined luxury for many affluent Gen-Xers and Millenials over the past couple of decades, I’m declining to hop onto that trend, and I’m aiming for a balance between excess and the Spartan approach.

So far, I’ve added some art, antique furniture, and a few rugs. However, I’m not aiming to cover every surface of my home: I’m content to have a few things here and there to display my personal flair without cramming each room. I’ve got a lot more to do before the house is exactly where I want it to be, but I’m delighted that I’m defining luxury for myself and enjoying my home in the process.

That’s all for today, friends. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!


My Next Shoe Purchase

This is going to be a brief post, because this is a BUSY week!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I LOVE a creatively designed pair of shoes. I also love supporting true artisans, so it was only a matter of time before I sought out shoes that marry my love of creative design and excellent craftsmanship.

I was recently introduced to Aminah Abdul Jillil from a fashionista on FB. I didn’t realize it, but I’d been seeing Aminah’s designs all over a bunch of blogs but I never knew the name behind the designs. So yeah, I’m late to the party, but I’m glad I arrived. Her shoes are DROOLWORTHY. Just look at these beauties:


Champagne Open Toe Pumps by Aminah Abdul Jillil

Considering the cost of most designer shoes, Aminah’s designs are downright affordable. These will be perfect for showing off the results of my foot exfoliation treatment. I can’t wait to purchase my first pair! When I get them, I’ll be sure to share photos and review them.


life curation · luxury

Adventures at Anthropologie

While spending time with my best girlfriends in Charlotte, we made a stop in Anthropologie. I don’t think I’ve ever shopped at Anthropologie, mainly because my personal tastes were VERY different from what they offer. However, my tastes are changing, and I was open to seeing if they had some things that I would enjoy.

Wouldn’t you know it, I barely looked at the clothing because I got caught up in the books and stationery section. The BOOKS called my name, y’all! I was in heaven among all of the journals, planners, and self-care guides. I was among kindred spirits, because my friends were also stuck in the same section LOL!

One of the planners that I purchased during my Anthropologie trip (you can buy it here)

I kept picking up books and putting them back, because if I’m not careful, I’ll buy them all! So many great planners for those that are interested in living well curated and mindful lives.


The other book I purchased (you can buy it here)

But my delight didn’t stop with the paper goods. Anthropologie also has a beauty section, including fragrances. You all know that I’m a sucker for perfume. They sell one of my favorite brands, Tocca. I refrained from purchasing, since I already have some great perfumes that I’m using right now. But as soon as I finish using them, I’m stocking up!


Tocca’s Florence is a sumptuous fragrance that I’ve worn

Maybe next time I visit Anthropologie I’ll actually spend some time browsing their fashions. There’s a lot to see in this store, and I simply couldn’t do it all during this trip. Do you have any favorite picks from Anthropologie? Let me know in the comments below!

life curation · style

Preparing for Spring: Wardrobe Ideas

Since doing the Kibbe test and confirming that I’m a Soft Classic, I’ve been spending time brainstorming what pieces I should add to my wardrobe. I want to add some whimsy to my wardrobe (along the lines of the Joe Browns line) but I honestly look best in clean, streamlined silhouettes.

Using the Soft Classic information I gleaned from the Truth Is Beauty website, I found that Naomie Harris is one of the few Black celebrities that falls into this category. And when Naomie gets it right, honey, she absolutely knocks it out of the park. I’m loving the fact that she appears to have a neutral undertone that leans toward coolness (much like my own). So I should be able to wear most of the same shades that she does, since our coloring is similar.


Photo of Naomie Harris (courtesy of InStyle magazine)

So, I don’t have a red carpet lifestyle – yet. So my daily wardrobe can’t be quite as ornate as Naomie’s. But I can draw some inspiration from the way that she styles herself. Here are a few items I’m considering adding this spring:

A duster in pale taupe or light gray


Naomie at a Calvin Klein show (from Business of Fashion)

The key to making this look classy (and not sloppy on my frame) is to make sure that it has some moderate structure, light tailoring and minimal frills.

This light tan trench by Aphratti gets pretty close to Naomie’s look. A belt gives some extra definition in the waist.

A magenta blazer


Naomie at the 2014 BAFTA Awards (from Elle)

Structured but undeniably feminine, a bright blazer in an intense pink hue would be a great addition to my wardrobe. a 3/4 length sleeve is perfect for me, so I’ll aim for a blazer that closely replicates the top half of Naomie’s dress. I couldn’t find anything quite like this yet, but if I do, I’ll be sure to post it here!


Sunny A-line dress


At the Spectre press conference (from Vogue UK)

An A-line dress that skims gracefully over the hips but remains tailored in the waist is great for creating the hourglass silhouette.

Screenshot 2018-03-16 at 12.21.01 AM - Edited

The Eva Square Neck Midi Skater Dress is a bright yellow that isn’t too acid or too warm.

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Another option is the Zoey Sleeveless Cut Out Mixi Skater Dress: no cleavage but the side cutouts keeps it sassy.

Pale blue or green chiffon skirt (tea length)


Naomie at the Mandela screening (from The Fashion Spot)

A pale blue, gauzy skirt is soft and unique. It’s the kind of signature piece that can be dressed up or dressed down.

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This crepe skirt from Boohoo is giving me a similar vibe (the Neave Crepe Pleated Mini Skirt). It isn’t as soft as the chiffon material that Naomie is wearing, but the below-the knee length and structured pleating gives the garment more shape.

Drape-y satin blouse in oyster white, pewter or champagne


With Olivia Palermo at the launch of Maison Makarem (from Getty Images)

I’ve always shimmery satin tops in pearlescent hues. Add some careful pleating and draping, and I should be able to get the Greek goddess effect without getting lost in a sea of fabric. I’m still looking for one of these, so if I find it, I’ll post it here as well.

That’s all of my ideas for now. I suspect that I’ll continually refine and improve on this list, and as I do, I’ll share it all here.

reading list

Book Review: The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

As you all know, my January book review was overdue because of my wonderfully restorative Nairobi vacation. Now, I’m finally giving you all my (very late!) review of Tim Ferriss’s “The Four Hour Work Week”.

This book has been around for about ten years, and it focuses on showing entrepreneurs and employees how to minimize their work hours and maximize their life enjoyment. Tim’s methodical approach to reducing work and creating systems that allow more freedom and income is nothing short of inspirational.

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The author, Tim Ferriss (photo from his website)

Tim provides specific steps for making money online and negotiating remote work agreements, so that readers can start spending more of their time in meaningful, life-enriching activities. I am a big fan of any materials that encourage people to create truly satisfying lives, so Tim’s message definitely resonated with me.

The book is voluminous so I won’t give a chapter-by-chapter overview like I did with The Best Year of Your Life, but I will confirm that the book includes testimonials and hacks that could be very useful to anyone that is willing to give it a try.

My only advice for this book would be to focus on implementing the concepts and principles first, because jumping directly into the Income Autopilots could be an exercises in frustration and futility. While I think the framework for Income Autopilots is effective, the book *is* ten years old and the Internet has changed a lot. That being said, having the groundwork – the mindset and approach as explained by Tim – in place already would prevent some of the mistakes that may come from trying to implement older strategies. Also, I’d advise that any interested readers be sure to listen to Tim’s podcast, as this is consistently updated with Tim’s most recent tips, hacks and life advice.

Overall, this is a great book for any aspiring entrepreneurs or for employees that are ready to create some real work/life balance. I’ll be referring to it throughout the year, as I’m interested in trying some of Tim’s techniques to see if I can increase my income and reduce my reliance upon my current employment.


Review: Leezeshaw Dress

I was hesitant to do this review, because I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t recommending a poorly made product. Leezeshaw is one of the many Chinese companies that sell clothing on Amazon, and if you have ordered from one of these companies before, you know the problems that can occur.

For starters, most Chinese vendors use Chinese fit models, which means that the clothing is fitted to the bodies of women that are overwhelmingly rectangular-shaped (not much difference between the bust, waist and hip measurements). This is okay if you are also rectangular-shaped, but for women with hourglass, apple, or cone shapes, this means that the garment will not fit properly.

There’s also the issue of size conversion. You have to carefully read the item descriptions to see how to convert from Chinese to US sizes. One misstep, and you’ll have a garment that doesn’t fit and costs a fortune to send back. I’ve done this and ended up just giving the item to charity: shipping it back to the vendor wasn’t worth the cost or hassle.

So it’s with careful consideration that I’m bringing you this post. I purchase this Leezeshaw dress last winter, right before New Years Day. I ordered it in a size large (even though, in US sizes, I bounce between sizes 6 and 8). The dress has a vintage shape that appealed to me. I am pleased to say that this dress was a home run: 

I’ve worn it to work multiple times, and it is still in fabulous condition. I wash it in a lingerie bag, just to prevent some of the damage that can come from washer machine agitation. Here’s how the dress looks while wearing it:

Since this shade of white is more like a winter white, I’ve worn it all year round. The dress has long sleeves, so it’s suitable for cool days but it’s unlined, so it can also be worn on warm days, too (it’s perfect for offices that believe that subarctic air conditioning temps are appropriate during the summer). During the winter months, I often layer this dress with leggings and a silk slip underneath for warmth. I also wear knee-high boots that offer even more warmth.

This dress is elegant and classy, and it’s also affordable at $25.99. I am considering adding some more Leezeshaw pieces to my wardrobe soon!

life curation

The Best Love Affair Is . . .

. . . The love affair you have with yourself.


(courtesy of Pixabay)

Take time to nurture yourself, embrace the beauty of every moment and BREATHE. You’ve got this.


(courtesy of Pinterest)

Take time to relax and do the things that make you feel ALIVE!


(Courtesy of Dreamstime)


(Courtesy of VideoBlocks)

Have you gotten into the habit of getting into an amazing love affair with yourself? If you haven’t, I encourage you to give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.



Review: Ginger + Liz Nail Polish

During my massive beauty haul nearly two months ago, I purchased a bunch of cosmetics and also a few nail polishes. However, I hadn’t had a chance to try out the new polishes until recently. As a result, this review is a bit late, but better late than never, right?

I decided to try Ginger + Liz nail polishes. This indie brand isn’t quite so small anymore: it gained quite a bit of notoriety when Beyonce wore Ginger + Liz’s “Boss Lady” nail polish in her 2013 H&M Summer campaign. The line is known for creating nontoxic, vegan friendly nail polishes in both classic and trendy shades. The polish collection has a little something for everyone.

As pretty as “Boss Lady” is, I know that red shades with orange undertones aren’t flattering on my skin tone. So I opted out of purchasing that shade. But I was still curious enough about the brand to try some of the other shades. I ended up selecting Catch the Bouquet (CTB) and Happy Wife Happy Life (HWHL) (LOL, I see a theme with the names of the shades I chose!)


(from the left: Catch the Bouquet and Happy Wife Happy Life)

“Catch the Bouquet” is described as, “a pastel pink with pearl undertones. The perfect nail colour for your demure looks, walking down the aisle, or catching the bouquet.” “Happy Wife Happy Life” is, “a textured rose pink foil metallic with contrasting pink tones of holographic glitter and tiny black specs for extra dimension.” I found the descriptions to be accurate for both shades.

The polishes dried in an average amount of time, and the smell was the same as your standard nail polish scent. I did two layers of “Catch the Bouquet” without any base coat or top coat, and I was pleased with the wear (it lasted several days without chipping). Just for the sake of seeing the color and intensity of the polish, I swatched the polishes on white paper and plain (unpainted) press on nails.


Swatches on white paper: (left to right) “Happy Wife Happy Life” and “Catch the Bouquet”

(l to r: plain nails, one layer of “Catch the Bouquet” and “Happy Wife Happy Life”, two layers of the polishes)

Out of curiousity, I decided to layer “HWHL” over “CTB” and when I tell you I fell in LOVE with the layered look …


The layered look (HWHL over CTB)


(l to r) The layered nail look vs. two layers of HWHL

I love the colors and the lasting power. The line continues adding new shades, so I’ll be sure to try more of Ginger + Liz’s products in the future!






life curation · style

Clothing Solutions 101


(Photo courtesy of ClipArtPanda)

Recently, one of my friends came to me with a dilemma. She dripped a bit of salad dressing on one of her favorite tops. She lamented over how the oil in the dressing had practically “ruined” her top. I’ll admit: I was genuinely confused. I had spilled salad dressing, coconut oil, frying grease, and a host of other oils onto different outfits and I never considered them “ruined”. Then it occurred to me: I didn’t think those items were ruined because I knew how to get the oil stain out of them. I told her my trick, she tried it, and she raved about how well it worked. I’ll tell you all about my trick in a moment.

That conversation inspired me to write this post. So many of us invest in beautiful, long-lasting pieces, and we want those items to look as stellar as possible for a long time. So when we encounter clothing issues, like awful stains, it can be a bit frustrating. But I’m going to share some of my household go-tos, which I’ve used consistently to preserve and retain the appearance of my clothing.

My first recommendation is Dryel. This at-home dry cleaning system not only leaves your clothing look like they just came from your favorite cleaners, but the concentrated stain removal solution enclosed in the kit is amazing. I’ve used that stain remover so many times, and you only need a little bit. One bottle tends to last me quite a while, even when I find myself using it regularly.

Lingerie bags are my next favorite laundry item. I used to buy them on a nearly monthly basis, until I purchased the ones made by ATopDay. These are the most durable lingerie bags I’ve ever owned. They are made of fine mesh, so they seem to protect your clothing better than the wide mesh that is usually found in lingerie bags. The price on these have doubled since I last purchased them but, given the number of lingerie bags I’ve purchased over the years, even the doubled priced still seems to be a good value. However, there’s a good chance that you can find these at a lower price, so feel free to shop around for the best value.

About that oil stain I mentioned in the first paragraph . . . Baby powder is the cure. The trick is to apply the baby powder to the oil stain, and pat it a bit. Allow it to sit for at least an hour, though I usually let mine sit overnight, or until I wash it (which could be two or three days later). After letting it sit for a period of time, launder the item and check to see if the stain is completely gone. Sometimes, the oil is pretty persistent; in those cases, I do the baby powder treatment again. No oil stains seem to last through that second powder treatment.


(photo courtesy of StockUnlimited)

Baby wipes are another fantastic item to have around (I don’t know what it is with the baby products, but they are fabulous for laundry!). I use these to remove stains from clothing as soon as the spills occur, but I also use these to quickly remove and pretreat stains before laundering. These are good to keep in your glove compartment and in your laundry room.

My handheld steamer is my last favorite laundry item. This is great for knocking out the wrinkles that the dryer may have missed. I love using this on scarves and delicate lingerie as well: it gently removes wrinkles without too much direct heat.

The steamer I own is the Crazo Garment Steamer, pictured above.


Do you have any laundry tricks you’d like to share? Tell me in the comments below!