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 · relaxation · wine

Glimmers of My Future Life

I completed a workshop a few days ago, and the goal of the entire program was to see my future life and lining up with that reality. Here’s the thing: if you have a vision, you can absolutely create it. But there’s a catch: you can unravel your dream by being unprepared and overwhelmed. The best way to create a dream life that you can sustain is to get ready for it now.

One of the exercises I completed was to bring an object from my future reality into my current world. I sat quietly and the idea came to me: champagne flutes. My future self always has something to celebrate, so she’d have gorgeous champagne flutes at the ready. I went ahead and ordered glasses from a collection named after one of my totem animals, the Black Swan.

I realized that my recent order history has several items that reflect my future self and what’s normal for her. I had essential oils that smell incredible and have cultural significance (both scents are Southern-inspired). I combined these to make a lusciously scented body oil. My future self is always glowing, hydrated and smelling fabulous.

Speaking to my hydrated, silky-skinned future self, I also know that maintaining the softness of my skin is a priority, both now and in the future. So I invest regularly in exfoliating products and debriding creams. I re-purchased my debriding cream recently (I just finished up my supply), and I will be repurchasing my facial exfoliating pads if I don’t get the result I desire from some of the other exfoliating products I want to try.

Finally, my future self is prepared for emergencies and makes sure that herself and her family. My future self isn’t undertaking this responsibility by herself (my future husband is at my side, being even more prepared than I am!) But, having emergency supplies always ready is something she prioritizes. I ordered some additional “bug out” bags a few days ago, for my grandmother and her sister (I already have some at my house).

Those are some of the glimmers of my future self, as well as little ways that I’m acclimating to my dream life. How have you all been injecting little bits of your “dream life” into your current reality? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links.

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 · culture · life curation · luxury

Artful Moments

It’s Women’s History Month, and I wanted to share some art created by a female artist of yesteryear: one that is especially meaningful when considered through the lens of current issues.

Artemisia Gentileschi is (I believe) the only female Renaissance artist with surviving pieces credited to her. She painted in a style similar to Caravaggio (my favorite Renaissance artist) and was brilliant and skilled in her own right: she was particularly gifted when it came to portraying the female body and in her use of light and colors. Unfortunately, most of what we were originally told about her was related to the fact that she was raped by fellow artist Agostino Tassi (who was convicted of rape after the case went to trial). It’s a shame that this gifted artist was, for many years, known as a victim that transferred her own trauma into art.

Gentileschi is so much more than what she experienced, and I’m glad that art historians are finally giving her story the balanced interpretation that it deserves. As someone that just learned about her in the past few years, I never thought I’d get to see her work in person (there really aren’t that many Renaissance art pieces by high profile artists outside of the major museums in large cities) without traveling outside of my city.

However, there was a surprise for me, waiting right at my local museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Art. As I browsed the Renaissance section, I stopped at a lovely painting that I hadn’t noticed before. I looked at the identification card and, lo and behold, there was a Gentileschi painting!

I’m so glad that I got to experience the creative genius of Gentileschi right in my own backyard. I really liked her use of light in the painting: it looks like someone had just opened a window and let it stream across Venus’s body. I also love that Cupid remains only partially in the light, emphasizing him as minor (secondary) to his mother Venus, the goddess of love. In this portrait, Venus (the embodiment of all sorts of love, prosperity and fertility) is the star, and Cupid (a symbol of erotic and passionate love/lust) is in a supporting role. I interpret this as the passion of lust is unable to outshine the vastness of real love, and I suspect that even the source of light depicted wouldn’t shine quite so brightly if Cupid was the only subject of this painting.

Another thing: I really enjoyed the depiction of Cupid fanning his mother, showing him in service to her. It makes me think of how lust and passion are at their best when they are in service to higher forms of love. (Just a personal takeaway).

I just wanted to share that moment with you, because I still love art and find inspiration in it. I hope this post inspires you, too! Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

finance · goals · luxury

My First Purchase – and Sale – of Bitcoin

Do you all remember when I said that I wanted to bring some deeper topics to this blog? I said that back in 2021, when I made a list of the types of discussions I want to do on this blog. In that post, I said that financial chats would be part of my 2022 postings, and here I am, ready to talk money!

I purchased Bitcoin for the first time ever in the past 18 months (I was late to the trend, though I knew how it worked and was interested in experimenting with this as a way to diversify my investments). You may recall that I wrote about Bitcoin in a post from 2018.I’d been contemplating investing since before I wrote the post, but I finally pulled the trigger and invested. Then, after a few months, I pulled out *some* of my investment. I needed to redirect that money toward one of my home renovation projects, and that felt like a better investment for me at this time.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I used CashApp to purchase my Bitcoin, though you can purchase cryptocurrency on a number of different platforms. If you want to invest in crypto of any sort, your best bet is to do a lot of research on the investment vehicle that you’ve chosen, and get clear on your hold/fold thresholds (what amount of loss you’re willing to tolerate, what amount of gains are comfortable before you start feeling antsy about possible future loss, and what amount you can reach before you cash out). Crypto investing is just like any other investment, so you can walk away whenever you want.

Since I sold a portion of my Bitcoin, I have to do additional research on how to properly report the sale on my tax return. I submitted my return before I got a (delinquent) income statement, so I have to amend it anyways, so this is a good time to get more familiar with how I should report my crypto sale. I took a crypto loss last year, so whatever crypto amounts end up being reported shouldn’t create an additional liability. It’ll be interested to see the further legislation that comes out regarding cryptocurrency, since this is a medium of exchange that will continue to grow, expand, and become more widely accepted.

That’s my little tale of how I forayed into the world of crypto. Over on my finance website, I plan to discuss these sorts of things more often (I’ll actually be adding more details and resharing this post over on there by the end of this week). If you have any crypto questions, I’m happy to direct you to the same resources that I use. In these days and times, there is nothing more important than knowing your options and using these options deftly. And the only way to do that is to read, learn, and try it for yourself.

That’s it for today! I hope you all are doing well. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

culture · international

Just In Time for International Women’s Day . . .

I recently saw this great post about the first person to ever win the Whisky Magazine’s American Icons of Whisky Awards Master Blender of the Year Award in consecutive years. In an unprecedented win, Victoria Eady Butler, a fifth generation distiller and descendant of Nearest Green, the man credited as the skill and talent behind the Jack Daniel formula, was awarded this prestigious title two years in a row.

Victoria Eady Butler (photo credit: V. E. Butler)

As someone that has a growing appreciation for whiskey, I’m excited to see women entering this space and being recognized for their skills. This is especially fitting today, as it is also International Women’s Day. I love that we live in a time where women are entering spaces that were previously “closed”, and we are leaving our marks on history. What a time to be alive!

I plan to try Uncle Nearest whiskey soon, and I’ll be sure to post my review! Until then, you can check out the brand here, and learn more about the fascinating family that now has an award-winning brand.

Anyways . . . That’s the post. I know, pretty brief, but that’s because the regularly schedule post has been pushed to Thursday so that I could share the good news of Victoria Eady Butler’s win on International Women’s Day.

Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

beauty · culture · hollywood glamour · luxury · style

A Review of Emeraude (As Worn By Billie Holiday)

Recently, over on my YouTube, I’ve been experimenting with a lot of fragrances. I love the transformative power that can be experienced by changing the scent you wear: the right perfume can make you feel invincible!

I decided to research some of the fragrances worn by old Hollywood stars, and I was really excited to discover the fragrances worn by some of my favorites. I researched these scents and I found that some of them were extremely affordable. So I figured, “Why not?” and bought some bottles.

The first scent I purchased was Emeraude by Coty. This was the fragrance preferred by none other than Lady Day, Billie Holiday. The notes of the fragrance are as follows:

  • Top notes: Bergamot, Lemon and Orange
  • Middle notes: Brazilian Rosewood, Ylang-Ylang, Jasmine and Rose
  • Base notes: Opoponax, Benzoin, Vanilla, Amber, Sandalwood and Patchouli
Lady Day herself, Billie Holiday (as seen in the movie New Orleans)
Emeraude by Coty, Billie’s fragrance of choice

This fragrance is peculiar to me: not in a bad way, but in a good way. The perfume is citrusy before and immediately after spraying, then it quickly diffuses into a soft but earthy bouquet, and dries down to a warm and slightly sweet essence. The peculiar part is, throughout all of this, the perfume retains powdery notes, which I didn’t expect. When I first read the list of notes, I figured this would be bright, spicy, and then mellow. So to have the essence of baby powder lingering while wearing it was completely unexpected, but nice.

I have more information about the scent in the YouTube video, which I’ll insert below. But, you can always pick up a bottle to try it for yourself: it was less than $12 USD (I’ve seen it sold for as little as $9) so it is extremely accessible and, if you don’t like it, you can probably easily resell it or give it away. Full disclosure: while this is powdery and rather soft, I find it does smell a bit . . . dated (the formulation is over 100 years old!). This is definitely for someone that wants a unique scent that isn’t syrupy sweet or overwhelmingly floral. Also, this is a cologne spray, so it won’t have the same longevity as, say, an eau de parfum. So if you love it, prepare to refresh your fragrance at least once during the day. But at $9-12 per bottle, using the product more frequently probably won’t be a huge issue.

That’s it for today! I hope you all are having a great week, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

  • This post contains affiliate links.
beauty · culture · hollywood glamour · international · luxury · style

Kibbe Soft Classic Chat – Grace Kelly

As promised in a previous post, I want to start exploring some of deeper aspects of the concepts that interest me, and that I’ve previously discussed on the blog. In particular, I’m very interested in understanding the intersection between art, design and life, as well as the ways we can use the arts to support us in living our best lives.

To start these discussions, I want to begin with one of my favorite topics: the Kibbe Style ID system. The Kibbe system has been updated by David Kibbe in recent years but the overall concept is the same: there are certain style “IDs” that people fit in, and these style IDs can give us insight into the kind of clothing, accessories and hairstyling we can utilize to best present our physical selves. The style ID category that I fall into is Soft Classic (SC).

I’m in good company with the SC category: quite a few famous beauties share this ID (if you are interested in some of the women that are in other Kibbe categories, check out this post). The most famous of the SCs is probably Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco.

Kibbe previously classified Grace as a Classic, but, after further consideration, he decided that a pure Classic category was too rare in nature to warrant its own group. Thus, Grace was reclassified as a SC. I won’t go into all of the features that make her a SC (you can undoubtedly find this information on numerous websites and YouTube). But I will discuss how her style and energy influenced her persona, and how she used fashion to mold her public perception.

A collection worth checking out: Grace Kelly: A Life In Pictures

The effect: The Eternal Princess

Even before she official became a princess, Grace had a royal look. This was, in part, due to her incredible bone structure and slim physique, but her styling played a heavy role in looking the part of a princess. The clothing she wore onscreen often featured fitted bodices in flattering colors, and these were often short sleeved or sleeveless (a perfect way to display perfectly toned arms). She didn’t often wear shorts or skirts with calves or knees exposed. This was partly due to the fashion trends of the time, but these also perpetuated the reserved image that is often seen in royal families.

SCs often look better in the structured and symmetrical garments favored during the 1950s/early 1960s (think Dior’s New Look era). Generally speaking, these items are feminine in silhouette but not overly embellished. Considering that Grace’s Hollywood career occurred during the New Look period, she was literally the right woman at the right time to wear these clothes. She has the perfect look for the clothing that was most popular during this time.

In addition to the clothes she wore, Grace also wore perfect SC hair and makeup. Her blond coiffure was always immaculately styled, with hair having rounded shapes but remaining sleek overall. She wore defined lips, flawless foundation, and gently enhanced eyes, allowing her facial balance to shine. This period was perfect for her look, as it occurred after the dramatically tweezed and redrawn brows and beestung lips of the 1920s and 30s, but before the heavily enhanced eye makeup and exaggerated hair of the 1960s.

The look of this period – reserved, elegant, structured but soft where it counts – are all traits that are often associated with elite women, specifically, royals. So Grace’s leveraging of these trends helped form the public opinion of her being queenly (indeed, she was considered an “ice princess” or “ice queen”, though her costars all agreed that she was quite the opposite [warm and friendly, by all accounts]). In many ways, Grace “dressed the part” of royal before she and Prince Rainier III ever crossed paths. Her sartorial assimilation into royal life in Monaco must have been fairly easy for her.

Book discussing Grace Kelly’s fashion: Grace Kelly Style by Kristina Haugland

My takeaways from Grace’s style aren’t new information, but I’ll still state them briefly: dress for the life that you want, and wear the designs that work for your unique style ID. We’ve heard that we have to “dress for success”, and success can be whatever you define it as. So, if you want the life of a royal, dress like one (within reason and your budget, of course). And if you know your style ID, experiment with the recommended silhouettes to find a look that works for you. After all, this whole journey is about figuring out what works, and discarding what doesn’t.

That’s it for this style ID/SC chat. I hope you all are having a fabulous February! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

(This post includes affiliate links)

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.

business · goals · health · international · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

December Goal Updates

Hey friends! This is my last goal update for the year, and I wanted to take some time to look over the things that I mentioned as my “goals” in 2021. Of course, you can look up my old goal posts for more info (like this one here, here, here, and this one here, too). But in this post, I’m going to re-share my original list, and let you know how all of this turned out for 2021.

Here’s my 2021 goal list:

  • Publish 5 books
  • Lose 15 lbs
  • Manifest 3 international trips
  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses
  • Read 100+ books
  • Luxury purchases – Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Sophia Webster, Ralph & Russo
  • Cure my fibromyalgia

So let’s take it point by point, shall we?

I published my 5 books, and actually published more than that. Yay me!

I gained weight, instead of losing it. I figured out that I am likely heavier because of my prescription medication, and that’s fine. I’ve transitioned off of those meds, and now I’m getting my body back into balance. It’s a process, and I’m giving myself time to figure all of this out without judging my body for being a bit heavier. In most cases, you gotta make peace before you can make progress, so that’s what I’m doing.

No international travel! But, I did manifest a local trip for free, which was nice. I also have several international trips lined up for 2022 (as in, flights purchased and deposits paid). I’m confident that I’ll have my wings again in no time.

My businesses didn’t earn 6 figures however, I did reach an all-time income high for my businesses, which was very exciting. It only goes up from here!

I read somewhere between 85-90 books. I had to slow down during these last couple of months of the year, which was the time I scheduled to catch up due to some slower periods during the first part of the year. However, I’m still SUPER proud of how many books I’ve read. I’m sure I’ll read more than 100 books next year with no issue!

I bought some luxury items, but I decided I’d rather support Black American luxury designers in the future. I’m saving some coins for my next big luxury purchase, which I’m pretty sure I’ll have before the end of the season (if all goes well).

My fibro isn’t cured, but I’m learning a LOT about how to heal my body, and I’m seeing that eliminating the symptoms is possible. I’m also seen some positive effects after removing my medications (not nearly as exhausted or achy as I thought I’d be). For all of this, I’m thankful, and I’m going to press on and share information as I get it in this upcoming year.

Well, that’s my super-fast summary of my 2021 goals. I don’t anticipate posting a 2022 goal list because it doesn’t quite resonate with the direction where I want to take this blog, but if I’m inspired to do something different, then you’ll see a goal list in 2022. But, if you want to know more about my upcoming 2022 plans, check out Tuesday’s post (two days ago), or click here.

That’s all, folks! Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!