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.

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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.

luxury · beauty

Review: Roja Parfums Gulf Collection Perfumes

One of my friends – a stylish globetrotter with impeccable taste – encouraged me to try some luxurious perfumes that she adores. As a self-professed perfume fanatic, and a lover of all things luxury, I was up to the challenge. I was excited to try something new!

The perfumer she recommended, Roja Parfums, has sumptuous scents that are highly concentrated and intoxicating. I purchased a sample set from Lucky Scent, featuring a collection of fragrances inspired by the aromas of the Gulf region. The Gulf Collection has six scents, each named after a different Middle Eastern/Gulf-area country: the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman, and United Arab Emirates. The scents all contain oud and are described as orientals due to their spicy aroma.


My samples from Lucky Scent

You can feel free to click on the country names above to get the scent profiles for each of the fragrances, because listing out all of notes would take FOREVER! My personal favorite was the Kingdom of Bahrain: it has citrusy top notes (including lemon and lime) but a vanilla and leather base note that are warm, sensual and erotic. I have to apply carefully during the daytime, since the scent is sexy and tends to be better suited for the evening.


Photo of The Kingdom of Bahrain, from the Roja Parfums website

These are among some of the priciest perfumes on the market, costing more than $500 for a 50mL bottle. But the smaller atomizers are more affordable, at approximately $80 each. The fragrances are concentrated enough that even a small amount should last for quite some time. You definitely get value for your money!

Any other perfume addicts out there? Let me know about some of your favorite brands in the comments below!

art · luxury

Art Collectors Conundrum: Culture Clash

As explained in previous posts, Art Collectors Conundrum explores the current issues surrounding art collecting. There are a lot of different issues that impact new collectors as they journey into the art world, and one of those big issues is the dissonance that exists between aesthetic indulgences and minimalist ideals.

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Betye Saar, Blow Top Blues, The Fire Next Time (1998)

The thing is, the culture of today’s wealthy – especially wealthy millenials – leans more toward minimalism and less toward acquisition of material goods. Any time spent on social media will confirm the “shift” from a culture of excess to one of spartan decorating practices. Many millenials favor the bare walls and monochrome decor that makes for clear, appealing Instagram photos. And, if they select art, the art often lacks the color, texture and excitement that used to be favored by collectors.


Betye Saar, Indigo Mercy (1975)

In short, this cultural clash results in fewer “new” big spenders. Bloomberg wrote about the “new elite” and their artistic tastes. The article points out that location has much to do with the cultural difference, too: East Coast “new money” tends to buy art in the more traditional fashion, while West Coast “new money” isn’t as interested in purchasing pricey art “for arts’ sake”.

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Betye Saar, Twilight Awakening (1978)

The key to luring in these potential art investors isn’t as simple as one would think. The most important thing to remember about the new wealthy is that they are earning their fortunes much earlier than the wealthy of previous generations. They just aren’t as likely to be focused on art collecting if they are buying their first homes and starting families.

An interesting way to get the new wealthy interested in collecting could be an art loan program, which allows them to enjoy works for a fixed period of time and then they can purchase the work if they want, or turn it back over to the gallery to “try out” something different. It isn’t a perfect solution but it would provide them with some exposure to fine art and would help them hone in on their personal tastes and preferences.

Those are some of my thoughts on overcoming the dissonance between minimalist goals and owning art. What are your thoughts? Feel free to share your comments below!

(all art by Betye Saar and in the National Gallery of Arts collections)

food · international

Review: Carnivore Restaurant

While in Nairobi, I made the pilgrimage to Carnivore restaurant. This meat lovers haven is similar to the Brazilian churrascaria, with endless rounds of barbecued meats. While I’ve never eaten at a churrascaria, I couldn’t leave Nairobi without trying the local fare.

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Yes, I ordinarily adhere to a vegetarian/pescatarian diet. I was a bit nervous about eating meat after going so long without it. However, the meat served at Carnivore is all local animals that have not been fed the toxic ingredients often provided to animals sold commercial in the US.

I tried the following meats, which were barbecued and sliced at my table:

  • Ostrich
  • Crocodile
  • Lamb
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Turkey

My camera was dying while I was out, so I didn’t get as many pictures as I wanted. In any case, here are a few photos from my Carnivore adventure:


Grill as seen when first entering the restaurant.


Place setting and fresh maize (corn) as an appetizer. Maize isn’t as sweet as what’s usually offered in American restaurants. I prefer this more savory varietal.


Soup prior to enjoying our meal. I meant to ask what kind of soup this was, but I forgot to inquire before the entrees were served.


Lamb and beef. I haven’t had either meat in many years: it was tender and savory, just like I remember LOL


One of my favorite desserts, the blondie. It was delicious!

I enjoyed my Carnivore experience immensely! While I wouldn’t make it a habit (I don’t know if my body could handle so much meat on a frequent basis), I’m glad that I tried it during my Nairobi visit.

Have any of you visited Carnivore? Let me know all about your experience in the comments below!

hollywood glamour · style

Review: “I Love My Bag” Documentary

Hi darlings! I’m wrapping up my international trip (I will allow one more day for someone to correctly guess my vacation location, then I’m closing the comment in my “Guess Where I’m Headed?” post). But, as usual, I found something fantastic during my time away, and I’m excited to share it with you.


A photo of the iconic Hermes Kelly bags, from

On the flight to my vacation, I got the chance to watch a documentary titled, “I Love My Bag”. It took me some effort to hunt it down (it’s in French) but I found it and I’m linking it here. You’ll have to go to Vimeo to view it directly:

I LOVE MY BAG from Melinda Triana on Vimeo.


I’m sorry I couldn’t find the English version: I’ll replace this video as soon as I locate it! There are, however, different segments in English that you can enjoy. In the meantime, take in the beautiful fashion and interviews with different handbag connoisseurs and designers.

hollywood glamour · luxury

Baubles, Hollywood Style Part Deux

Not too long ago, I mentioned the Hollywood Collection, a company that recreates jewelry worn by the stars of yesterday, in a Hollywood Glamour post. Today, I’m excited to share with you all yet another company that does spectacular jewelry that is inspired by classic Hollywood actresses.

Filthy Rich has their own “Hollywood Collection“, complete with replicas of jewelry worn by stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlow. This company doesn’t just limit it offerings to jewelry styled after the ones worn by Hollywood’s finest: they also has recreations of jewelry owned by Jacqueline Kennedy and Kate Middleton. Here are a few of my favorites from the site:


Audrey Hepburn Roman Holiday earrings


Kate Middleton Royal Engagement Ring


Jacqueline Kennedy Gold Bracelet Watch

They have some other glamorous options for anyone interested in adding some Hollywood to their wardrobe. I love that these pieces are not only beautiful but very affordable, too: the prices average less than $50 each. So reasonably priced, so chic!