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!

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

2022 – What You Can Expect from Bronze Butterfly

Hi friends! I hope you all are doing great. You all already know how much I love the new year: it is literally my favorite day of the year (even more than my birthday!). The energy of the new year inspires to do retrospective, introspective and future-gazing exercises. In the spirit of looking forward, I asked myself a simple question,

What do I want to do with Bronze Butterfly?

This blog has been my pet project for several years, and I want to set a theme for 2022 that will guide and inspire my writing. I thought about the things that matter to me right now, and what I want to explore more in the future. I think of my previous posts as reflecting a sort of larva stage (staying with the butterfly analogy here): I consumed a lot of information, engaged in a lot of activity, and I had a chance to use some of that knowledge but not to the maximum expression. I want to enter a bit of a chrysalis (cocoon) and eventual butterfly phase with this blog: reducing information consumption and instead being focused on using my energy stores. I will use this energy to actively craft the life of my dreams, instead of simply theorizing and experimenting here and there.

On that note, here are some of the things you can expect from the blog in future posts:

More interviews and deeper conversations – I had one incredible interview this year, and I want to add more to this space. I want to get the actionable tips, wise counsel and pure inspiration that comes from interacting with people that have done “hard things” and succeeded. So look out for more interviews in the upcoming year.

More Kibbe discussion [with a twist] – I think of how much our wardrobe reflects the times we live in, the things we value, as well as how we want to be perceived by the world. I really want to explore what certain Kibbe-verified celebrities expressed through their wardrobe, both pointedly and inadvertently. So that’s another topic I’ll be sharing more about in the months to come.

More book chats and writing tips – This is a continuation of the past couple of years of Writers Wednesdays, but here’s hoping I can share even more about the writer’s life and events that are relevant to writing. Also, I’ll be going back to doing book reviews (which I put on hold over the past couple of years, for the most part). I’ll be focusing on books that impact my life significantly, not just reviewing books simply because I read them.

Diving deeper into curating a beautiful life – This is also a continuation of the past few years, but I want to go deeper than the surface, and discuss the underpinnings of high quality living and all of its components.

More finance discussions – This is a topic that I’ve touched on briefly here and there, but I really want to dive more into this, exploring how to live well regardless of your current income, as well as how to increase your income to the level that you desire.

On a side note, I’ll be incorporating more of my previous blog content, my other active blog (which is finance centered) as well as my YouTube channel content into this space, as some topics are best explained via video.

Whew, I think that’s enough for one day! I’m so looking forward to you all joining me on this deeper journey into the Bronze Butterfly world. Thank you all so much for your continued support, and I’ll chat with you all tomorrow. Take care!

life curation

Tea Time with Tia – Let’s Chat

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a wonderful and restful holiday weekend. In Virginia, we experienced 70+ degree (21+, if you use Celsius) temperatures so there was no snow for us. I’m thankful for this mild Christmas weekend: we were able to go out and not freeze!

I recently started posting a series of chattier videos over on my YouTube channel, and I wanted to share my most recent video over here on the blog, as it sums up one of the most valuable lessons I’ve gotten this year.

I used to struggle with honesty, not out of a desire to deceive, but because I mistakenly thought that silence (not telling the truth) was equivalent to peacekeeping. And yes, that’s true in some instances: every now and then, being quiet can be the best thing. But I realized that being truthful – out loud – was an essential channel for self love and self care for me in this year. I acknowledge that speaking the truth is a luxury (we are not all able to speak our minds freely) and I’m thankful for it. For me, every truthful expression has helped me step more and more into myself. I’m not perfect, but I love where I’m heading and how using my voice brings me into the most authentic expression of myself.

Here’s the video:

What priceless lessons have you gotten in 2021? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments below!

art · life curation · luxury

The Perfect Winter Wreath

As the seasons change from autumn to winter, I found it necessary to make some updates to my home decor. The cooler temperatures and the eventual snow-covered landscape have an undeniable beauty that I want reflected in my home. Now it’s true that no one loves summer as much as I do, but I am determined to leverage the natural beauty available to me in any season, and winter is no exception.

My last wreath reflected the warm hues and spicy aromas of fall/autumn, but now that the season is behind us, it was time for an update. I knew that I wanted a winter wreath that captured the crisp air, purity, and complete stillness of the season. I wanted the wreath to work throughout the winter, and not just for the holidays. I settled on an ivory, gold and beige palette with a little bit of forest green (representing those evergreen plants that maintain their rich hues all year long).

After a little bit of experimentation, I settled on a gorgeous design that I’m excited to share with you all! Here is my wreath tutorial:

Are you all updating your decor for the winter?I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

beauty · luxury

Let’s Talk About the Beem Box

Happy Monday! I’m so glad to be back at the blog after spending a few weeks investing in my self care, relaxation, and overall wellness.

I’ve been publishing a series of pre-filmed videos on my YouTube channel, including a number of videos about beauty products. I’ve shared several videos about Beem Box, a subscription service offering cosmetics and skincare for women of color (my first Beem Box review is here).

My first Beem Box review

Since my first box, I’ve received three more, for a total of four Beem Boxes. So I feel confident that I can discuss the products and service objectively, as someone that has purchased multiple boxes and used products from each of them. Here are the pros and cons that I notice from the Beem Box:

Pros

  • Reasonably priced ($45 per box) and the value of the products in each box far exceeds the price
  • Provides me with the opportunity to try brand that I’ve never heard of before
  • There is skincare in each box, so the focus isn’t exclusively on cosmetics
  • Beautiful, decorative boxes that are recyclable
  • The perfect amount of products: not too much, not too few (just enough to try until you get the next box)
My second review

Cons

  • You only have one option for delivery frequency (one box every 8 or so weeks)
  • There aren’t different levels of subscription so you can’t opt for a “deluxe” or upgraded box
  • Sometimes the products aren’t stellar (I’ve been underwhelmed by a couple of items)
  • The description cards no longer show the product original pricing (which is helpful for comparing the box’s value to the box price)
My most recent review

Overall, I enjoy the boxes and the cons certainly don’t outweigh the pros. I love getting to try new stuff every few weeks, and it discourages me from overspending in other places. I love that I get a few cosmetics and a little skincare in each box. Also, the fact that each box has products from vegan, cruelty free, and women-owned businesses is a huge plus. This is a great service that also makes a great gift, too.

Do you have any subscription services that you love? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

food · luxury · wine

More Low Cost Libations – Affordable Wine Review

As we embrace the upcoming holiday season, we may find ourselves in need of delicious wines to accompany our family dinners. One thing that I like to do is make sure that I have a mix of high/low cost wines to offer with meals. For those that choose to indulge, wine is a wonderful complement to a variety of meals, and can really enhance the flavor profile of all the foods that have been prepared.

The advantage to having wines in your home during the holidays is that you can use the wine in certain recipes, adding a rich and intensified flavor to certain dishes. I love cooking meat dishes with red wine, or crafting exquisite sauces or gravies with white wine. When cooking with wine, the alcohol cooks (or burns) off, leaving flavor with no traces of alcohol content left behind.

I realized that I’ve done several wine reviews over on my YouTube channel, but I hadn’t shared those reviews over here. So, here you go:

Also, if you want to keep track of the wines that you try, you can use what I use: the Wine Tasting Notes journal is perfect for capturing the details and your impressions of every wine that you taste. And for $5, it’s so affordable!

I’ll be adding more wine reviews in the months to come. Do you have a wine recommendation for me? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

**** This post contains affiliate links.