life curation · reading list

Archetypes Is Here!

One of my favorites, Meghan Markle, has finally launched her podcast, Archetypes. Her special brand of intelligence, charm and courage will now be available to us an hour-long podcast episode each week.

Pardon me while I squeal!

Photo released by Archetypes

When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex unveiled Archewell Foundation, and its main vehicle for connection, Archewell Audio, I was thrilled. In fact, I wrote about my excitement over this development in a blog post. Now, little more than a year later, Archetypes with Meghan is here, and it promises to discuss the labels that women experience and how these terms – and the perception of these labels – can hold women back. Spotify describes this as a, “refreshing and dynamic” podcast, and I completely agree.

This is exactly the kind of content I was expecting from Archewell Audio. Mature discussions, exploration of concepts that are commonly disregarded, and a glance into the warmth and brilliance possessed by both Harry and Meghan. The first episode features none other than the great tennis player Serena Williams, who recently announced her transition into the next chapter of her professional career. The conversation was a refreshing telling of Serena’s story in her own words, and her own complex relationship with the term “ambition”. The discussion was lively, full of wisdom, and gave me an even deeper appreciation for what “ambition” looks like and why we should want to have it.

Some key takeaways from this first episode of Archetypes are:

  • Don’t put your fears on your children. Serena commented on how her fear of heights and open water aren’t fears of her daughter, Olympia. Serena stated that she didn’t want her personal limits to impact how her daughter interacted with the world, and I loved hearing her perspective on this. It was unexpected to hear Serena, a powerhouse on the tennis court, admit to feeling fear. This was a crucial turning point in further humanizing her, in a world that has happily denied her humanity throughout her career.
  • You get your biggest wins when you are your most authentic self. Serena went on to describe how certain points of her career made her feel the pressure to be like others and show up inauthentically. Then she circled back to what it feels like when she shows up as herself and how that is a truer indicator of success. Aside from how she shows up professionally, I find her most incredible when she’s just being herself: sweet, a little shy, but self assured and clear on where she’s going.
  • You don’t have to “retire” – you can choose to evolve instead. The word “retirement” is loaded: it generally implies a ceasing of any pursuits aside from domestic tasks, family time, and (if you’re lucky) travel. But using the word “evolve” indicates that the energy is shifted from one area to another area of equal intellectual intensity. It doesn’t indicate that Serena plans to stop, but to wander to her next destination, on her own terms. “Evolve” has a more empowered connotation than “retire”, and love that for her.

That’s my impression of the jewel that is Archetypes! I’m looking forward to more episodes, and sharing powerful takeaways as I listen to each episode.

art · culture · international · life curation · luxury · travel

My Time In Portugal, Part 3 – Sintra National Palace

Happy Monday, friends! It’s another Portugal post (one more Portugal post is scheduled, then we’ll dive into the Spain and Greece portions of my trip). This post is about Sintra National Palace, a fabulous historical and cultural site located just outside of Lisbon. I loved touring the building and learning more about this incredible region.

I really enjoyed coming to this site, and learning so much about the history of Portugal’s ruling elite. The luxury on display at this palace was nothing short of inspirational: I felt right at home!

Here are some of the pics from my tour:

The National Palace was certainly a highlight of my trip, and one of my favorite features of Portugal in particular. Have you all visited here before? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

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)

culture · international · life curation

What Stepping Away From Royal Duties REALLY Means

Happy Monday, friends! I don’t know about you all, but the past few days have been wonderful. The weather is becoming milder here on the East Coast, and COVID-19 seems to be FINALLY decreasing. Let’s hope that these good things continue!

Recently, I read Buckingham Palace’s statement on Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan and their decision to step away from royal duties. As a result of this decision, they will be stripped of their royal patronages. This could not have been easy for the Sussexes, as they have made service a crucial theme in their personal and professional lives. In particular, I think of Prince Harry, who, as a result of this decision to step away, will have his honorary military titles removed. This must have been a very painful outcome for this proud veteran, who dutifully served the Crown for ten years.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (Photo as shown on People Magazine [Karwai Tang/WireImage])

As painful as it must be, I am so happy for and proud of this couple. There is far more at stake with this decision that simply losing titles and patronages. The decision to step away from royal duties is the decision to forge a brand new path. No one so close to the Crown has opted to become a private citizen since Edward VIII, and we all know how much of a crisis that caused. This is truly untrodden ground, as the world that we know today is quite different from the one occupied by Edward VIII and his beloved, Wallis Simpson.

The decision to step away, closing the door leading to life as a royal, has opened a myriad other doors for the couple. Walking away made it possible for them to create Archewell, a revolutionary media company that will distribute the content that the Sussexes want to bring into the world. The Archewell umbrella will also allow them to support causes that are near and dear, and will allow them to influence people in ways that they feel are most impactful, without the limitations imposed upon royals. Stepping away from royal duties will allow the Sussexes to step into serving on their terms.

Ultimately, this is what the couple truly wants to be known for: service that matters to them, and done in the way that they feel will do the most good. The Sussexes demonstrated this almost immediately after the Buckingham Palace statement was released, by supporting a Dallas woman’s shelter that was badly damaged by the devastating winter storms that slammed Texas last week. The unexpected act of kindness is the first public contribution made by the Archewell Foundation, and is likely a small preview of the many charitable acts that we can expect from Harry and Meghan in the future.

This entire discussion brings to mind the famous poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken. The poem references how the speaker, considering two paths, “kept the first for another day”, but he also knew well, “how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back”. I doubt that the Sussexes will ever decide to rejoin the royal family in the capacity that was expected of them, but their decision to step away is undoubtedly a choice full of promise and potential. They can make a bigger impact in the way that they see fit, and they can author a spectacular story that starkly contrasts anything that royal life could offer, yet remains true to them. That, I believe, is why they chose to step away, and that, to paraphrase Frost, will make all the difference.

beauty · culture · life curation · luxury

Five Easy Ways to Be More Like Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Happy Monday, friends! I hope the beginning of your week is pleasant and everything that you need it to be.

Recently, I reviewed Archewell Audio, the podcast project started by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan. I’ve been fascinated with Meghan for quite some time: I love that she is graceful, elegant and intelligent, and she uses her influence to create positive changes in society.

As part of learning more about this brilliant woman, I read a bit about her and found that there are many things that she’s done to position herself as a woman of status and influence. I made a video highlighting five of those qualities.

The qualities I discussed are as follows:

  • Learn a foreign language
  • Take up a luxurious hobby
  • Eliminate or reduce meat from your diet
  • Wear blush
  • Start a blog

By engaging in one or more of these activities, you can live a little more like Meghan.

Do you have any Duchess-worthy tips? Let me hear about it in the comments below!

life curation · relaxation · words of wisdom

Review of Archewell Audio

Even though I adore ClubHouse and all sorts of webinars that are designed to be instructional, I am always looking for podcasts that offer something different and enlightening to me. In my recent search, I found something truly special.

My latest obsession right now is Archewell Audio, hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan Markle. I didn’t know how this would go, since I was unfamiliar with the couple outside of what has been presented by the media. The media in the US has been pretty kind to the couple, especially during 2020. Here are my thoughts on this first episode of the show.

Simple. Tasteful. Focused on others. HUMAN and HUMANE. I loved it. This initial podcast offers a platform to a variety of people that offered their reflections on 2020 and the pain, joy, and resilience they felt during the year. I love that the Sussexes served as kindhearted moderators, gently steering the conversation without “overtalking” the individuals interviewed. I love how the couple interjected extra praise for the more modest guests, taking every opportunity to elevate the individuals interviewed.

This podcast is, simply put, beautiful. I cannot wait until the next episode, so I can listen to it while taking a walk on my treadmill. This is wonderful and so well done. Great job, Harry and Meghan!