Friday, April 25, 2014

Rediscovering United Colors of Benetton

top - United Colors of Benetton / jeans - Gap / shoes - Banana Republic (similar here) / bracelets - ℅ Duepunti

Having completely ignored it for years now, I've recently rediscovered United Colors of Benetton. It happened by accident really as there's one on my local high street, but it's quickly becoming one of my favorite places to shop on a leisurely weekend afternoon. For years I bought nothing there, but in the past few weeks I've walked away with a skirt and several lovely tops for Spring & Summer. They've upped their game and I'm impressed!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Inside Out For Fashion Revolution Day

Gap Shirt / Gap Always Skinny Jeans / J. Crew Sweater

"Your clothes already tell a story about who you are. Now they can tell a better one."
 ~ Fashion Revolution

On April 24th last year 1,133 people were killed and over 2,500 injured when the Rana Plaza factory complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed. It's a dark stain on the history of fashion and Fashion Revolution aims to change that. 

Today, people all over, myself included are wearing our clothes inside out with tags showing to encourage us all to ask "who made my clothes?" Were they made in a sustainable factory with healthy, safe work conditions? Were people endangered either physically, socially, economically, emotionally or environmentally so that I could have the dress I always wanted? The fashion community is taking a stand against these practices, promoting sustainable change for the better. Fashion makes so many of us happy every day, but it shouldn't come at the cost of making someone else miserable or worse.

Fashion Revolution encourages you to be curious and find out who made your clothes from the farm where the cotton was grown to the last stitches of final production. If we stand together against poor standards of production in the fashion industry, the demand will cease and conditions will improve. This type of change could not only improve, but save many lives.

To find out how you can get involved, check out the Fashion Revolution website or follow them on Twitter at @Fash_Rev. If you're wearing your clothes inside out today, don't forget to spread the word by sending an Instagram or Tweet using the hashtag #InsideOut and then sit back and enjoy watching the change you helped to create!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Shop For a Cause - The Fiorelli Hope Bracelet

As you're curating your arm parties ahead of Summer and countless music festivals, I urge you to check out one particular bracelet that can help make a difference in the lives of others. Fiorelli's Hope Bracelet is super cute and all the proceeds benefit Cancer Research UK… At just £4, this little gem is made from a pale pink cotton cord with a simple heart charm that says hope. What could be more chic than supporting a good cause?

Duepunti Unconventional Diamonds Bracelets to Brighten Up the Spring

cardigan - Gap (similar here) / t-shirt - H&M (similar here)bracelets - ℅ Duepunti

Easter has now come and gone and even though it's raining cats & dogs as I type this, Spring is here. Every Spring I have the same dilemma… I really want to buy lots of colorful clothes that scream Summer fun, but in the past when I've done so, they just don't get worn… The simple truth is that London isn't a super sunny place and a bright yellow halter style sundress is usually rendered useless, taking up precious real estate in my already overfull closet that could be filled with more wearable, practical options. If I can't wear it with tights and a cardigan on cooler days, there's no room for it in my wardrobe.

I'm always looking for fun ways to brighten up my look during the warmer months and accessories are an easy option, both for wearing and for storing. Scarves, bracelets, hats, statement necklaces - I hoard a wide variety of color popping accessories to take my daily wardrobe from drab to fab in seconds so I don't feel completely left out of the sunny day loop. This year I'm totally loving Duepunti Unconventional Diamonds. Tiny diamonds set in a colorful array of silicone bracelets and rings, Duepunti pieces are unique, fun, stackable and super easy to mix & match. Ringing in at £60 for rings and £70 for bracelets, these funky pieces offer a fun way to incorporate a little bling into your arm party without breaking the bank! They also make me want to go to a festival, but that's a different story altogether…

How do you add a little color to your look as the seasons change?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Amsterdam Zoo

While in Amsterdam I had the opportunity to do something I hadn't done since I was a kid… Go to the zoo! I had forgotten how mesmerizing a trip to the zoo can be and the Artis Royal Zoo in Amsterdam is one of the best ones I've ever been to! Many of the areas are quite open with birds and critters roaming freely around your feet. More dangerous animals are of course in cages or behind a sort of barrier, but to have a gang of lemurs dancing around your feet is quite an experience you don't get everywhere! I very much enjoyed my jaunt to the zoo and took a load of photos, so I thought sharing would be in order… If you're ever in Amsterdam, I definitely recommend a trip to the Artis Royal Zoo - it's one of the best things I experienced in the city and well worth the price of admission!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Exploring Amsterdam

I recently visited Amsterdam for the first time and I found it to be a really charming city. My favorite thing about Amsterdam is the cycling culture. I rented a bike for about €10 per day and enjoyed whizzing around the city, being able to go anywhere I wanted without having to worry about a taxi or public transportation and it's really fun!

If you know where to go, there's some great food in Amsterdam: Burgers from The Butcher, Flinck for Croquettes and fries and no matter where you go, pancakes are delicious! I definitely recommend visiting Amsterdam if you've never been before… It's not all coffee shop smoking and red light district like one might think… It's actually a beautiful city with a rich history and worth adding to your bucket list!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chocolate Free Easter Ideas for the Whole Family

We're constantly being bombarded with the news that sugar is bad for us, so what to do for Easter? Traditionally here in England, elaborate chocolate eggs are the order of the day while in my native USA, it's easter baskets full of sweets and a giant chocolate bunny. Going the sugar-free, healthy route doesn't mean sacrificing our little treats from the Easter Bunny! Here are my suggestions for guilt-free Easter treats the for the whole family.

Mom - A lovely luxury candle is a gift that Mom can share with household guests or keep all to herself for bath times and evenings spent reading a great book! The Diptyque Tuberose Candle is a classic that she can enjoy through the Easter holidays and for a good while afterwards.

Dad - Impractical, luxury skincare products for men such as the Baxter of California Skin 1.2.3. Kit are a great way to show Dad just how much you (ahem, the Easter bunny) appreciate him! It's a little indulgence he might not be likely to buy for himself, but will enjoy all the same as a gift.

Baby - It's not like a baby could do much with a gigantic chocolate egg anyway, but that doesn't mean a bundle of joy should be left off the list! The super sweet Pure Love Snuggle Buddy is just the thing for keeping baby content and happy throughout the Easter holidays and beyond.

Sister - There are few things to make little girls feel more special than their first piece of jewelry - something that's age appropriate, yet still makes them feel a bit more grown up! The Goldsmiths Little Wishes Collection is the perfect place to start building a young lady's first jewelry wardrobe and I'm loving the Silver Rabbit Charm for Easter.

Brother - With all the days off over Easter holidays, little brother is definitely going to have some energy to expel. The Personalised Nature Trail in a Bag is something he can enjoy all day on Easter Monday as he becomes an intrepid nature explorer!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

White T-shirt Remix

One of my favorite things to buy each Spring is a fresh, new, white t-shirt! There's just something about getting a new one that signifies the beginning of warm weather, leisurely walks, picnics and happy times! I also love a white t-shirt as the basis of a lot of Spring & Summer looks because it's super easy, not to mention chic. With that in mind, I give you the White T-shirt Remix…

The five looks below are all created using the same J. Crew white tee, but they're each different in their own way.

Blank Canvas

I personally don't own any white jeans because I'd definitely spill something on them, but I love them. This look could easily be recreated using any color of skinny jeans paired with different scarves, shoes, bags and jewellery - whatever you have will always work with a neutral canvas.

Shorts Story

One of the great things about having basic white tees on hand is that you always have something that matches those cute skirts and shorts you'll be buying during the warmer months! There's nothing worse than getting an adorable piece that never leaves your closet because you don't have anything to wear it with…

Pencil Me In

All your blouses are at the cleaners? No problem! I often prefer a nice t-shirt for tucking into a pencil skirt because they flow so nicely around the waist. With the right heels, accessories and a structured jacket, you can certainly get away with wearing your favorite t-shirt to work!

Midi-Summer Madness

I'm loving the full midi skirts that are popping up all over the place! What I also love is a bit of contrast when wearing them…. No need to go full-on Audrey Hepburn. Make these skirts modern with a t-shirt, an edgy bag, a statement necklace and other popping accessories that bring a 50's inspired skirt into the 21st century!

Blue Jean Queen

Keep your white t-shirt casual by pairing it with distressed boyfriend jeans. This combination lends itself to endless possibilities - sandals, Converse, ballet flats or cardigans, statement necklaces, scarves… The choice is yours. I love wearing wedges with boyfriend jeans because the rolled-up hem showcases a great pair of shoes beautifully! Casual and relaxed, but not so much that an ounce of style is sacrificed… Love this look!

What's your favorite way to wear your white t-shirt?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review - French Women Don't Get Facelifts by Mireille Guiliano

I have read all of Mireille Guiliano's French Women books, so naturally I snatched this one up as soon as I saw it in the bookstore, though I have to say it was a little surprising. I thought it would be mostly about beauty tips and plastic surgery, however French Women Don't Get Facelifts is actually geared toward an audience that's quite a bit older than me, showing women in their 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's how to age gracefully or as Guiliano says "with attitude". That said, I soldiered on and read this book and I have to admit I'm glad I did.

While some parts of this book address old age, many of the tips are actually quite valuable reminders of things we should all be doing like eating a variety of colors to get a balanced diet, wearing sunscreen and going for regular walks to get exercise and a Vitamin D boost. Guiliano also includes several recipes in the book as she does in most of her other books.

I would highly recommend French Women Don't Get Facelifts for women who are 40+ as it's a fantastic resource for how to enter the next phase of your life in a way that doesn't feel like getting old. Mireille Guiliano's approach to growing older is refreshing and nearly makes one look forward to it. If you're not quite 40, it's still worth reading - I'm 33 and I read it cover to cover. She talks about all the things people are afraid to delve into such as menopause, sex in your golden years, plastic surgery and vitamin supplements. It's definitely a learning lesson about what to expect as we age.

If you haven't yet read Mireille Guiliano's other books, they're definitely worth reading as well, particularly her most famous book French Women Don't Get Fat, a great read that truly changed the way I eat and move. She has a great talent for telling stories and sharing information. I definitely look forward to her next book!