Sunday, September 30, 2012

Real talk: Ch-ch-ch-changes

Image via

Who said that the New Year's is the only appropriate time to make life-changing decisions? Definitely not me! This year I have decided to make fall the beginning of my new life journey.

I already hinted that this summer wasn't really kind to me. In fact, I found myself in the eye of a hurricane, forced to rethink all the truths and illusions I was living by. Without delving into too many details, I'm no longer engaged, and I'm happily single again (happily being the important word here). After more than 4 years spent together, Philippe and I arrived at the point in our lives where we were both heading in a different direction, unable to work things out. Fortunately we were able to handle things like two grown-ups, without unnecessary drama and tons of breaking china.

I won't pretend that it wasn't hard. Because it was. It was one of the hardest things I'd ever lived through in my life. But I must say that I was (and still am) impressed by my own inner strength. Just when I was expected to crumple and weep over my sort, I found myself welcoming the change and looking forward to my future and to all the amazing things and opportunities that lay ahead. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and most often the worst moments of our life are the ones that make us grow and move forward. And that's how I feel right now: stronger, wiser and ready for any challenge life throws my way. I'm more determined than ever to focus on my own life, my career and my future, making my own choices and carving my own, unique path towards happiness.

This blog and you, my lovely readers, are a huge source of joy in my life. And since so many things have been happening in my life lately, it only feels appropriate to give my blog a makeover. I want it to be clean and more grown-up, chic and feminine, a true reflection of my style, my aesthetics and my aspirations. I've been working on this new design for days and I couldn't be happier with the result. My goal is to inspire you to seek out and create beauty in your day-to-day life, through fashion, food, home decor and constant creativity. And I couldn't thank you more for following along. You are the best!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My style: Leather & lace

Dress: Dorothy Perkins, Leather jacket: Kara, Handbag: Dorothy Perkins, Flats: Dorothy Perkins, Earrings: Peerless Charm c/o,  Ring: Six, Nail polish: Essie "Fiesta" and "Size matters"

One of the things I love the most about fall is the endless possibility to layer my outfits and combine things that have been sitting in my closet into new, original ensembles. This brown leather jacket is definitely one of the most versatile items I own: when fall arrives (or even spring, for that matter), I tend to wear it every day. It has the perfect cut and its rich brown color feels classier and more sophisticated than the "biker-chick" black. I have decided to throw it over my new lace Dorothy Perkins dress. Leather and lace combo is always a winner in my book: the seemingly "clashing" textures look surprisingly great together.

A perfect leather (or faux leather) jacket belongs to every wardrobe: it can dress up or down almost every outfit and it's the epitome of versatility. Whether you wear it with a pair of skinny jeans and a peplum top, or over a feminine dress, you will always look fabulous.

To add even more texture to my outfit, I chose tweed crossbody bag, a few pieces of jewelry (pearls, always pearls!) and nude flats with metallic detail, I styled my hair into relaxed beachy waves (find the tutorial here) and I had the perfect outfit for an afternoon spent shopping.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dress like a star: Emily van Camp

I think I'm not the only one who feels that this year's Emmys red carpet felt a little bit underwhelming. There were a few standouts (like Julianne Moore in her cheerful lemon yellow number, and Padma Lakshmi in her tangerine prom-ready gown), but I missed two of my all-time favorite TV ladies: Blake Lively and Sarah Jessica Parker, where were you? Fortunately, there was my beloved avengeress Emily van Camp (aka Emily Thorne, the Revenge's leading lady) to save the day. I was (and still am) in awe of her stunning dove grey 20's-inspired gown (J.Mendel has a habit of stealing my heart with his wonderful designs). And don't even get me started on that heart-stopping jewelry: could that bow cuff be any more beautiful? I don't think so.

I immediately started plotting ways to recreate this gorgeous outfit in a more wallet-friendly way,  and while browsing for affordable options, I completely fell for this beautiful Donna Morgan dress. It's the perfect alternative when you can't (or don't want to) go full-lenght. Metallic sandals are a staple that will look fantastic at any occasion and a brown clutch will add an unexpected color and texture to the whole outfit. Don't forget to pile up the bow-shaped jewelry that will be a huge trend this season. And voilà, you have the perfect classy outfit for any semi-formal occasion. Or add a structured black blazer and you are ready for a fall wedding.

Are you as obsessed with Revenge as I am? I've been counting down the days to the season 2: it's definitely the TV show I'm most excited for this fall!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

From my kitchen: Cherry tomato, parmesan & mozzarella clafoutis

Ever since I re-discovered the easiness and delicious taste of clafoutis, I've been wanting to try the savory version as well. Our garden is still bursting with beautiful and delicious cherry tomatoes. And of course, while I was in Italy, I couldn't resist picking some local cheese, and now I have the fridge packed with mozzarella and parmesan. I opted for a very simple recipe with only a few ingredients, to let the tomatoes, mozza and freshly grated parmesan shine. It's the perfect dish to savor with a glass of chilled rosé (before the nights get too chilly). And if you want to enjoy the perfect harmony of Italian flavors, be sure to add a few fresh basil leaves just before serving. Delicious!

Cherry tomato, Parmesan & mozzarella clafoutis

You'll need:

* 3 eggs
* 120g flour
* 250ml milk
* 50g grated parmesan
* 20 (or more) cherry tomatoes
* 1 mozzarella
* salt, pepper

1. Beat the eggs, then add slowly the flour and milk while still beating. 
2. Add grated parmesan and stir well.
3. Place the cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cut into cubes in a gratin plate.
4. Pour the egg mixture over the tomatoes.
5. Bake in the oven preheated to 180°C for 40-50 minutes.

Bon appétit!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Under the Tuscan sun

We kicked off our two Tuscan days in Pisa, discovering the stunning leaning tower (you can see it peeking behind the cathedral). It may be one of the most impressive things I've ever witnessed. I confess, I wasn't brave enough to climb the stairs to the top of the tower, but I guess it must be an unforgettable experience!

Trying to push the tower back into straight position...didn't work :)

Florence's biggest basilic (Santa Maria del Fiore) with its famous Il Duomo. I was quite shocked and disappointed to discover that apart from this basilic, all the Florentine churches have paid entries. I've never encountered this before and it was very disappointing. Especially, when the Florentine churches, compared to all the beautifully ornamented (and free) Roman ones, are characteristic by their very austere decoration.

The original Dante and his modern-day impersonation declaiming verses from the Divine Comedy.

The best gelato.

Michelangelo's David in front of the Palazzo Vecchi. This is just the copy, the real deal is inside, in one of the galleries, protected from the weather, pigeons and curious tourists alike.

Chocolate heaven: Lindt store in Florence, where I was literally like a small kid in Disneyland. Awesome!

If I wasn't absolutely scared of motorbikes, I could imagine myself riding throung Italian streets on this beauty.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Roman holiday, part 2

The famous Colosseum (or what's left of it): it was so much fun seeing it in person just after watching Gladiator for 20th time! (Fun fact: the outer walls of Colosseum was covered in white marble, but there's nothing left of it because the St. Peter's Basilic and a few more monuments were built with it.)

This is the second part of my Roman adventures. Stay tuned for the last photo overload from Tuscany.
Have a wonderful weekend!

A walk past Forum Romanum: it doesn't seem much like this, but when you realize some of these ruins are more than 2000 years old, you can only be awestruck (especially if you are a history freak like me).

Fontana di Trevi, by day...

...and by night. Dolce Vita, anyone? We even witnessed a proposal there, in the evening, with maybe 2000 people around.

I couldn't resist sharing this one: how fabulous and mouthwatering are these candy flowers? I'm obsessed.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Roman holiday, part 1

An incredible view from St. Peter's Basilic Cupole.

Rome is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I know I am very partial to Paris and New York when it comes to my favorite cities, but Rome is tailing them really close! I was baffled and amazed by its beauty, long and impressive history, as well as the endless possibilities to taste local delicacies (I confess, I overstuffed myself with pizza). What really surprised me was how small Rome actually was. You can practically walk around the entire city (just be sure to pack enough band-aids), discovering one monument at a time. I kicked things off with a day spent in Vatican and its museums. I'm not a religious person, so I treat all the churches as historical monuments, and St. Peter's basilic might be the most beautiful church I've ever seen. It's huge, magnificently decorated and you can't help but be awestruck by the incredible abilities of the architects and builders who were able to create such a monumental basilic so long ago. I could spend hours describing every single aspect of its beauty. My favorite part? Taking the infinitely long stairs to the cupole and enjoying a breathtaking view of the entire Rome.  

The cupole from the inside.

The famous Sistine chapel: I was left awestruck and speechless by the incredible precision and beauty of Michelangelo's paintings (did you know that Michelangelo was able to paint in 3D long before Avatar was even thought of? Amazing!)

Castel Sant'Angelo (Pope's fortress inside the city)

I enjoyed a little chat with the Swiss guards... well as a little quality time with one of my favorite childhood heroes, Pinocchio.

One of the countless street statues: I had to check twice that this one was truly alive.

Friday, September 7, 2012

On my nightstand, September 2012

Last month I promised myself to be a little more serious about my reading (I'm guilty of constantly adding new books to my reading list, but I rarely manage to read them all), and I'm proud to report that I managed to finish my entire August list (with the exception of Emily Griffin, whose first book I'm reading right now). I was beyond impressed and blown away by The light between oceans: it was such a beautiful, compelling, thought-provoking and heartbreaking story! It made me realize how, sometimes, we make decisions without really thinking about how they are going to affect our life and lives of people around us. I would definitely recommend it as the perfect book club read.

And without further ado, these are the books I'm most excited to read in September:

1. Victoria Colligan: Dream it, launch it, live it:  Ok, I confess, I'm a sucker for a great, catchy title (but of course, it has to have a tiny bit of good sense, because something like How to become millionaire in 5 minutes just won't do it for me). And you probably can't do better than this one. I've been pondering launching my own business for quite a while, and I greatly enjoy reading about people who did it with success. Insider's advice is always the best!

2. Gillian Flynn: Gone, Girl: I love myself a great thriller as much as the next girl, but a few months ago I decided to go on a detective novels hiatus. I went through a bunch of thrillers, and alongside my obsession with CSI Miami, it was just too much for my brain and I found myself waking up at night with strange nightmares. But I've been reading so many rave reviews of this one, that I'll probably make an exception.
 3. Nicole S. Young: Food Photography: From snapshots to great shots: Recipes, baking and cooking make for a great part of my blog, and I find myself daydreaming about delicious new treats more often than I care to admit. And since I think that there's always room for improvement, I'm going to immerse myself into this step-by-step guide and learn all secrets of great food photography.  I can already see myself snapping pictures around every single day!

4. Dianne Jacob: Will write for food: I've been dreaming about writing my own cookbook for months, and I really hope this book will help me get the knack of food writing and of what I'm trying to get myself into.

5. Dale Carnegie: How to stop worrying and start living: I was born an overthinker and frankly, it bothers me a lot. I'm always thinking about what is to come, building various scenarios in my head, and worrying beyond healthy measure. I guess I need to learn to live more in the moment, and I hope this book will help me put things in perspective and enjoy a worry-free day at least now and then. 

6.Charlotte Rogan: The Lifeboat: A story about a shipwreck, a lifeboat that is filled over capacity and a price some people have to pay to survive. After reading some of the reviews it seems that there's another sleepless night in my near future!

What are you currently reading? Do you have any amazing book you would like to recommend? I'm looking forward to your suggestions!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Beauty spotlight: Aerin

Just imagine that you are a granddaughter of Estée Lauder, , daughter of the chairman of Clinique (and a former ambassador), you've been working for Estée Lauder Companies for more that 20 years, and on top of all this, you are a Manhattan style icon. This is how Aerin's pedigree looks like. She could have kept her job as Creative director at Estée Lauder Companies, lived her comfortable lifestyle between her Manhattan home, house in Hamptons and a luxurious mansion in Palm Beach.

But it wasn't enough for Aerin: she decided to branch out, and create something that holds her name and her signature. She has launched her own makeup line first (that's what she knows best, after all), but she has plans to develop Aerin into a full-scale lifestyle brand, covering beauty, fashion accessories, jewelry and home decor. Her brand is all about her signature effortless style and it's more than perfect for all those modern women with busy lifestyles, juggling career, family, love and friends. Aerin believes that we don't need dozens of products and a complicated beauty routine to look our best, and I couldn't agree more.

Personally, I'm really inspired by Aerin's story, and more that in love with her first two makeup collections. What I love most is the idea of effortless beauty, no-fuss products and routine and those feminine packages (what's not to love about pink & gold?). Sure, with those coordinated fall weekday and weekend palettes, you can't make it easier than that!

After all, if your grandmother and role model is Estée Lauder, you can't help but achieve amazing things:

 ”Estée was an incredible role model. She taught me the importance of passion, style, hard work, family and, of course, all things beautiful. Her dream to make women feel beautiful and special still lives on today. My vision is to create a beauty and lifestyle brand shaped for my generation and those to follow.”
-Aerin Lauder

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Roman holiday

Image via

Thank goodness, my holiday time has finally arrived! I'm off to enjoy Italian sun, delicious Italian food and maybe a tiny bit of sightseeing (I'm pretty sure I'll spend the whole week wandering around and snapping photos like crazy). I have all the posts lined up so be sure to check back for more chic updates. And I can't wait to share my Italian adventure once I'm back. Have a fabulous week!

Monday, September 3, 2012

September wish list

September has rolled over subreptitiously, but I can't say it bothers me. This summer has rewritten the definition of terrible for me, and I can't help but hope that September will bring more calm and serenity. In any case, I couldn't be more excited for the new season's arrival. Autumn has always been my favorite season, but this year I'm looking forward to it more than ever. I guess I can blame the global warming for all those tropical temperatures that were plaguing us in July and August, and frankly, I hate heat (my brain simply doesn't work right above 30°C!) And since September promises wonderful weather without tropical vibe, I have put together a bunch of pieces I would love to be rocking this month. I am more than smitten with those houndstooth dresses, but I think n. 1 is my absolute favorites (been dreaming about it ever since I laid my eyes on it for the first time!). Do you have your own seasonal wishlist? What pieces are you most excited to wear in September?

1. ModCloth Quartet in the garden dress, $109.99
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