Friday, November 30, 2012

Things that make me happy: November chic list

1. Dreaming of: A good night's sleep. For the past few weeks I've been feeling like a dog chasing its own tail. Juggling my day job as international relations manager and daily blogging has proven to be more challenging than I'd ever expected. With last minute work projects pouring in, I haven't been able to blog as much as I would have wanted to. And since I don't want to insult you with half hearted posts, I had to slow down a little bit on my editorial calendar. Thank you so much for sticking with me: I promise I'll make it up to you with a bunch of new inspiring projects very soon!

2. Drinking: Café au lait. Due to the facts listed above, my "Earl Grey for breakfast" routine was quickly abandoned. I need something more substantial (and caffeine-packed) to draw me out of bed in the morning, and my trustful café au lait have never failed me. Waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee is the most amazing morning ritual I can think of!

3. Reading: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I was really excited to read this one, looking forward to get a peek into the psychology and personality behind the world phenomenon that is Apple. So far I've learned that Jobs truly was a genius, but he had an incredibly despicable personality (or was it some kind of psychological disorder?) that made him really hard to work with. Unfortunately, I feel a little bit underwhelmed by the voice of this book, but that is probably due to the poor Slovak translation. Have you read this book yourself? Would anyone recommend the English original? I would really love to know!

4. Doing: Planning my trip to Paris. The perspective of landing in Paris in just 2 weeks leaves me positively giddy with excitement. I think that my declaration of love pretty much sums it up. I've been having so much fun putting together my lists of things to do, to visit, to taste and to shop. I desperately need this vacation!

5. Listening to: Le Roi Soleil. French musicals have always had a special place in my heart. Roméo et Juliette is by far my all time favorite (and as I mentioned here, seeing the live performance in Paris 2 years ago was one of the most enchanting, wondrous and spectacular experiences of my life). Le Roi Soleil comes close behind: for some unknown reason I've been listening to this album the whole month (oh yes, and singing along loudly, probably to my neighbors' dismay) and I love it more and more still!

6. Loving: Debra Lynn Meija's prints. Having my own gallery wall filled with pieces I love has always been a dream of mine, and this month I've finally started to research and shop for my first pieces. Of course, Etsy is the gold mine when it comes to beautiful and inspiring prints (you may remember me listing my favorite illustrators here). Debra Lynn Mejia was one of the first talented illustrators I discovered, and when this and this print arrived in the mail, I couldn't be happier. They are so lovely, chic and glamorous! I'm pretty sure that this Chanel bag will be my next purchase!

7. Coveting: Dorothy Perkins rose and crystal jewelry. Roses and crystals: two of my favorite things ever. These pieces of jewelry (necklace, earrings and bracelet) are stuff that dreams are made of, and I simply can't get my eyes off of them. They are the definition of glamorous statement pieces. And they need to be mine. Asap.

8. Buying: Asos Stud strap bag. I love a fabulous clutch as much as the next girl (and I already have quite a collection of them in my closet), but they haven't been very useful to me as of late. Right now I need a handbag that can hold all my little life (iPhone, iPad, cosmetic bag, planner, you name it, I have it in my bag), as well as all the work papers I keep toting around. When I stumbled upon this Asos beauty, I knew it was the one. Its soft blush color is timeless, and studded details add just the right amount of edge. I've been awaiting its arrival anxiously, and I can't wait to bring it to Paris with me!

9. Watching: Gossip Girl's final season. It's been a long time since Revenge replaced Gossip Girl on top of my "obsessed with" list. In my opinion, the moment Dan and Blair got together, the show lost all its credibility (seriously, what were they thinking?). However, fashion is still fabulous, the plot interesting, and I really want to know whether they reveal Gossip Girl's true identity at the end of this last season. I guess I'll be sticking with the Upper East Siders right till the end.

10. Wearing: Dorothy Perkins red duffle coat. I hate to admit that with all the end-of-year work craziness around here, I haven't been able to pay too much attention to my outfits. This one has been on constant rotation (believe me, it's the easiest thing to throw on at 6am!). My red coat is my savior: adding a pop of color and a touch of quirkiness to any boring outfit I put together. It's definitely a keeper!

11. Eating: Praline brioche. This recipe was a tricky one (as documented here and here), but oh so worth all the efforts! I've always loved food with sentimental value (I'm a hopeless romantic, remember?), and this sweet and fluffy brioche dotted with pink pralines is the most perfect example. I've borrowed this recipe from someone very close to my heart, and I think of her every time I make it. Aren't these the best memories? 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Brunch with a blogger: Rowena of Rolala Loves

Ever since I started this blog, I've had the chance to get to know some of the most wonderful and inspiring women in the world. Even if I've never met most of them in person, I still call them my friends, because we share the same passions and obsess over the same things. And since I love sharing the most fabulous things and finds with you, it feels only appropriate to introduce you to these fabulous ladies, while having a virtual Sunday brunch with them (you can find all the previous interviews here). 

Today, I'm very happy and proud to introduce you to a very special guest: my friend Rowena, the lovely author of an inspiring blog Rolala Loves, and an incredibly talented photographer behind Certain moments photography.

Blogosphere is brimming with inspiring and talented women, but it's not everyday that I have a chance to discover someone to whom I feel a true connection and who I'm dying to meet in real life. A girl who has such a keen eye for beauty, who has a weakness for Ladurée macarons, whose style crushes include Emma Stone and Diane Kruger, and who is strong enough to overcome all the difficulties life brings her way, is definitely a girl after my own heart. Plus, she is one of the kindest and the most supportive people I know.

When I first discovered Rowena's blog last year, I was instantly impressed by the quality of her photographs and her unique point of view. Rolala loves is an eclectic and inspiring little space mixing Rowena's love for beautiful photography, wise words, eye-catching fashion editorials that you can't see everywhere, her favorite beauty products, even her favorite restaurants in NYC. She's the one to whom I turn when I feel bored by the blogosphere, for she has always something unique and original up her sleeve, whether it's a stunning fashion spread, or a peek into the life of her glamorous photo muse Rena (who has the most beautiful and the most huge eyes and eyelashes I've ever seen!). Rena, despite being a doll, has a weakness for Pierre Hermé macarons, loves a great LBD, and knows how to live her life in style. She rides a Vespa, has her own ostrich Hermés bag (I'm jealous!) and finds Barbie's closet quite trashy. She's fabulous.

If you haven't already, be sure to visit Rowena's blog asap: you're bound to find something that catches your eye and makes your day so much more more beautiful! But before you do so, let's discover together all the things that are rocking Rowena's world right now:

Always in my closet: Striped tops, skinny jeans, ballet flats. That would be my uniform, if I had one.

My favorite book: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The underlying themes of friendship, acceptance and not taking anything at face value resonate very strongly with me.

My favorite scent: Stella by Stella McCartney. It's a sophisticated floral that's neither delicate nor overpowering and it's perfect day or night.

My favorite magazine: Harper's Bazaar.

My favorite website: Gothamist. It keeps me up with the news and what's going on around New York.

My guilty pleasures: Ladurée macarons and french fries.

My ultimate style icon: Audrey Hepburn. She is proof that elegance and simplicity will never go out of style.

My favorite fashion accessory: Hats for both function and style. In the winter they keep my head warm and in the summer they protect me from the sun.

My favorite song: To The End by Blur. It's just a beautifully composed song and I really enjoy the accordion in it.

My favorite movie scene: I have so many but one I really love is the Vespa scene in Roman Holiday. So delightfully fun and I never tire of watching it.

One thing I simply can't live without: Laughter. I do believe it's the best medicine.

Thing I'm most proud of: Being with my husband for 20 years / married for 10. Lasting relationships take work but they are so worth it.

Best blogging advice I've ever received: Don't be afraid to be yourself!

My style in 3 words: Cheeky granny meets tomboy.

My life mantra: Each day brings new beginning...

Certain moments photography:

Rowena's Etsy shop Certain moments photography is particularly close to my heart, because her Mercury and Chrysler print was the very first thing I bought from Etsy. She has an incredible talent for capturing life's beautiful moments through her lens (and the fact that she has NYC as a backdrop for her pictures doesn't hurt either). I was very curious to learn something more about Rowena's photography style, and I'm really proud to bring you her answers on how her photos come to life, who inspires her and what she has up her sleeve next.

What was the inspiration behind launching your own Etsy shop?

I felt it would be a good extension for making my photography more accessible and I had often been encouraged by friends to do it as well.

Sakura blooms

Where do you find inspiration for your photos? Do you plan them, or are they more of a fruit of hazard?

I think the key to inspiration is to be able to find possibility in anything. I went through a phase where I was fascinated by puddles. 
I would say my photos are mostly a result of 50% planning and 50% of just going along with a moment. Even if a shoot is fully set up, sometimes things just happen that you don't expect. Some of my favorite photos happen to be a result of just being at the right place at the right time.

"I don't watch much American television these days, but one show I do enjoy is White Collar. I probably have a soft spot for it since I've run into them filming on the streets the most of any NYC production. One of the perks of city living. I snapped this pic of Matt Bomer at Madison Square Park. This is actually one of my favorite photos and I think it illustrates my point about being at the right place at the right time."

Do you have a photographer hero / icon, whose style you admire and who continues to inspire you?

Richard Avedon would be up there. His work is incredibly engaging both visually and emotionally and his influence over fashion photography is far reaching even to this day. I really admire his portraits in particular. They never felt posed and the personality / character of his subjects always shined through. Funny Face was actually based upon his career and he even served as a visual consultant on the film.

How would you describe your photography style in 3 words?

Thoughtful, spontaneous, ever-evolving.

Mercury and Chrysler

What's next? Do you have any special plans for your Etsy shop and blog?

I'd like to keep adding more prints to my shop and perhaps offer products with my prints on them eventually. The blog has always been a place for me to share my inspirations and interests and that will continue. I would like to get back to doing more NYC related posts, from dining reviews to sharing photos of NYC life through my lens.

Well, what can I add? It's not everyday that I stumble upon someone as inspiring, brilliant and charming as Rowena. I'm so proud to call her my friend, and I really can't wait to be able to have a real brunch with her one day, preferably in NYC!

Note: The photos published above are property of © Rolala Loves. Do not copy or reproduce them without prior consent of the owner. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

My style: Casual layers

Coat: Dorothy Perkins, Jeans: Levi's Bold curve skinny jeans, Top: Orsay, Sweater: F&F, Bag: Galeries Lafayette, Necklace: Etsy, Rings: Dorothy Perkins, Forever 21

TGIF. Enough said.

My brain feels too exhausted to even produce something meaningful this morning. I just wish you all a wonderful and relaxing weekend! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

From my kitchen: Brioche aux pralines, Second attempt

Ever since I spent my very first year in France, I've considered baking as one of my biggest passions. I can spend hours browsing through Pinterest and food blogs, and shuffling through food magazines, researching new recipes and constantly enlarging my "to bake" list. However, as you may remember witnessing here, even I can experience an epic baking fail. But as I'm not one to give up and admit defeat, I've decided to give that infamous brioche aux pralines another try.

This time around, I did my homework really well, researching numerous recipes and pinpointing my previous mistakes. I learned the hard way that even the best of yeasts won't do much without sugar, and I paid extra attention to what I was putting in the bowl.

If you were wondering whether one simple brioche really deserved that much work and attention, my answer is a resounding yes. My reward for all these extra efforts was really sweet: my second brioche was soft and fluffy, dotted with pink pralines that almost turned this breakfast treat into a fashion accessory. It was so scrumptious (and disappeared so fast) that I'm already brainstorming a bunch of alternatives: swapping pralines for raisins, walnuts or dried fruit sounds really tempting!

Brioche aux pralines

You'll need:
* 7g (1/4oz) fast-action dried yeast
* 1tsp caster sugar
* 125ml warm milk
* 500g plain flour
* 1tsp fine sea salt
* 2tbsp caster sugar
* 4 medium eggs, lightly beaten
* 175g butter, softened
* 75g pink pralines

1. Sprinkle the yeast and one tsp caster sugar on to the warm milk in a small bowl. Whisk lightly, then leave in a warm place (I usually put it next to the kitchen heater) for 10 minutes (a light form should form on the surface). 
2. Sift the flour, salt and two tbsp of caster sugar into a large bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture and beaten eggs. Use your robot to make the dough.
3. Gradually add the softened butter, one tsp at a time, while still kneading with your robot. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Knead until it's smooth and pliable.
4. Place the dough in a large slightly buttered bowl and cover with a humid tea towel. Leave in a warm place (again, close to a heater) for 1 1/2 hour, until well risen.
5. Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute, then roll it out with a rolling pin to a rectangle.
6. Sprinkle the dough with crushed pralines, then roll the dough up. Cut it into 3 equal parts, roll them with your palms to lengthen them, then braid them together. 
7. Place the braid in a buttered brioche (or challah) tin (or in a classic baking sheet, the dough is solid enough not to loose its shape).
8. Bake in the oven preheated to 180°C for 20-25 minutes. 
9. Let cool down in the tin, then release on to a wire rack.
10. Enjoy a slice with a cup of hot chocolate or with your morning coffee.

Bon appétit!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ideas to steal: Pastel harmony

Photos by Alise O'Brien

Every now and then I stumble upon photos of a place that leave me speechless and completely in awe (I blame you, Pinterest!). This wonderful pastel home is currently on top of my dream list. It's the epitome of perfection: simple yet glamorous, stunningly beautiful and sublime. It has everything I could ask from a home, and then some. And since I'm not one to skip on sharing a piece of beauty with you, I have pinpointed a bunch of ideas that are attainable and that you can steal and implement in your own home.
These ideas will definitely come in handy when I decorate the future place of my dreams!

Ideas to steal:

1. Gold curtains: There are few things as glamorous as thick gold draperies hanging on the windows. They look polished and dramatic at the same time, and they would be truly fabulous for the upcoming holidays. 

2. Vanilla yellow sofas and matching chairs: This is precisely the kind of sofa I want to have in my next apartment. It is such a cheerful, lovely and feminine shade, it instantly makes me happy just to look at. With the right fabric, it shouldn't even be that difficult to maintain.

3. Mismatched patterned pillows: I always make sure that I have plenty of comfy throw pillows all over my sofa, but I've never tried the mismatched look. It gives a lot of character to the monochromatic sofa. All you need to do is make sure that all the colors belong to one family, so the final look feels harmonious, not pell-mell. 

Ideas to steal:

1. Towels matching the tiles: Another simple yet genius idea. Sticking to a few shades of one color will create a flow and a harmony that feels calming and relaxing (and that's exactly how a perfect bathroom should feel). 

2. Mirrored vanity: There's nothing more glamorous than having your own vanity filled with lipstick, eyeliners and perfumes (at least for me). Although a crisp white wood would be my first choice, I can't deny the appeal of this mirrored silver piece of furniture. It would add a touch of Hollywood glamour to any bathroom or master bedroom.

3. A vase full of pink flowers: Soft pink creates a lovely contrast to a more masculine color palette of this bathroom. It may be a small touch, but it speaks volume about the owner's sense of detail and composition. If I could, I would have fresh flowers in my bathroom all-year round!

Ideas to steal:

1. Statement light fixtures: They may be one of the most original pieces I've ever seen. They create an illusion of a starry sky and they bring a touch of quirky modernity to this otherwise classic pastel room.

2. Mismatched wood: Pairing white chairs with soft patina and a massive dark wooden table is an original choice that adds a lot of character to this dining area. For me, it's definitely one of those ideas you can't grasp and understand until you see them or try them for yourself.

3. Beautiful ornate cake: This pretty cake speaks directly to my heart: it looks absolutely flawless and perfect and it's like a fashion statement in itself. Serving this beauty on a family gathering would be the perfect icing on the cake (pun intended).

Ideas to steal:

1. Calming and serene pastel green color palette: There's no other color in the world that evokes peace and serenity more than green. This relaxing shade helps alleviate anxiety and brings a touch of nature to any interior. Using a few different soft shades creates a sense of harmony that helps calm you down after a busy day, and prepares you for a (hopefully) long night of rest.

2. Sconces instead of bedside lamps: This is a genius idea for small bedside tables. Bedlamps usually take up too much space and they risk being knocked over. Choosing sconces installed just above the bedside tables will save you a lot of space, which could be then used to showcase your favorite photos, books you're currently reading, a lovely scented candle or a vase full of fresh blooms. 

3. Matching bed linens: This may sound like a no-brainer, but I've seen enough mismatched beddings in my life to stress this. Matching bed linens always look polished and chic, even if the rest of your room is a complete mess (which may happen to me from time to time, I confess). 

Ideas to steal:

1. One statement piece of art: One eye-catching piece of art above the fireplace always looks better than a multitude of mismatched frames scattered all over the place. It should always speak to your personal aesthetic and harmonize with the overall color palette of your room. This abstract piece may look simple at first, but it ties together all the colors used in the living room

2. Soft lights in the entryway: LED lights are more ecologic and less harsh than traditional lights, and they are an original choice for this long entryway.

3. Patterned rug: When you choose a soft pastel hue for your sofa, having a patterned rug is just the right way to add more character to your room. It doesn't have to be too wild either: as seen in this room, even a simple two-tone pattern can look interesting and chic, and it doesn't compete neither with the seating, not with all the patterned pillows.

Ideas to steal:

1. Vintage-inspired chandelier: This is one piece I've always wanted to have in my own living room. It has a lot of charm and character, it should be something you choose with your heart and something you will love forever.

2. Wall art: Contrary to the previous picture, this large wall truly benefits from a big collection of photos and images. If you have a huge empty wall in your room, one lonely picture could look, well, lonely and lost hanging there all by itself. Bring together your most treasured photo memories, the most inspiring prints and quotes and a few smaller pieces of art, put them all in matching frames and create your very own personal art wall. It will be such an amazing conversation starter while having guests!

3. Ruffled couch slip cover: The romantic inside me is doing a happy dance seeing this couch. It is the proof that ruffles don't always have to look saccharine and too girly. They can be tasteful, chic and appropriate even for a living room or a guest bathroom. One small tip: avoiding bright Barbie-pink color would probably be the best choice in this case!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Brunch with a blogger: Natali of L'art of fashion

Ever since I started this blog, I've had the chance to get to know some of the most wonderful and inspiring women in the world. Even if I've never met most of them in person, I still call them my friends, because we share the same passions and obsess over the same things. And since I love sharing the most fabulous things and finds with you, it feels only appropriate to introduce you to these fabulous ladies, while having a virtual Sunday brunch with them (you can find all the previous interviews here). 

Today, I'm proud to introduce you to Natali, a very sweet lady and an extremely talented photographer, as well as the author of L'art of fashion blog.

Natali, who was born in Moscow, is half-Croatian and lives in one of the coldest European cities, Helsinki. To her everlasting credit, she always manages to look effortless and chic even in the coldest of weathers. I've known Natali for more than a year and a half. She was one of the first people who visited my blog regularly, and she's always been incredibly kind and supportive, leaving thoughtful and honest comments. I've been following her blog for exactly the same time, discovering her boho chic looks inspired by the likes of Nicole Richie, her lovely Instagram diaries giving me a sneak peek into her busy life, and her opinions on all the fashion shows that matter. I think calling Natali a shopaholic would be a serious understatement: I always get the impression that her closet is simply bottomless! Apart from being an inspiring blogger and a mom to a sweet little girl, Natali is also an extremely talented and successful photographer who gets to exhibit and sell her photos. And have I mentioned that she's styling all her photoshoots herself? Impressive, I know. Natali is definitely a blogger to watch, and I'm really proud to call her my friend. 

Let's discover things that are currently rocking Natali's world:

My favorite scent: That must be Alien by Thierry Mugler. It's the most wonderful perfume I've ever had and I'm not planning on changing it for another one any time soon.

My guilty pleasure: To eat my favorite vanilla ice cream with a spoon straight from the box :D It's very therapeutical to do it every once in a while!

My favorite book: I love reading books and I will buy any book that catches my eye, anything from biographies, cookbooks, fiction, to self-help books. Right now I'm reading Smitten Kitchen cookbook by Deb Perelman who is originally a blogger. I've been following her blog for a year now, and I couldn't be happier to buy her cookbook and try out some of the recipes. I love her writing style and beautiful photos that accompany her recipes. Any recipe I've tried so far was an absolute hit in my household!

My favorite magazines: Vogue and InStyle. They inspire me and are fabulous for relaxing and daydreaming!

My ultimate style icons: Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, and Nicole Richie. I would love to sneak into their closets since I know that they have some amazing vintage pieces hidden there :) Both are very boho and chic, which is the style in which I find myself most comfortable. 

My favorite blog: It's Natalie Off Duty by New York blogger Natalie Suarez. I love her spirit, style and beautiful outfit and travel photos which are always so dreamy. She runs such an honest and inspiring blog that is such a pleasure to read. When it comes to the first website I open in the morning, it's Hotmail, to check my emails. 

My favorite song: It would be Falling by Julee Cruise. That song has been haunting me since my childhood and the day I heard it again and found out who was the singer, I had to buy it immediately and I had it on repeat on my iPod for half of that day!

My favorite movie scene: My favorite movie is The Bridges of Madison County and the most heartbreaking move scene (and my most favorite one) is when Francesca (Meryl Streep) is having a hard moment deciding whether she should stay in the car with her husband or open the door and run over to her lover Robert (Clint Eastwood) who is waiting for her in his car. That scene is so intense and filled with emotions that it always makes me cry.

My favorite fashion accessory: Definitely rings. I can't leave the house without at least one ring on. I like wearing statement rings, like ones from House of Harlow 1960 which make every outfit stand out.

Always in my closet: A perfect pair of jeans and a perfect blazer! I believe that if you have that, you're prepared for almost every occasion, whether it's for work, for coffee with friends or for a night out. My favorite brand for jeans is Diesel and I think Helmut Lang and Rachel Zoe have some amazing blazers in their collections. 

One thing I simply can't live without: Love! I'm addicted to love, always have been and always will be, but speaking of material things, I couldn't live without my camera.

Thing I'm most proud of: I'm most proud of being a mom to the most beautiful, the smartest and the sweetest 3-year old girl in the world :)

Best blogging advice I've ever received: I haven't actually received any blogging advice, but I believe that the best one I could give is to stay true to yourself and be honest, just like with everything else in your life. 

My style in 3 words: Layered, feminine, comfortable.

My life mantra: "You are what you think you are." This is so true, and it took me so long to realize this and incorporate this quote into my life. My whole life I've been very insecure, and I've always had this guilty feeling inside of me that I'm not good enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, capable enough, you name it... Now I see that it's all in my head and that the way I used to see myself wasn't the way people around me saw me. It was relieving to figure out that I really am what I let myself believe that I am.

Thank you so much, Natali, for your honesty, and for your inspiring answers!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

DIY tea bags

As soon as the first chilly days of October arrive, my love for good tea makes a reappearance. Earl grey for breakfast, fruit tea in front of my computer, herb tea after lunch, good night tea before bed...I can easily go through five or six mugs in one day. I'm constantly trying new brands and flavors, which leads to the fact that my pantry is overflowing with various tins and boxes, and it makes for one colossal mess. But never mind that. The funny thing is, I have a strong love-hate relationship with loose tea leaves. I love the smell of dried herbs and fruit, but I simply loathe loose tea leaves swimming in my mug. Call me crazy, but I seriously can't stand it.

I bought my fair share of loose tea sachets in the past, but unfortunately, most of them grew too old and went to trash because of my inability to use them in a way that wouldn't exasperate me (these infusers especially drove me crazy: everyone has a right to his little COD, right?). I frankly can't believe it took me 25 years to discover paper tea filters. I'm not proud of that. But once I got hold of them, nothing could prevent me from getting creative (and buy another 2 sachets of loose tea for the occasion). I imagined this little DIY project which turns plain paper filters into adorable little tea bags. They make me incredibly happy because they are pretty, and there is not a single tea leaf swimming in my mug anymore.

Making them was so fun and regressive, that I'm planning to renew the experience very soon, with new flavors, and new colors. Wouldn't they make for a perfect little gift for a tea lover? 

You'll need: paper tea filters (these are my favorites), needle and a white thread, loose tea, colorful embroidery thread, stapler.

First of all, make the strings: I braided three different colors of embroidery thread, but you can also use a single thread, or braid one color.

My filters were a tad too big, so I decided to stitch app. one centimeter on each side. But you can perfectly leave your filters as they are.

Fill the filters with loose tea: for me, 2 tsp were enough.

Now comes what I call the "origami" part: you need to fold up the top part of the filter as shown in the pictures. Put the string between the folded wings, and secure with the stapler.

Make the tags in whatever shape and color you like (pink for me - no surprise there). Each time cut out two pieces and glue them together, with the loose end of the string between them.

And voilà, you're done.

Now you can enjoy your tea, or put the bags in a pretty box or tin, attach a gift tag, and give to someone who can't live without a good cup of tea.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My style: Sequin earrings

Top: Forever 21, Skirt: H&M (similar here), Coat: Custom made (last seen here), Shoes: Tamaris (similar here), Bag: Galeries Laffayette, Brooches: Bijou Brigitte, Earrings: c/o Unique Sequin Jewelry

I love online shopping as much as the next girl, but sometimes I can get a little bit tired of what I call my "usual suspects" (Asos and Dorothy Perkins are at the ones who rob me of my salary quite regularly). When I feel like I've already seen it all, that everybody is wearing the same sequined top / black blazer or a pair of bright pants, I always turn to Etsy. No need to say, Etsy is a very dangerous place for me to browse. Whether it's an adorable 2013 planner, tons of beads and crystals for my DIY projects, rolls of colorful bakers twine and patterned washi tape, there's always something that catches my eye and causes me a sleepless night.

One thing I really enjoy is discovering a fabulous new Etsy shop while browsing through new-to-me blogs. This is exactly how I found Elena and her lovely blog Unique sequin jewelry. Elena has a lovely little Etsy shop of the same name, full of dreamy and colorful sequin earrings and brooches. When she offered to send me a piece from her collection, I had the hardest time choosing just one. Finally, I opted for these romantic and dreamy cream & rose earrings, and when I received them (with two delicious macarons as a gift - how thoughtful!), I couldn't be happier. They're like nothing I've seen before, and of course, I was interested in the creative process behind these beauties. In Elena's own words "It's like you have an inner feeling that it must be that way. Sometimes I have a wave of inspiration sitting quietly, like meditating, and I must quickly draw what I have in my mind. Sometimes it comes at night, when I'm trying to fall asleep, or when I enjoy a beautiful view of nature. I don't search for inspiration somewhere at special places. Same things with colors. I just keep in mind the approximate color combination I want. Then I take all the sequins I have in chosen colors and pick the most suitable ones. I don't always get the result I wanted, but still...It's a long process from the beginning to the end, but I love what I'm doing."

And this love definitely shows in Elena's creations. Bu sure to check out her Unique sequin jewelry shop and tell me which piece is your favorite.

Have a fantastic start to the new week!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Brunch with a blogger: Bree of The Urban Umbrella

Ever since I started this blog, I've had the chance to get to know some of the most wonderful and inspiring women in the world. Even if I've never met most of them in person, I still call them my friends, because we share the same passions and obsess over the same things. And since I love sharing the most fabulous things and finds with you, it feels only appropriate to introduce you to these fabulous ladies, while having a virtual Sunday brunch with them (you can find all the previous interviews here). 

Today, I'm happy to introduce you to Bree, a personal style blogger at The Urban Umbrella.

I discovered Bree's blog The Urban Umbrella only a few months back, but I quickly became fan of her stylish outfit posts. I first noticed her thanks to her Think pink outfit series, her weekly October challenge to honor the Breast cancer awareness month. Bree's blog is all about her fabulous outfit posts, useful beauty reviews, inspiring home decor tips and little snippets of her life. She is a pro in pairing bright pants with stripes, she can pull off lace mini in winter, she will tell you how much her face costs and she is lucky enough to be able to raid her mom's closet occasionally and pick a fabulous piece (or three) there. She even put together her very own "break up survival kit". 
Let's discover together things that are rocking Bree's world right now: 

My favorite fashion accessory: Necklaces – whether they are long, short or statement I think necklaces add a lot to an outfit. I will go weeks without wearing earrings or bracelets, but it’s rare that I go a day without a necklace.

My favorite movie scene: The exact scene is hard to decide on but one of my favorite movies is “Catch Me If You Can”. The scene I always really enjoy is the one where he walks into the class and takes on the role of being the teacher. I can’t ever find the words to describe how fun, hilarious and obscene I find that scene, I just love it.  I must say though, I do find every scene in that film so enthralling and I love how mischievously intelligent Frank Abagnale is. Plus the fact that it’s based on a true story makes it all the more amazing.

My guilty pleasure: It would have to be Cheesecake, I seriously love it.

My favorite song: A timeless song I love is “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young, and a more current song I am obsessing over it “The Vedlt” by DeadMau5

My favorite scent: I recently actually switched perfumes, for years I had worn Nina Ricci’s “Nina” perfume but after seeing a very inspiring episode on the Dragons Den I decided to make a switch. A woman had come on the show pitching her perfume which helped workers and farmers in Afghanistan put their orange blossom crops to full use by creating lovely perfumes. She has now expanded the line from just the one perfume to four perfumes, and has stated that she hopes to expand to a total 7 in the future. After saying how much I had wanted to try this perfume out my boyfriend actually went and purchased the one that he thought was the most “me”. I now wear “Peace in the Middle East” by 7 Virtues which is a light citrus smelling perfume with notes of grapefruit, bamboo and lime. If you want to read more on 7 Virtues you can visit:

My favorite magazines: Elle & Vogue are great magazines, I love looking through them for inspiration.

My ultimate style icons: Currently: Blake Lively, Lauren Conrad, and Sienna Miller

My favorite blog: Cara’s blog “AFashion Love Affair” is a definitely a favorite of mine. I find her style stunning, real and best of all: wearable. I love that she mixes her high fashion looks with more casual pieces; it just makes her style so relatable to readers.

Always in my closet: Dresses!  I have an absurdly out of hand addiction to dresses. I will be honest and tell you that I truly have no idea how many I have but it’s enough for my boyfriend to look at and say “This is insane, Bree”

My favorite book: This is a hard question for me to answer because I do love so many books and I always have one on the go. Currently I am reading “A Casual Vacancy” By JK Rowling so perhaps it’ll take the place as my favorite book, but as of right now it is too early to tell. In high school I read “White Oleander” by Janet Fitch and I loved it. It was a dark novel that played on many difficult topics which may be hard for many people to read about, but the writing was beautiful and was written in a way which evoked true emotion. I’ve re-read it a few times and have been able to take away different lessons each time which makes it a definite favorite of mine, any book that can capture my interest enough to get a re-read ranks high in my books.

My life mantra: “Send love & Light, & let it go” is a quote from “Eat, Pray, Love” which I try to always remember. I don’t want to live my life holding grudges, missing people or feeling hurt. I try to remember that if I miss something or someone then I should let myself miss them, send them my love and light and then just let it be, let it go. I know it sounds cheesy but it’s so much better to live life free of hate and anger. 

One thing I simply can't live without: Life: My family – they are my rocks in life, & my puppies – they are the most adorable, loving, sweet things.

Thing I am most proud of: I always feel a strong sense of pride when I see my scar. It reminds me of how strong I can be, which to be honest – I forget quite often.  If you’d like to read more on this then click here! 

Best blogging advice I've ever received: “Keep it Clean, Simple & Correct” I think is perhaps the best advice any blogger could apply to their blog and I was lucky enough to read this on a “bloggers tips” post within my first year of blogging. A clean & simple layout will allow readers to focus on your content instead of a wild bombardment of images, text, and glitter – whatever it may be. Then there is keeping your blog “Correct”, correct content will encourage your readers to keep reading, so take the time to spellcheck your posts or even have someone close to you read it over.  

My style in 3 words: Feminine, playful, coastal 

Thank you, Bree, for your wonderful and inspiring answers, and for sharing your favorite things with us!

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