Spring Rolls

Things have been quite hectic as of late and, to be honest, I haven't been feeling so great the past few days. But, no worries. I don’t have a cold or anything, and I am truly thankful that I really never get sick. It’s likely a lack of sleep and the hustle and bustle of the week being the culprit. I am eagerly trying to keep up with everything, including running errands that seem somewhat frivolous, but aren't.

Aside from having the usual weekly checklist in order, making a dry cleaners pick-up, re-stocking on skincare items, and just buying more stamps, were amongst several of the things to do on my list. Fortunately, everything is finally completed, which will make for a restful coming weekend.
The goods:  Cardigan and Dress-H&M, Rings and Bangle-c/o Born Pretty, Boots-Kenzie, Organic Cotton/Silk Scarf-c/o GudrunSjoden. Save 10% off on Born Pretty Store with code: TNT10
Everyone around me has been talking about spring, and I cannot blame them since the weather around the globe has been pretty volatile this winter. Although, not entirely wearing or rolling into the spring spirit myself, I am definitely ready for it!

I’ve had this dress for years and occasionally bring it out for moments like these. I wanted to wear this lively and feminine printed floral, which also had a darkness about it to appreciate. 

Lastly, here are bits of blooming inspiration that have gotten me excited for an early spring greeting. It’s a little flora and fauna to be obliged in nature’s undeniable beauty.

Image credit: Pansies, Tulips-Shutterstock

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Style Files: Useful Apps Vol. 01

Nowadays with such a vast amount of platforms and apps to either inspire you to shop or help style you, there often comes moments where I just say, "no!" Not entirely to all applications (because let's face it, I have become a new fan of Mallzee), but to yet another thing to sign up for or create a profile, and add to my list of tech things that will likely be transitory in my daily life.

But, instead of telling you about another fashion platform, I wanted to talk with you about three Smartphone applications that I have been using for a while. These are very simple apps, and above all FREE, so there's nothing to really lose!

In a recent business collaboration for freelance work, I have been working with some professionals from Italy and thought it would be useful to brush up on a few phrases. I do have a ways to go, but it's going okay so far. I've also certainly inspired several of my peers with the app called, Duolingo.

The application is quite easy, my brother first told me about it, which makes sense because in our family there's always a variety of languages spoken. I found it very helpful if you already know another language aside from your mother tongue, however, to use this app it is not necessary. It's suitable for the whole family!

What I like most about Duolingo is the fact that it merges visual and audio for your learning education. It allows the user to speak sentences into the microphone on your Smartphone, and not solely relying on the user to use their memory for word conjugations or proper grammar. You are able to see your progress, additionally gaining hearts as points when you succeed. You can also compete with friends and add people to your contact list, holding you accountable if needed, which also makes it fun to keep up the learning.

My Fitness Pal:
You don't have to be a "health freak" or model to use and appreciate this app. My Fitness Pal, a calorie counting, and brilliant application is very useful. It allows you to see how many calories are in items that we put in our bodies. I use this strictly for when I am away.

For me, dining out generally means that I tend to eat more, but since I have changed my diet, I have become fully aware of what I eat on an entirely new level (thanks to the art of  juicing and Whole30). This does not mean becoming obsessed with everything that I choose to consume, however I've noticed a significant awareness and transformation in my body, my lifestyle, and surprisingly making more time for working out.
Of course, since I am a gastronome I do have times when I simply want to eat whatever I want ... and do so without feeling guilty. I really appreciate My Fitness Pal because, it puts everything into perspective, especially when I think I've eaten quite a lot, then after logging in my meals, I view the nutrition log only to see that I might have more calories to consume or vice versa.

Having a fast metabolism is something that I have always possessed, but also struggled with along with some food allergies. I initially wanted to use this app because I was trying to figure out what I thought was yet another allergy, so keeping track of what I ate helped me to narrow down what the problem was.

As an avid traveller and lover of making things easy for on-the-go living, Hipmunk has become a great go to app for online booking options. I came across this app over dinner with friends when I was searching for new travel applications. With Hipmunk, you're able to compare pricing for airfare and hotels at just a few taps away. You can create free fare alerts, save booking favourites, and sort out searches by showing only nonstop fares or filtering the search by your budget, etc.  

Have you used any of these apps? What new apps are you currently loving?

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Sleep Stylishly

Savvy Sleepers, a relatively new brand established by fellow fashion blogger, Dale of Savvy Spice, has created a wonderful product that everyone can enjoy. Pillowcases! Some of you may already know Dale, but if you don’t she’s incredibly sweet and was kind enough to send me one of her Savvy Sleepers designed pillowcases.

This is not just any pillowcase; they’re satin pillowcases with a small interior pocket along the inside casing of the pillowcase. Why a pocket? It makes it easy to stash your lip balm, sprinkles of lavender, an Mp3 player, love messages, or essentially anything that you want within your reach as you take a momentary snooze. Since I was travelling, I used it easily and listened to calming music as I took a power nap.

I remember hearing about these pillowcases around the blogosphere last year, and thought that it was such a simple and clever idea. I am already a person that sleeps on satin and silk, and have done so for numerous years, so I was happy that I could finally try this version out for myself!

“Our 100% pure polyester satin pillow cases are smoother for hair and skin … Anti-aging + Dr. Recommended for preventing wrinkles and hair breakage.” 

                                                                                                       -Savvy Sleepers

The Breakdown:
During the day often I test, work with, and see a multitude of raw materials and fabric ranges, amongst doing other tasks. So, when I inspected these particular cases from Savvy Sleepers, the one element that instantly struck me about them was their thickness. The hand of the fabric is not only smooth to touch, but has a durability to appreciate. And, as a fabric maven it was certainly something to take note of. 

Lasting Impression:
Unisex design: these are for ladies and gents—buy a matching set as a gift or treat yourself to a peaceful night of slumber in style. Take a gander at the site and choose one here. I selected the Black Truffle colour (above).

Bonus: It’s a perfect accessory to take along as you travel. Grab luxury and comfort on-the-go, at home, or wherever you rest your head.

*Each pillowcase will cost you around $36/ £2139CAD. If you would like to try them out yourself Dale is offering an exclusive 15% off discount until March 01. Just use the code: MADD at checkout!
The goods: Satin pillowcase-Courtesy of Savvy Sleepers. All opinions expressed are my own. Images: Ladyofashion, other images via www.savvysleepers.com. Read more benefits on sleeping on satin here.

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Onyx: Hearts and Lace

Sometimes, by having such a tight schedule it takes weeks or even several months for me to get around to opening or using new home items or gifts. This is not always the case, but it does happen often when I may want an item fully appreciated by having friends over, i.e., cookware or using a new themed stemware set. However, when it comes to coasters, these are fully used by everyone in our place, not just by guests.
Shortly after Christmas, I received these marvellous custom made coasters from a family friend—I am quite a tea drinker and espresso fanatic, so it was appropriate! Aside from the adorable text and unique display (which was beautifully packaged before I had to consolidate it for travel), there was definitely going to be an occasion to use these. It was likely going to be an upcoming game night/date night of some sort to commence. And, finally … the time came.

We had a few friends over for a usual game night, but I actually wore this outfit the night before just going out to dinner. I wanted “simple, yet semi-sexy.”

 It’s never a dull moment for me when lace comes into the picture, so it all worked out! Although, I think the only thing that I will alter in the future is the waist. I pinned it a bit, as it’s awfully roomy—pretty much the only part in the garment that was sizably spacious.

The goods: Lace and faux leather dress, and tights-c/o Oasap, Jewellery-Maylee'sjewelry, Nordstrom, Shoes-Seychelles.

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The Fashion Skillet

For some reason, I believe most things can be equated to food (maybe that’s because I was incredibly hungry when I took these shots)—, and fashion is no exception! If my outfit was speaking at that moment it would probably mutter something along the lines of “marble rye bread, licorice, and cherry pie,” … but that’s not entirely a meal is it?

Hungriness is an intense feeling: when you’re past your average waiting period of wanting to be refuelled, your little fashion eyes might become tricksy for the sake of time. This was one of those days.

I wore this outfit on a weekend just before heading out to a late lunch. Initially, I had this dress on, but since I typically get cold rather easily I brought out the leopard that I had nearby to keep me warm. This was also a playful mix of patterns that I love to wear, but had not really photographed before. I added a belt to slightly break up the leopard print, in lieu of having a leopard overload.
How to mix patterns prints
Animal prints are generally classified as bold and brave patterns to wear, but for me, it’s clearly a neutral to a certain extent. Just as indulging in any favourite meal or snack (when wearing a more daring blend of textures and patterns), I take a moment to evaluate the ingredients and confidently commit without abandon. But, for me, it’s always an everlasting fashion tendency not just for a single style serving or season. You either own it or you don’t!

Are you boldly wearing YOU inside and out?
Winter fashion tartan how to wear leopard
The goods: Belt-H&M, Dress (seen here)-Love To Kuvaa, Shoes-BCBG, Necklace and Leopard jumper-c/o Oasap, Eel skin handbag-Vintage, Vintage diamond bracelet-Family heirloom, Tights-c/o Veneziana.

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Wearable Brushstrokes

Last September when Céline’s spring ready-to-wear 2014 line debuted it reminded of an art studio—canvas strokes and paint spills primarily. And, when the Céline 2014 campaign came out, I was immediately inspired, mostly because at the time that I saw it I was in the process of getting close to a half-way point on a little painting project myself.

Then, on another day as I was flipping through the pages of a few stylish glossies (as I waited patiently for my laptop to boot up), I saw the ad again, but this time it was an alternate part of the ad—vibrant colours boldly printed on garments with framing. I loved it!

Although, I have daring prints and bright hues in my wardrobe, I actually don’t have many gigantic scale abstract prints that I generally wear … Maybe one or two, but presently I cannot think of any that come to mind.
When I was perusing the Choies site, I finally laid my eyes on this dress, well, it’s more of a blouse rather than a tunic or dress at least for me. I am not usually inspired by a collection directly, wardrobe-wise, but then I remembered that Céline ad after I had selected it. So, instead of wearing this as a dress, I decided to blouson it, and make it a top, which was the more logical (fashion) solution.

Here’s a couple of styles from Céline’s spring ready-to-wear 2014 collection. 
The goods: Abstract Printed dress, Floral rhinestone Necklace, and Leather gloves-Choies, Denim-Southpole, Satin moto jacket-Club Monaco, Earrings-Maylee’sJewelry, Boots-Dorothy Perkins, Studded watch-Born Pretty.

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Style Trellis: Links and Melodies

One great thing about having musician and DJ friends is that I am always inspired when it comes to music. I can rely on them to provide me with great tunes without even trying. However, over the past five or six months, I have been the one introducing a few of my friends to new music. So, I wanted to share some good-to-know links and stylish artists that have been on my radar.

London Grammar
  Image: universal-music

I was lucky enough to see this wonderful group some time ago, called London Grammar. I fell in love with their music and the lead singer, Hannah Reid’s amazing voice. Her range is incredible! Now, it seems they are amassing quite a dedicated fan base over the past year! Have you ever discovered an artist for yourself, and then many months later they appear to gain a gigantic following? Well, for me, this is exactly how I felt. Well deserved.

What to love: There’s calmness in Reid’s voice that is crisp and beautifully haunting. Even if it’s not your typical genre, it commands your ear to take note. Listen to more tracks here.

Music 2014 Banks

Jillian Banks, the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter who goes by the name of BANKS is a breath of fresh air. Last year, in route to a work event, a co-worker and I came across her music by accident.
Her voice: captivating and used like a magical tool that emits sultry whispers of candidness and deep emotion. Additionally, there’s a healthy dose of smart compositions and music arrangements—both believable and riveting.

Banks has been compared to Jessie Ware and Fiona Apple, and labeled as the female version of The Weeknd, of whom she opened for on his North American tour, which was a clever match in my opinion. But, she sincerely stands on her own as an artist, all whilst simultaneously grabbing your attention—whether visually, emotionally, or melodiously.
Echoes: there’s electronica and R&B influence.

One of my favourite tracks at the moment is the newly released single Brain. I recommend seeing her live as well, but you may check out more videos and tracks from Banks here. If you like this, then you might also like music by Ghost Loft and Jhene Aiko.

Sound City
 film promo image

If you are a massive music lover like I am, then by now you've likely heard or even already seen the documentary film Sound City, directed by rock ‘n’roll star musician himself, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. I finally recently saw the film and loved it.

Sound City is essentially a very detailed background on how Sound City (a recording studio incorporated in 1969 in Van Nuys, Calif.) got started, and how it’s been relevant to music makers and the industry as a whole. From live recording to celebrating the beginnings of some iconic bands in the business it was something special –a production experience and reverberation that only Sound City could provide.

What to expect: Behind the scenes in all of its parts: the good, the bad, and turmoil that went on, back in the day. It’s a brilliant rock-fuelled visual memorandum (to be appreciated), that takes you back to an era, as my parents would say, “when music was music,” (but particularly rock music) before the industry transition of digital. But, let’s face it, technology isn't entirely bad … Keep watching … It's all about the music.

The Film: I highly recommend a viewing. You can view the trailer below. Read more info. about Sound City here or if you’re in the UK, view it on BBC here.

Cris Cab
  Image: "Liar, Liar" video still

Is it me or does it feel like the youth of this generation seem to have it all in terms of technology—or perhaps it’s because social media and Smartphones did not exist when I was a teenager. Yes, that must be it, or maybe I am just showing my age. No, that can’t be it! But, thanks to YouTube and social media being responsible, this is exactly how I stumbled across this gifted kid named Cris Cab. If you don’t know his name yet, chances are you likely will very soon, not precisely in a Bieber kind of way though. Below is his cover of Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” with an island flavour.

The voice: A pop soulful rasp that combines upbeat riffs with the influences of reggae, pop, R&B and hip-hop. The Miami native has already gained the ear of a mighty talented music pool his senior and ahem … having Pharrell Williams as a mentor and pal is a rather impressive start, so I think he’s in good hands. Have a listen of more Cris Cab tunes here.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

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Lively Winter: Patterned and Printed

In collaboration with Belk, here’s a look at taking simple silhouettes with prints and patterns to fit a contemporary lifestyle. To give you inspiration, I styled two diverse dresses that can both interchangeably be suitable for several occasions.

Crossing Borders: Walk in style
If you're like me and want to go for a bolder, yet practical style, an easy to wear ensemble would be this Vince Camuto dress. It's essentially a perfect example of stepping out of conventional boundaries—a motley blend of printed textures, such as snakeskin, and traditional patterns like stripes.

The best bits: being able to shine brightly with neon accents, because who says that neon hues are only for the summertime? If you’re an intrepid fashion maven, then be confident and daring, not doubtful!

Easy transitional styling tip: change out the hosiery and go bare legged! Swap out your heels for wedges or add a double skinny belt and lightly blouson the top portion of the dress to wear as a more casual ensemble.

Winter Styling Belk Dresses
Lace: Floral and Fitted
As a keen lace wearer, there are not too many lace styles that I haven’t tried at least once. And, even with lace being timeless and such a versatile fabric, there are still some people who believe lace to only be fitting to a particular occasion. But, nowadays, the reality is that there are multitudes of ways to wear lace and with modern styling to fit any occasion. From work to cocktail hour, you’re covered!

In this Donna Ricco dress that I chose to style, it illustrates how colour plays an essential role in experimenting with lace. If you’re a novice and not generally a devoted lace lover, I would invite you to try it in your favourite colour, perhaps even wearing it in a thin layer underneath a blouse. This is also a particularly feminine style that flatters the figure.
How to style bold patterns lace
The best bits: this style can easily take you from day-to-night, and adds a wee touch of mystery for the demure fashionista, given the built-up neckline.

Easy styling tip: need a quick fix to meet for after work cocktails, add a leather jacket to this dress to make this into a city-savvy outfit. You will still feel stylish and not overdressed.

What do you think of these dresses from Belk? Which style is your favourite?
Modern Southern Style International Bloggers
The goods:
Printed dress-Vince Camuto (similar), and Lace dress-Donna Ricco-Provided by Belk, Shoes-Charles David, Cropped jacket-Michael Kors, Handbag-MMS, Legwear-H&M, Jewellery-Ladyofashion, Beaded clutch-Burlington. Shop more looks from Belk here!


Colmillo de Morsa: Fashion Palms

There’s something quite special to be said when you experience the work of an artisan. Whether it’s by wearing an artisan’s work in your wardrobe or merely being an appreciator—witnessing the process and seeing a result transpire from an idea makes it all the more extraordinary.

In my recent interview with Barcelona based fashion brand, Colmillo de Morsa, the designing creatives talked about the unprompted story behind their unique name as well as the entire artistic process in developing a fresh collection.

Colmillo de Morsa merges the art of handcræft elements with modern æsthetics that is evident in each garment produced. Their work oozes hints of minimalism with a modernised twist. All garments can be intermixed with traditional wardrobe staples or worn independently.

Elisabet Vallecillo and Javier Blanco, the dynamic pair behind Colmillo de Morsa, take pride in the core values that shape the ethos and foundation of the business. In their line, you will find soft and sheer hues as well as structured separates for men and women. 
In the Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal) FW 13-14 collection, leather played a recurring role. “We made some pieces in leather with handmade cut triangles. People think that it is laser cut, but it is completely handmade by us with lot of care one by one,” the designers stated.

 “beauty has endless forms, as many as eyes that look at it.”
                                                          -Colmillo de Morsa
So, who might you spot wearing Colmillo de Morsa’s designs? Instead of having an exact target defined by age, just about anyone—from the contemporary innovator to an indie art lover, all individuals with the empathy of the brand’s ideals are wearing their clothing.
In fact, Colmillo de Morsa worked with Volotea, an airline out of Barcelona, and was commissioned to design their uniforms. 
At the rate that the brand is going, there’s certainly high hopes for the future of the company. And, the designers are aiming straight to the top of the wish list of who they would love to dress, which includes Tilda Swinton. “We appreciate her particular beauty, her natural way and delicate androgyny. We believe she is an icon of the modern woman, sure of herself, urban, and with a unique style,” Blanco said.

The company is steadfast in expanding in global markets and pieces are currently available from their atelier in Barcelona, online, and internationally.

What do you think about Colmillo de Morsa’s pieces?
For more information or to shop the brand visit www.colmillodemorsa.com.

Getting to know Colmillo de Morsa:
On the origin of their brand name …
We were reading a history book about ancient civilisations and saw images of ornaments (made of ivory) of walrus tusks. After talking about how special it is that an ugly animal could have something so beautiful, we decided that Colmillo de Morsa (meaning, walrus tusk) should be our name.

What the brand wants you to appreciate and grasp about their clothing …
We understand the concept of design as an empirical task and exploration, in which to put all our personal sensitivity.

Any words of wisdom that you would give to an aspiring designer?
We think it’s important to know that this is not a sprint, this is an endurance race! You must be constant and think about what you are doing, and be completely happy with it! Enjoy all the time and create everything with your best love!

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